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What is the difference between Morph Target and Skeletal Animation??

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I'm using Morph Target Animation (quake2 models) but I don't understand the difference between Morph Target and Skeletal Animation. I'm using Irrlicht engine. Morph target animation: Meshes are linearly interpolated from one frame to the next. This is what is done in the Quake game series, and how the Irrlicht engine does it when importing .md2 and .md3 files. Skeletal animation: A skin is manipulated by animated joints. The Irrlicht Engine will do this when loading .ms3d, .x, and .b3d files. It is easily possible to attach objects to parts of the animated model. It is, e.g., possible to attach a weapon to the hand of a model, which will be moved as the hand moves, with only one line of code.

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That is exactly the difference there [smile]

Morph Targets are just where you morph a mesh directly into another shape. I.e. you will have a few shapes of the same mesh defined, animating between them is simply smoothly interpolating each vertex. Great for facial animation.

Skeletal animation is where you associate a bone with a group of vertices, or more accurately, associate each vertex with one or more bones, defining how much each bone will affect the vertex (weight). When one of these bones moves, all vertices that are associated with that bone are transformed too, much like skin is 'transformed' when you move your arm. It also makes it easier to attach other objects - as you just attach them to a bone, depending on the engine, this can be as simple as:

// Do once, ever.
pBone->attachObject( pObject );

or like this:

// Do every frame.
pObject->setWorldTransform( pBone->getWorldTransform() );

Hope this helps [smile]

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For both types of animations you need someone to actually generate the animations.

With skeletal animation you have the advantage that you can use motions generated for one skeleton and apply that on different models that have the same skeleton.

Even though skeletal animation gives you advantages it is probably easier for now to stick with a morph target animation format. You will probably find plenty of quake models (.md2 or .md3) that you might be able to use.


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