July 4, 2009
No this isn’t about politics, more a case of keeping assets tied to a system, that allows them to be flexible with all departments – animation, tech and art, whilst being editable and exportable en-mass.
The most important factor is iteration. Assets, animation, and rigs will get iterated over time and you need the ability to change and update them whenever.
Assets need to be editable/exportable on mass and externally, to not slow production down. Version control systems generally have a locking process that means if all your assets are on one rig, another user will have to wait for the unlock or submitted changes to get it. Using externally linked or tied resource means, a tech guy can make changes to the file and user needs only to reload the resource back to get changes, even if the users had those assets loaded with the saved scene. Essentially dynamic referencing or passive referencing is crucial.
Animations are gold, and so need to be kept to the highest fidelity when loading them onto another rig. Crucially what needs to be kept between rigs is animation controllers, not bones. A mapping file then only needs to use what it finds to reload the animations back onto a rig.
The rig has to be updatable, and in a non-destructive way to the scene. It needs to get either dynamically changed – controller changes already existing and nodes that get removed and updated attached to the rig; or passively changed – where the entire rig along with everything attached to it gets loaded out and reloaded in with updates.