When to use Morph Targets vs. Animations

Hey Crew!

Curious if anyone has insights on best practices on when to use Morph Targets vs. Animations? I’m looking for the best way to implement secondary animations, e.g. on a Robot characters where:

  • Compartments on the body open and close separate from movement animations.
  • Facial Expressions
  • HoverJet engine movement in coordination with left/right/forward/back flying.

I’ve had some success with Morph Targets and I like the pinpoint control (0.0 - 1.0) control I have over them, and blending all sorts of animations with limiting/weighting bones seems harder but wanted to get some feedback?

Anything that doesn’t require collision could potentially be a morph target.

They work similar to the bones, so it doesn’t really change too much aside from lack of bone movement which implies lack of collisions.

Facial expressions are a good fit and there is really nothing much speaking against using morph targets here. The other use cases you mentioned might give you some grief, though. That’s because morph targets interpolate linearly, which means you won’t be able to create any circular or rotational movement with a single morph target.

Take a compartment door. If it’s supposed to open like a regular door, rotating on hinges, morph targets won’t give you that. On the other hand, a sliding door will work just fine. Same with jet engines. If you want them to move between forward, left, back, and right in a rotating fashion, you might have some trouble making that look good with morph targets. Jet engine parented to a single bone will probably yield better results.

You actually make some very valid points because the hover jets will indeed rotate and I’m not sure how you do that with morph targets as you said maybe you can’t.