First person animation: combine weapon + hands or not?


After reading this thread, I have a general idea of when to merge the hands with the weapon.

However, when it comes down to animations (such as weapon firing, reloading, etc.), how can it be done if the weapon is not merged with the hands? Take a weapon’s firing animation for example. There’s more than just the kickback from the shot, say you want to animate the bolt as well. Or animate the weapon’s charging handle in a reload animation.

I can’t see any method to animate these weapon parts if the hands are not merged with the weapon. Is there a way?

You can animate the weapon separately and then play the animation (ie reload) on both the character and weapon at the same time. That means you can do whatever you want in the weapon animation, like multiple moving parts. To animate that correctly you’d just attach the weapon skeleton to whatever socket you have in your animation package (like Maya), animate both weapon and character at the same time. Then export the animations separately (the ART can even do that automatically).

Add some bones on the weapon that serve as placeholders for the hands and animate those. Then those can be used as IK targets for whatever hands they may be matched with.