Rigify vs Auto-Rig Pro: Which is the better Auto-Rigger?

In this blog post, we’ll be diving into a detailed comparison of two major auto rigging add-ons for Blender: Rigify vs Auto-Rig Pro. This is part of our tutorial series on Auto-Rig Pro. I aim at answering an important question:

Is Auto-Rig Pro worth the $40 price tag when its main competitor, Rigify, is free and comes pre-installed with Blender?

Rigify vs Auto-Rig Pro: Introduction

Rigify and Auto-Rig Pro are two popular auto-rigging addons for Blender. An “auto-rigger” is a script which simplifies and automates the complex rigging process. This usually means generating a customizable rig. But auto-riggers could offer a wider range of additional rigging features.

Auto-Rig Pro is not just a rig generator. It offers a suite of additional features that assist in almost every step of the rigging process, such as weight binding, shape keys, retargeting, creating a bone picker, streamlined game export, and more. Rigify, on the other hand, is primarily focused on rig generation with a few additional features.

My plan is to compare these add-ons across several categories: rig types or building blocks, features of the generated rig, the MetaRig, customizability and extensibility, user experience, and additional tools. We’ll also assign scores in each section for a bit of fun, though they shouldn’t be taken too seriously.


Rigify vs Auto-Rig Pro

Round 1: Rig Types or Building Blocks

Rig types, or building blocks, are the components each add-on can generate. Both Auto-Rig Pro and Rigify offer a variety of rig components, with a lot of overlap. For example:

  • Spine: Both add-ons have this component, and they work similarly.
  • Head and Neck: Available in both tools.
  • Arms and Legs: Both support these elements with slight differences in approach.
  • Finger and Toes: both riggers offer finger rigs.
  • Face: Rigify offers a predefined face, while Auto-Rig Pro extends the head element for facial rigging.

Auto-Rig Pro includes advanced bone chains: Spline IK, and Bendy bones chain, which are more robust compared to Rigify’s experimental.super_chain. Rigify also includes a special raw copy rig type for custom rigging within the MetaRig, while AutoRig Pro allows custom bones to be added directly to the reference armature. Both add-ons have their strengths, so we score them equally here: 8 points each.


-Rigify: 8p

-Auto-Rig Pro 8p

Round 2: Features of the Generated Rig

When it comes to the generated rig, both Auto-Rig Pro and Rigify can create intuitive and feature-rich production-quality rigs. They offer advanced functionalities like:

  • IK-FK Switching and Snapping: Both tools support this feature, including IK-FK baking.
  • Limb Rotation Isolation and Space Switching: Available in both, allowing for greater control during animation.

In terms of the rig features, both tools are comparable and deliver what you would expect from an advanced Blender armature. Choosing between them often comes down to personal preference. Therefore, in this category, both tools again receive 8 points each.


-Rigify: 16p

Auto-Rig Pro 16p

Round 3: Meta Rig

The MetaRig is where we see a significant difference. Rigify’s MetaRig is a separate armature, which can be problematic if deleted after initial rig generation. This can make future adjustments to the rig difficult or impossible. AutoRig Pro integrates the reference bones within the generated rig. That makes the process more robust and ensures you never lose your reference bones.

This gives AutoRig Pro an edge in terms of usability and reliability. So, AutoRig Pro scores 8 points in this category, while Rigify scores 7 points.


Rigify: 23p

-Auto-Rig Pro 24p

Round 4: Customizability and Extensibility

Customization and extensibility are crucial for advanced users who need to create specialized rigs. Both tools allow for custom rig creation. Rigify offers more manual control with its manual limb mode, allowing precise bone roll adjustments. It also supports modular face elements and custom extensions, although these can be complex to use.

Auto-Rig Pro simplifies the customization process but at the same time some of the features may feel a bit more limited when compared to Rigify.

Then again, Auto-Rig Pro’s integrated MetaRig makes it easier to constrain and parent custom bones to the generated ones.

So each tools has it pros and cons but overall Rigify is more customizable even if the process may not be very intuitive. Therefore, Rigify scores 9 points for its greater flexibility, while Auto-Rig Pro scores 8 points for its easier, but somewhat less flexible approach.


Rigify: 32p

-Auto-Rig Pro 32p

Round 5: User Experience

User experience is where Auto-Rig Pro truly shines. The developer has invested significant effort in making the rigging process as user-friendly as possible. Key features include:

  • Smart Mode: This allows for quick rigging of humanoid characters with just a few clicks.
  • Integrated Tools: All necessary tools for editing reference bones, duplicating, and mirroring components are available in one place.
  • Simplified Binding Process: Tools to avoid common issues like bone heat weighting error.

Auto-Rig Pro Smart Mode

Rigify, in contrast, feels more like a developer tool with a steeper learning curve. Many users encounter frequent error messages and a less intuitive interface.

Auto-Rig Pro scores 9 points in user experience, and Rigify only 5 points.


Rigify: 37p

-Auto-Rig Pro 41p

Round 6: The “De Facto Standard” Rig

It is not a secret that Rigify has become a “standard” in the Blender community. Especially Rigify’s human rig is widely used and users are familiar with it. Coupled with the fact that Rigify comes free and pre-packaged with Blender, that gives Rigify an edge over Auto-Rig Pro.

Auto-Rig Pro has made an effort to make its rig accessible even without the main addon. But Rigify’s advantage in this area is hard to compete with.

Rigify gets 7 points and Auto-Rig Pro 5 points.


Rigify: 44p

-Auto-Rig Pro 46p

Round 7: Additional Tools

Beyond rig generation, Auto-Rig Pro offers a plethora of additional features, including:

  • Easy Weight Binding: Simplifies the process of binding the character to the rig.
  • Shape Key Creation: Facilitates the creation of facial expressions and other deformations.
  • Game Engine Export: Streamlined export options for game engines.
  • Retargeting: Advanced tools for animation retargeting (called Remap in Auto-Rig Pro)
  • Bone Picker: an improved method for selecting rig controls during animation

Rigify provides fewer additional tools, primarily offering a rig menu and the ability to assign colors to rig controls. While useful, these features are not as comprehensive as those offered by AutoRig Pro. Thus, AutoRig Pro scores 9 points for additional tools, while Rigify scores only 2 points.

Final Score

Rigify: 46p

-Auto-Rig Pro 55p

Rigify vs Auto-Rig Pro: Verdict

While both tools offer robust rig generation capabilities, Auto-Rig Pro takes the lead when considering user experience and additional features. Rigify is a powerful free tool and is deeply integrated into Blender, making it a common choice. However, AutoRig Pro’s streamlined and user-friendly design justifies its $40 price tag, especially for users looking for a smoother rigging experience and additional rigging tools.

Both tools have their place, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and experience level. What do you think? Do you use Rigify, AutoRig Pro, custom rigs, or something else? Let us know in the comments below!

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