Animation charater & rendering

I have a couple of questions (I’m thinking of them as i write these :p)
1: Is there a animation character that anyone has that’s fully rigged and that i can use for getting use to animation.
2: How do you render in different modes? (such as wire frame or not fully shaded and ect. Basically to see what the animation would look like before fully rendering it.)
3: Can you rig a character so that the movements of the bones can only go to a certain extent (Example: having his head only turn 80 degrees to the left or right.)
4: Where might i find a tutorial for making cloth objects?
5: How do i make objects like metal but not so much like a mirror. (Some reflection)

1.Rigs everywhere
2. An armature can have a proxy model on another layer for quicker renders
3. Yep…have a look at some of Calvins stuff
4. Here that said there is work being done on a whole new system, but when it’s ready?
5. Look in the repository

Also, to do a playblast you can [CTL]+[click] the mountains in the 3d window to get a GL render of that window, it works for all the different modes, i.e. wireframe, shaded, solid, etc.

For the rotation constraints, you just add rotation constraints to the bones in pose mode. There you can also limit movement and scale, either globally or locally.

The animation challenge posts are also a great wealth of rigs, there’s blenrigas well, which is an armature, but you have to skin it yourself, and I’ve made a couple meager contributions myself, but they’re still a little WIP. There are also the Elephant’s Dream files from the orange project.