How it works...

The traditional approach to animation in games required all the movement animations to be done "in place." Characters were only moved with code (in Unity, with the transform.Translate() and transform.Rotate() methods, by changing the rigidbody.velocity vector, or by using the rigidbody.ApplyForce() method). Animations were merely visual effects and the game could work without a single animation being played. In the root motion approach, animations drive the movement of a character. The translation and rotation data is captured from the root node (a bone in the rig's hierarchy) and applied to the whole character in game. There are a few pros and cons to each approach:

Traditional approach Root motion approach
Pros

 

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