Free Characters and Rigs
by Sandra Gilbert

Modeling and rigging characters is a time consuming task, one that takes a lot of practice and study to get just right, and while most of us will get there eventually, it is nice to be able to just grab a ready made character for study. Whether to study the design and rigging itself or for further study of animation techniques and tests of said information. And there is always the "just for fun" factor to be considered too. Following is a list of fun characters and rigs built and contributed by various members of the blender community for your study and enjoyment.

1) BlenRig 1.2 created by Juan Pablo Bouza
BlenRig is a humanoid rig for Blender 2.44 (or higher) based on bones deformation. The main purpose of this project is to make a rig that is "shapekey free". I've developed a somewhat complex skeleton system based on different types of constraints in order to achieve realistic deformation even in the most extreme poses. In addition to this, BlenRig comes with a complete facial animation system rig.

There are two different rigs (BlenRig 1.2 and Cartoon Blen- Rig v1.2) available, as well as a BlenRig manual and Blen- Rig Essential Tips document. Version 2.0 due to be released April/May

I'm planning to release BlenRig 2.0 along with a short film I'm currently working on. All I have to say is that there will be some really nice surprises when it comes out... Well, I've done a little video showing up what BlenRig 2.0 will be introducing.

(download the IPOD versión for higher definition)


2) Bunny Character created by Woodman5k
He is rigged for animation, with an emphasis placed on facial animation and controls.

3) CuteBear 0.03 created by Tommy Gard Helgevold (JoOngle)
Fully poseable 3d character. In order to position feet properly, grab the constraint in FRONT of the foot with your mouse (and G), and ensure you have the whole screen to move the pointer around, this will ensure full flexibility of the IK chain. Arms move naturally around his body and have new limits and new stiffness values, some "hack's" were done in order to bypass the original intended (logical) IK functions order to make it look more natural. ( know).

3) Impressive rigs with actions available created by TheSudahlah
The rigs include a humanoid figure, a 4 legged dog creature and a 6 legged robotic insect. Each character has a series of actions including walque cycles, running, fighting, jumping, etc. So you can mix and match the actions, blending them to create your own animation. You can see the included actions on : or download at :

4) Leg Rig by Daniel Martinez Lara
A simple but great leg rig. It uses very few handles (only around 2-3) without compromising the functionality even the slightest. Daniel alos did a quik little demo video that shows how the rig enables quik rearrangement of the pivot point of the foot/leg.

5) Ludwig: Character and Rig v1.0 created by Jason Pierce
Ludwig is a fully rigged and animation ready character for Blender. His features include IK/FK arms, stretch and squash head and spine, and a lip sync ready face controlled by a custom UI. Ludwig was created to provide the Blender community with a high-quality humanoid rig and to promote Blender as a character animation tool.

6) Mancandy Collection created by Bassam Kurdali
Star of popularly acclaimed “Mancandy FAQs” dvd. A fully rigged and ready to animate character. All 3 versións of Mancandy are available for download and study.

7) Mouse Rig: by Clean3D
Clean3D has created a fun little rigged character to experiment with.

8) Otto: by Virgilio Vasconcelos
Otto is based on the techniques demonstrated at the Blender conference. One of the most impressive stretch rigs out there. Includes facial controls.

9) Petunia Robot: by macouno
Petunia the little monkey robot was created for use in the 2007 Blender Conference Suzanne Awards. Petunia is fully rigged and instructions are available on how to use and animate him.

10) Richie the Gecko by Jonathan Lax
Gecko Animation Limited would like to present the Richie Gecko Rig as a download for the Blender community! It is a fun and simple rig that includes blend shapes for the animation of Richie's facial expressions. In addition, this blend file contains the compositing node setup used for the post-processing of the animation.

11) Red-Nelb .04 by Daniel Martinez Lara
Currently versión 0.4, that means: 1) it's not ready for production. 2) Its missing some standard features like Fque in Arm/Leg (currently IK), stretchy, etc.. A complete rebuild of Arms and Legs is in the works. So, use at your own Risk! "Red-Nelb" is a excuse to test and implement rigging concepts, in this versión the focus is to use the minimum of controls in the viewport without losing functionality.

12) Rigged Character: "Suzanne" by Michael Thoenes
Rigged Blender Character based on Blender's Suzanne Monkey Head Primitive Object (or is that primate objectí)

13) Squeek by Wim Claes
A little bird-like creature, to learn the basics of blender animation tools.

So there you go, a nice little library of fully rigged characters to play with to your hearts content. Why are you still sitting there? Go get them!

by Sandra Gilbert