Ok, so here it goes:
Here's how I
do the huge bots (metroplex/Trypticon). The steps apply to the smaller batch as well.
This procedure is for 3dsmax, but should apply to other as well. The terms used are all in the help file(s) for further explanation.
- Model everything, and then make sure it looks good. Also make sure that it can transform to resemble the alt mode.
- Now create a proxy of that robot that's just a bunch of cubes but these cubes share the same bounding box and pivot/rotation points as the high res original.
- Now Xref the high res with the low res proxy. You can now animate the low res and when you render Xref will pull in the high res for the render. [This] makes animating a breeze, plus it has one major benefit - it separates your model from the animation. Meaning you can keep on continuing to apply texturing and materials and not worry about the animation that's assigned to the model.
- So when it comes to animating the transformation part, I have another xref that's for the alt mode in "reverse". This has all its parts aligned to the parts on the robot.
- I then create a slider widget in max that will "blend" between the two. This slider pretty much controls the animation keys set to transform between pose 1 and the alt mode. Because it's all set in a expression that controls the slider, all I need to do is animate the slider and watch the robot "transform" in response.
- weapons and all that other stuff "morphs" or fades out/in as needed. Their transparency is linked into the widget animation as well.
*advantage to working like this*
- separates render version from animation version, light and responsive animation scenes are a result.
- continue texturing and lighting without having to worry about losing the animation
- Do it the way the big studios do!
You need to be able to script somethings and tie them all together. Also don't overwrite the scenes your Xref'ng to or your screwed.