A rigging question

Was just wondering, if I choose to model a character in one mesh or in separate parts (arms, legs, head etc.), does the armature calculate movements differently? Yesterday I rigged a character made up of 4 meshes. I joined them and bound them to my armature. When I later tried to pose the character Blender hung. The odd thing is when I deleted the finger bones everything got faster. Any ideas?

what do you mean with “blender hung”? really crashed or was just slow?

as for the speedup after removing the finger-bone - if you didn’t assign the vertex weights manually, you have very low performance with bones. so removing some of them speeds up calculation.

the way the mesh is deformed is dependent on the geometry and the vertex weighting - and of course bone-movement. if doing characters, i’d suggest you go for seamless models and a proper setup. if you want, you can separate the hands to speed up calculation of the bones deforming the main mesh. so each hand would have it’s own armature

It slows down VERY much. And I did assign vertex groups manually. Do you suggest I´d weight paint the fingers? As for the separate hand setup, shall I parent the hand rig to the body armature?
One thing I found out while laborating with the handIK bone was if I align that bone to the hand bone, it locks the hands position and rotation. I then made sliders for every finger.

Do you mean that Blender is slower if you select the automatically create vertex groups option with the default weights? I find that Blender is slow when using bones on my machine but I figured it was just because my machine was slow.

Other ways you can improve speed is to move the entire mesh to another layer and turn it off. Then animate the skeleton and turn the mesh on when rendering. Also, using wireframe mode helps.

Like solmax said, it’s better to have a seamless model in general. If you have a clothed character, you might get away with a split model as you could hide seams under the clothes but seamless is better.

It’s understandable that the fingers are slow because if your setup’s like mine, I have 3 deforming bones per finger on 4 fingers and 2 per thumb so that’s 28 bones on the fingers alone. Including IKs and nulls, I only have 76 bones on my whole character so the fingers represent a big proportion.

I like solmax’s idea of using separate armatures for the hands because you can just parent one of the main armature bones to the hand armature and you could then hide the hand armature but I couldn’t parent the mesh to more than one armature so I’m not sure how that works unless you split the mesh up too.

No, I didn´t use “create automatically vertex groups”. But when I get home after work I´ll try to stitch the meshes into one and then have another go.