I have several models of staged rockets or spacecraft that I’m working on, and I’d like to use some kind of armature to animate the staging process, but it’s quite different from either an articulated machine or a deformable character. The main difference is that the parts need to detach and fall away in a controlled way.
In general, I’d like to have the model snap or limit the motion so that the stage will stop when it’s moved to the connected position (i.e. putting it back in the starting position). And I’d like the stage to follow a defined departure track as it detaches – these are pretty well defined – straight stages depart directly aft, pods follow a complex tilt, slip, and arc trajectory, shroud panels typically pivot on a joint and then release once they get past a certain point.
Can this kind of motion be done with armature bones? Can I define one bone for each stage, and then apply these kinds of constraints?
I’m still pretty new to rigging, so it’s not clear to me if I’m on the right track, or how to go about doing this.
I tried a few searches on Google and YouTube for tutorials that might be related, but I didn’t find much.
I did find references to the “Floor” and “Follow Path” constraints, which seem like they might be the way to go – does it make sense to use these constraints between bones, and then parent stages to the bones?
Any leads on how to do this would be much appreciated.