In this paper, we present a skeletal rigid skinning approach. First, we describe a skeleton extraction technique that produces refined skeletons appropriate for animation from decomposed character models. Then, to avoid the artifacts generated in previous skinning approaches and the associated high training costs, we develop an efficient and robust rigid skinning technique that applies blending patches around joints. To achieve real time animation, we have adapted all steps of our rigid skinning algorithm so that they are performed efficiently on the GPU. Finally, we present an evaluation of our methods against four criteria: efficiency, quality, scope, and robustness. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.