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I'm making a cartoon character I'd like to animate. The body is spheroid with two legs coming out of the bottom half. When the legs move, I don't want the sphere portion to deform.

My model currently is comprised of about 10 separate meshes. Should I

  • join them all into one mesh and then layout the bones in one armature and use weights to exclude the body from the leg bones?

or

  • keep the legs and body as separate meshes with an armature for each one? Is this method even possible? It seems I can still place bone constraints between separate armatures.

Most examples online go for one mesh, one armature. Are there things that cannot be done if I keep the meshes separate and use multiple armatures?

I have a preference to keep the meshes separate because I want to be able to change the meshes in the future without redoing all that weight assignment.

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Your question is likely to be closed for the "calls for an opinion" reasons; but yes, it's possible to do it with multiple armatures. But it will make your animator's life easier if you rig it with a single armature and weight painting though since they won't have to switch between armatures when animating the character.

You don't have to use weight paint to get the right weights in this case. Because each leg is a separate mesh, you can island select the leg in edit mode and place all of its vertices into the vertex group for the relevant leg bone.

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