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General Q about 3D models

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I didn't know if this should go here or in the game programming forum. I've been wondering about how model animations were done in games. I know there are artists that create animations for models and programmers can load those in to display. But most models have several animations (walk, run, different attacks, death). Are all these animations typically created in one file in the modeling software and a programmer can call specific animations from the exported X file or are all these animations in separate files and the X files are kept preloaded in a buffer and different models swapped on the display depending on the action?

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