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Chapter 7. Finishing Your Character for ... > Streamlining the Animation Process

Streamlining the Animation Process

So far, you have been creating all your character controls on one big rig in a single scene. This section presents an alternative way to animate your character: separating your controls into multiple rigs in separate scenes. This keeps your scenes less complex in the early stages of your animation, which can simplify and speed up the animation process.

Separating Controls into Multiple Rigs

The reason for using separate rigs in separate scenes is much the same as for animating in multiple passes, as described in the preceding section. You can start with a simple rig that only has arm, leg, head, and torso controls for the main skeletal joints, with no deforming skin even in the scene. Use this rig to rough out the overall character motion in your scene. Then export and import clips of the animation from the scene containing the basic rig to another scene that contains a more complex rig with controls for the joints of the hands, feet, head, individual shoulders, and so on. The second rig still has no muscle controls or deformable skin, however, only skeletal joints and polygon reference bones. The timing for the animation is taken to completion using this second rig. In addition, you can have a separate scene containing an animated face rig, which you merge with the scene that contains the completed body animation. Connect the face animation to the main body skin through a blend shape as described in Chapter 4, “Deforming the Skin.” Then, you import the final skeletal and face animation to a rig that contains all the previous controls, plus muscle controls and deformable skin. The finished animation is then tweaked and enhanced using muscle and skin deformers, as well as skin shaders, and is rendered for final compositing.


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