Dag! I forgot about the skin weighting! Ugh! haha. Yeah, those two are top annoyances in my book. I remember how 3DsMax's Envelope weighting system worked so well.
I guess when it comes to weight painting, a realistic weight painting would have to take into consideration tension between bone and tendons and represent that as a weight map (so to speak). Even as it pertains to rigging, the degree of motion should mimic its real life counterpart.
I have done all of these things before, but not yet on a professional level (just as a hobby, tinkering with it), so that is why I am trying to get as much info as I can on it to see which will work for me best.
I might add another entry to my Journal on the process once I get things rolling, and perhaps even a tutorial as an article (for beginners made simple)... actually simple.