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I am trying to model around 150 characters for tactical game. I hope to use one shared armature, however I imagine models might have various silhouettes and moving body elements. I mean most are humanoid, some are fat, some are twice larger, some have spider legs or snake trunk, or wings. What do You think would be best approach for this ? Should I make one armature with additional bones ? How should I parent mesh to the armature for most elastic workflow ? Will shapekeys be helpful ? Should I keyframe poses in specific way, or should I take advantage of blending animations ??

Please, any tip or advice is welcome

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    $\begingroup$ This is the wrong forum to ask questions like that where any answers would be opinion-based. Try Blenderartists.org. $\endgroup$
    – John Eason
    Mar 5, 2022 at 10:23

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Surely you can't use a spider animation for a biped character, so I will use as example bipeds only (even quite different one from another).

I would recomend to use always the same rest pose (A-pose is best for modeling, but Unity will always translate into a T-pose, so I think T-pose is best for rigging).

The models could share the same distance between hip bone and floor (they can be scaled up or down as a whole directly into the animation data).

After perfoming the animation, you could bake it as visual keying and clear constraints all and only deforming bones, so to get a pure FK rig, without constraints (as those of Mixamo): this kind of animation relate on rot data only, except for the hip bone, which acts as a master bone and has loc data also.

All rot data can be transferred to different characters with ease, as soon as the rest pose share the same bones orientations.

Loc data of hip bone has to be scaled on its Y values the same amount as the scale of the whole character (if the character was scaled 0.5, in the graph editor select all loc data of hip bone and press S Y 0.5 Enter).

If the character needs to have a different bone orientation in its rest pose, you will need to perform a retargeting procedure: it can be helpful Auto Rig Pro addon, which can retarget from any rig to any rig.

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  • $\begingroup$ That was perfectly what I needed and so much more, thank You ! Now You got me thinking - could I make characters with various body parts sizes using this scaling method ? Like long legged character with big arms, or short legged character with tall torso ? So only parts of armature are scaled somehow ? $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2022 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, as Hip is a master bone you can elongate torso, legs, arms, neck and head as much as you want. If you mantain the bones orientations you will be able to switch animations from one character to another. If not you'll have to perform retargeting. $\endgroup$ Mar 5, 2022 at 12:04

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