Reusable Characters?

hello all…

I have come here today asking about reusable charcters.

What I mean is I am wanting to make a game. The environment I can model fine, code and logic bricks, am okay, but for character modeling I am still poor. I want to make an alpha of my game, and start making animation for a character model, but all my attempts result in a high quality ugly model heh. Am I can use one of those models with rigging and animations, and just swap it later for a better more high quality one, but keeping the same already made animations as to not redo them all for new model?

I can apply the animations/code directly to the rig and just put different “skins” (high quality models) on it later?

any advice please leave so i can improve.

Sure you can re-use rigs and swap the meshes later. Just make sure to model the new mesh to suit the armature you have, ie. same length, limb size, joint locations etc. Animations don’t care to which meshes the armatures are attached to, they just make the armature move. Armature doesn’t care which animation is driving the movement, it just moves the name-matching mesh vertex groups according to it’s bones.

Character modeling is not easy and you shouldn’t probably attempt AAA level. The work you put into high polycount modeling easily doubles and triples with texturing and weight painting and it gets unfeasible really fast. Start with getting the basic shapes and proportions right, practice rendering textures and weight painting until you know the tools and you have a workflow. It’s perfectly OK to make low-poly models (1000-2000 tris) first and later revise them and do in better detail if you have the time.

Ah okay, exact answer I hoping to hear thank you :).

How hard though is it in your experience to add onto a rig/animation from a lower scale one? My model does not have much facial features that an advanced model would have, perhaps no even mouth movements yet. How hard would it be to transform a rig from a less quality model with animations, to a high quality model with a few more rig additions.

It would be as simple as just adding onto the rig without it effecting current animations unless you toyed with those specific bones yes?

Example:

Adding mouth movements to the head of a rig that only does walk movements, the walk movements would be unaffected by the other additions?

You can add bones easily at the end of the bone chain for example append a face rig at the end of your “head” bone. Bones won’t affect other bones that are not parented to them. You will need to manually add vertex groups (if you don’t want to re-parent the armature and lose any manual weight painting adjusting you did previously) and do weight painting from scratch for all facial rig bones and clean up the “head” bone weights with changed topology of course.

What you don’t want to do is add bones in the middle of your chain. For example if you add spine bones it’s going to change things in the existing animations for the spine up since their position has shifted a bit. It’s ok when you have the bone chain solved by IK like if you had an arm with 2 bones solved by IK, you could add a shoulder bone and just set up the IK solving with 3 bones in the same fashion and the results would be similar since the IK target bone remains unchanged.

I reckon ideally you shouldn’t probably put much effort into nice animations when you don’t know how your mesh is going to end up like. I don’t know what’s your specific case but generally if your meshes look bad, chances are you got some design issues like proportions or masses that need fixing and you can’t really use the same rig anymore. You’d be likely best off treating the rig and animations as placeholders as well and try to replace it all later on as a whole.

But if you “know what you’re doing” it’s very possible to finish a polished and detailed rig without having the mesh ready. :slight_smile:

Note for character modeling: Make sure your using good character reference. A good AAA workflow is to start a base mesh in blender. Second and this is a preference of mine but open up the basemesh in Sculptris and sculpt away. Remember: Reference is key! Third you go back into blender and build a low poly version of the mesh. Bake down the normals. Make your textures. And base your armature off of the base mesh so it continues to fit and deform correctly.