In this lesson, you’ll learn how to configure a generic character (in this case, a stray cat). You’ll learn to configure the cat’s Animation Clips and add them to the Timeline. Finally, you’ll learn to loop and blend animation tracks.
But before we dive into this lesson, we need to explain a few things about Lessons 4.2 and 4.3. In these lessons, we will be working with rigged characters that already have animations baked into them. These animations, created in a Digital Content Creation tool such as Maya, are imported into Unity as Animation Clips, which can be thought of as pre-recorded Clip Tracks. By default, your characters (generic and humanoid) will appear in their T-pose (this is their default pose with feet together and arms out) in the Scene unless an Animation Clip is attached to the character.
When you bring a character into Unity that has animations associated with it, you must tell Unity which type of rig the character uses. There are two types of rigs that Unity acknowledges: Generic and Humanoid. Humanoid rigs are typically reserved for biped characters — characters that move with two legs. Humanoid rigs can be shared across different characters with similar proportions. Generic rigs, however, account for most other types of locomotion. A stray cat, for instance, would be configured with a Generic rig, while a pedestrian in this Scene would be configured with a Humanoid rig.
Generic characters aren’t at all “generic.” They actually require specialized rigs and animations that are specifically designed for their particular body shapes and structures. In this example, the stray cat has animations specific to its rig that can’t be reused by other characters — a dog wouldn’t normally move like a cat, for example. This also extends to similar characters. If two cats have different rigs, they can’t share the same animations. We’ll talk more about Humanoid rigs in Lesson 4.3.