When and when not to Animate Master/Root bone?

Hello artists,
I’m confused when and when not to animate the root bone. I tried either ways before, I sometime felt easier to do one way than the other but I couldn’t find with which method to start to save time. ( by not trying both every time), Please help me break it down.

Most rigs should have a root bone (don’t move this), and a ground control bone that basically acts the same way as the root by moving the whole character. This is the most convenient way to do it, but some rigs just don’t have two of them.

I’ve found that if you’re animating a cinematic, a fast-moving character, a flying character, etc., sometimes animating the root control on a rig that doesn’t have a ground control is okay. It would be an issue if you wanted to adjust your whole character’s position at once. Or, if creating a complicated run (not a cycle), since it’s easier to pose the feet in place rather than risk sliding around with the root. Sometimes it is easier to animate the root then animate the body to it. But, if you’re animating for a game, the root control should never, ever be moved, because that’s where the button inputs go to control jump speed, movement speed, etc. If your game programming says to move forward, and your run is also moving forward, you’ll double up on forward movement, and your game character will move too fast and off the screen. Game animations for a character should always be animated in place.

tl;dr – game animations and cycles should not ever move the root for risk of creating weird over-animated movements when plugged into a scene. In film, though, it’s more of a guideline than a rule. Use your best judgement!

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