DirectX 8.0 allows the creation of smooth and realistic character movements that are more life-like than simple articulated structure animations. This is made possible by its improved support for vertex tweening and blended vertex deformations, also known as soft-skinning. After a brief history of the use of these techniques in DirectX, soft-skinning using the fixed function pipeline is discussed. This is followed by the use of matrix palettes from within vertex shaders to create a customized soft-skinning solution that takes advantage of the benefits of vertex shaders, such as hardware acceleration and custom lighting algorithms without the limitations of fixed-function solutions.
MSDN Magazine June 2001
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