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I intend to rig a robot character that has the same form as a human. Right now I have many components of the character as separate meshes (i.e. upper arm, hand, lower leg, etc.), and they all have extensive modifiers to create their final form.

The only way I know how to rig a character is to have all parts of the body be a single mesh. If there is a way to rig all these components together properly while keeping them separate objects, please let me know but I assume there isn't.

Therefore I think the only way to rig this robot would be to join all the meshes together into one. I could apply all the modifiers on each component and then join them to make this happen, but that creates an intense number of faces that I enjoy only having to process during a render right now by disabling modifiers in the viewport. Is there a way to join all these meshes together while somehow keeping the ability to toggle the insane detail in the viewport that would make my computer lag, especially when I need to have multiple of these characters in a scene at once?

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    $\begingroup$ You can parent objects to bones. It’s not very efficient, but it does work. $\endgroup$ – TheLabCat Jun 15 at 1:00
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    $\begingroup$ You can also parent multiple objects to the same armature and set the weights of all the vertices in each object to be affected by a single bone. $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Marcati Jun 15 at 1:07
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    $\begingroup$ to bone each object, select the object, shift select the armature, switch to Pose mode, select the bone (it must be blue), then Ctrl P (Parent to) > Bone $\endgroup$ – moonboots Jun 15 at 6:02
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The only way I know how to rig a character is to have all parts of the body be a single mesh.

You're in luck! You can parent each object (hand, foot, head etc) individually to the armature. You'll likely want to apply any left-right mirror modifier (a must for weight painting) and move the armature modifier to the top of the modifier stack.

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