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Animation Dilemma

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Hi guys. I have a dilemma here. I'm a programmer, and is currently contracting all my animations to an artist for a price. Thing is, I have shit loads of animations planned.

My question is, is it possible to reduce the number of "animation sets" by using code to manipulate bones?

Let's say I have these animations:

1. walk without weapon
2. walk with knife in hand
3. walk with staff in hand
4. walk with pistol in hand
5. walk with rifle in hand

All these animations have different hand positions. Is is possible to use code to manipulate the bones so that they "attach" to points on the weapon itself, rather than have my artist animate them individually (which costs about $30 per animation)?

I ran through my list and there're about 120-150 animations for one rigged model type, and this is after cutting out the half-giant model (ouch). I'd hate to cut down on the list of animations because I believe that'd be the selling point of the game.

Any ideas?

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Just did some researching and heard from my artist that animation retargeting might be the method to go for. OGRE supports skeletal animations, while Havoc seems to have an advanced version of it.

Researching more...

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Techniques used to not become overwhelmed by the pure amount of animations are at least
* animation retargeting
* animation mirroring
* animation blending
* animation layering

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Quote:
Original post by haegarr
Techniques used to not become overwhelmed by the pure amount of animations are at least
* animation retargeting
* animation mirroring
* animation blending
* animation layering


I understand the first 3 but what is animation layering? Can't find any useful information on google at a quick glance.

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