character animation without armature

Can’t you just remodel your character mesh every frame rather than using an armature; I’m sure it would make less memory impact

I’m not sure if you’re joking…

You certainly could do that, but it would be insanely time-consuming, difficult to make changes to, and take much, much, much more memory. And you would get almost no benefit from using a computer–you would be better off doing clay animation.

In his defense (sort of) I believe some older game engines used to bake animations into a series of shapekeys- but I’m pretty sure this is because calculating an armature on the fly was too processor-intensive and the extra memory cost was worth it. Now, it’s GPU accelerated, and you get the extra flexibility of being able to go between frames, or mix actions, or (eventually in Blender, but certainly in other engines) access bones in real-time.
Even if you were going with the old method, you’d use an armature to make all the animations, you’d have to be insane to do it otherwise. (and it’s not like armatures are a new thing, they’ve been using them in claymation for many years specifically for the benefits of consistency in animation)

So in retrospect, I’m pretty sure you were joking but you got a slightly ramble-y response anyway.

Thanks for the feedback; sorry for my late reply

Not sure what you mean by clay animation though… like stop motion??

Yeah, I should probably have said stop motion, as some animators use things other than clay (cloth and such, fo rexample)

my point with bringing up stop motion was that people have spent a lot of time, even before computers existed, finding the best ways to do this, and armatures are what they came up with in terms of usability for the animators- and on the computer side, armatures save a huge amount of ram and file size that frame-by-frame shapekeys waste.

Ok that makes sense :slight_smile:

Thanks for you help!