When animating a robot or other mechanical object, should I merge merge all objects into one, rig it with a skeleton and animate the skeleton. Or should I keep limbs separate, parent them to each other and animate them.
The robot will be very stiff. No bending limbs or cartoony squash and stretch. If I would use bones, each bone would have a very strict vertex group, exactly one limb of the robot. Limbs will rotate in sockets of their parents.
This is for creating animated movies, not for game animations.
Also, the robot has some symmetrical parts so it would be nice to copy and mirror keyframes between the sides.
I will probably want Inverse kinematics.