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rigify is broken, you’re better off just rigging from scratch or look for a horse animal rig elsewhere. I never use blendrig or rigify. because you end up looking at a lot of bones and having to figure out what goes where. I prefer to rig from scratch . you actually save more time in the long run doing it yourself.
also select the mesh 1st , then the rig and hit ctrl p with empty groups or auto weights.
So I think what you said will work. I took four cubes and unioned them ontop of each other. I then put four bone per each cube that were one on top of the other similar to the manner of a finger. However, I can only get the third bone to bend the entire object. The others just leave the mesh when I try and use them. I would post the file but I cannot post links right now for some reason.
So now I figured out that the only way that I can get each bone to animate, is if they each have their own modifier. Does anyone know how to merge vertex groups so that I only have to use one modifier? I tried merging the bones in edit mode and they are all joined from object mode. But, that did not seem to do anything.
So right now all I can think of is going through each individual bone and giving it its own armature modifier and painting its own vertex group for where the bone is at respectively. Then applying the modifier after mixing it in with a vertex weight paint mix modifier to the sole armature modifier that I must leave active in order for the mesh to stay rigged. It is a rather elaborate process and if anyone has any ideas on how to make it faster I would greatly appreciate it!
And I found out that Rigify does work, I think maybe I just had to restart my computer and is faster and more efficient than regular bones because you can always add to the rig. It is just that it is creating vertex groups with nothing in it and it is going to be a huge pain to go through each vertex group and locate each deformation bone and weight paint it. On the tutorials, most people seem to be only applying paint to one vertex group. That is just crazy. There are so many bones.
The best way that I can see it is to rig with individual bones so that you can name you own bones and then put them all into a collection group so that you can see which one is which when you have to go and paint all of those vertex groups. The rigify rigs are so simple, it would be so nice to have a faster way of painting the vertex group. For an advanced rig there are going to be alot of bones.
So I have reached the conclusion that what I needed to do was restart my computer as just some random bug was preventing the bones from parenting. Going through by individual bones and extruding them for more armature in edit mode is the best way to do it. There is no better way. Having a faster weight paint system over one vertex group for animating would not be logical and it would not make it possible to animate anything advanced that something good in satire would need to be. And it stays organized in the manner which it was created and from that order you can name each bone. Wherein, they highlight when you select them as you are going through weight paint mode when you have the in front option for the viewport checked on for the bones.