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parenting mesh to meta rig vs rig


I am having trouble figuring out if i am rigging my character mesh correctly.  I have followed several tutorials that have all parented the character mesh to the metarig. When I do this, I'm using the "automatic weights" parent function for the body and "empty groups" function for the clothing. My character is able to move and everything works about okay. 

I have also seen a few other videos where people are using the generated rig to move the characters limbs around. These motions seem way more fluid than mine does, I'm assuming because the human rig I used comes with IK and FK controls. 

I want to be able to move my character around using the rig's IK and FK controls, however I can't get the parenting to work properly. Whenever I try to parent the character/clothing meshes to the rig, I'm not given the same "automatic weights" and "empty groups" options. The clothing also won't follow the rig when I'm moving around the character's limbs.

My questions are:

Why am I having these problems parenting my meshes to the rig and not the metarig?

Should I just move on and animate my character using the metarig instead of the rig? 

How will that affect the level of difficulty for animation later on?

Any help is appreciated!

  • I'm guessing that parenting to both the metarig and the rig over constrains the bones much like the ik/fk switching. Essentially two things are fighting over who controls the bones and the first paired item wins. Try unparenting the metarig and see if that works. 

    I really dont know what your expecting with assigning empty groups with the clothing, yes you are creating vertex groups for each bone, but they are empty and need to be painted in as there is no deformation data there

    As for the metarig, its a basic fk rig, things like moving the legs for walking are going to be a bit of a pain as adjusting the whole chain to get a foot to plant on the ground is cumbersome, but there is an auto ik feature that can compensate. the only real thing youre missing out is the tweak bones for smears.