Articulation: The movement of points in space.

One of the most important parts of modeling a character is not where your points live on your mesh but why they live there. All points must have a logical reason for existing. Not just to hold the shape but to retain that shape while in motion. Take for example, the points that make up the "shoulder". These points also make up the movement for the neck, arm, upper chest, chest, and the upper back. All these parts must get along while being move through space. If you don't think about that before hand, it will cost you in the long run. Think about your movement in the way an Animator uses thumb nailing to help them visualize their animations. Animators plan their animations with small gesture drawings to help foresee problems. The same process can be applied before you start articulating. When you finish a mesh, step back and think about where the points are going to move and what kind of movements they are going to go through. You can use your modeling program to quikly rotate (rotate, translate, scale, etc) the points around in the same type of motion that they would be articulated. Its fast and very similar to thumb nailing characters action before animating. This method allows you to foresee most articulation problems. This also helps your define how much geometry (edges) an area will need to hold the shapes you want to create. Using helper bones. When you build a character, you use sketches in the back ground to help model the shape. You can use this same method when articulating, by using an under lining skeleton structure. This bone structure helps preserve the volume of your character as you articulate. It keeps the mesh from getting too mushy. Without this underlining bone system the points in the mesh can feel loose when multiple motion are fired in combination. Remember that the points need to work not only well with in its own scope but in combination of multiple scopes. Using a skeleton will help control your characters body mass as you Articulate the mesh. This skeleton helps take the guesswork out of the mesh. This is extremely helpful in the knees and the elbows. You can see exactly where you need to put those points.


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