Well to be honest, this is not the first character I made. I made a little bear for some visuals and I suffered horribly through the whole process and it took me much, much longer to finish a simple animation. because I thought that the armature was as simple as make mesh, make bone, apply to mesh and you are done. Now I know there are three types of bones, at least for me,
there are probably people out there who may have a different approach, and that’s a good thing because once you get to know more about armatures you can see what works and what doesn’t for you and you can work your own way.
This is the first one I made following a tutorial and also researching on the web and books. I really can’t recommend enough the mancandy FAQ and also the mancandy it self, You can download it. Is a great tutorial and Bassam is a genius and you support blender. But is not as easy as just buying the tutorial. I would dedicate one day to one body part, for example I grabbed a notebook and wrote down each bone from the mancandy legs like
a) bone name
b) bone parent
d) name of the bone the constraint is applied to.
Now the mancandy 2.48 has a lot of bones but some bones are not used, some don’t have a constraint also and Bassam explains that in the FAQ. In his website he also points out the updates he has done to mancandy for 2.48.
I also bought the book of Roland Hess animating with blender. When this book came out the first thing that came to mind is that this book was bad because the cover has a mom holding a horrible baby. Well I was wrong, really wrong. This book describes about rigging and how to combine different types of like armatures and mesh deform which is one of the latest techniques in animation thanks to Pixar, I think correct me if I’m wrong. It might be too advanced actually for some but if you already can handle basic concepts of animation, this book has a lot of information like how to organize your files, how to use the library and how use render farms among other stuff.
I would say explore other rigs, the buck bunny files, blenrig, Miku is also excellent if you like toon animation.
But one thing that I would warn anyone just starting to learn about animation is that when you make the spine bones, and you are using b-bones with segments, never press ctrl-n. NEVER NEVER NEVER, I don’t how can you prevent this and if someone out there knows something would really appreciate some tips. But recalculating bone roll angles rearranges each segment and I wasn’t able to put them back in order. So what I had to remake the spine bones and once they were on place, lock them put them on a separate layer and continue working. You can recalculate bone roll in any other bone just avoid doing that with b-bones the segmented type.