March 26, 2009
The issue of updating rigs is a complex one – you have multiple systems involved from the modeling, rigging, skinning and animation; even dynamics and muscle systems (though not so much to the latter in the games industry).
What are the soft constants in a rigging system? But that I mean systems that are susceptible to change and readily updatable? Well the skin, and model are updated pretty often until the rig works out, and deforms correctly; so I’d classify these as soft.
Now the hard constants would pretty much be the rig, its the framework that everything else lives off. But internally to the rig only the animation controls are integral to the animator and need to be constant. Else animation will get lost if controls are removed.
Now a framework can be classified as a soft skeleton riding hard controls, with soft model and skin riding the skeleton. Now we can see what’s easy to change!
The skeleton for starters could easily be changed if the animation controls are kept the same. And even if there are removed or new ones added all that’s lost is the animation on that control. Everything else that rides this is susceptible to change anyway.
So when building pipelines, take into account that the rigs are likely to change, only deal with the things that matter to people you pass the rig onto i.e the animators – all they want is the same controls or updated controls as before with the same animations.