In This Chapter
Becoming familiar with the Action Editor
Animating shape keys
Using armatures for animations
Animating quickly with the Non-Linear Animation window
Looking at the title of this chapter, you may find yourself wondering how this chapter is different from Chapter 10. Both chapters cover animation, but this chapter covers the cool things you can do in Blender if you're animating with a fully rigged mesh. Chapter 10 covers what is often referred to as object animation: that is, animating the attributes of a single object. You can actually squeeze quite a bit of personality out of object animation. However, the level of control and detail that you can get when your object has an animation rig is exponentially greater. There are simply way more possibilities for expression and communication. And at the same time, the process of animating is a little bit more complex. With an animation rig, there are more bits and pieces to manage, keep track of, and control.
Trying to manage all of that additional complexity can be daunting if all you have to work with is the Outliner and the Ipo Curve Editor. Fortunately, Blender offers a few more features that help make rigged character animation easier to wrap your head around.
Of course, this doesn't change anything that's covered in Chapter 10. In fact, if you're not familiar with the Ipo Curve Editor and the process of setting keyframes in Blender, you probably ought to go back and review that chapter. ...