To expand a bit on what QxC mentioned about rigging: One of the biggest problems with rigging is that different animators work with rigs in different ways, and therefore the way they rig is quite different. I'd like to use my participation with Smolgon to expand on that by comparing the original rig I did vs the modified one QxC used for the position tests.
Those who look carefully will already see some notable differences. First off, I did not rig the flame on Pajantom's head. This was because during the rigging, QxC mentioned his intentions to use a sine deformer. As an animator, I prefer to rig those myself to control the movement better, so I left it without rigging. Adding those bones is rather easy, takes no more than five minutes, so it wasn't an issue.
Next, I'd like to point out how the shoulder and body joints are connected. If you take a look at QxC's final rig, he has bones connecting the entire rig making it all one interconnected skeleton, while in my version the arms, legs and tail are disconnected from the main body. I usually don't connect extremities to the body and instead utilize bound offsets to make the whole rig move as one structure despite its separation.
On the long term both options behave similarly, with the only difference being that more bones allow for flexibility in some areas that offset bindings don't. It's a style decision that relates to how each person animates, and any aspiring rig artist/animator should learn both and see how they like to work. QxC also added bones to the horns of the hat, something I didn't do because that part was, in my opinion, rigid and thus should move alongside the headbone and first hatbone instead.
Finally, QxC subdivided a fair amount of the bones I made to give the rig itself more flexibility in terms of bone placement for the animation. That compiles all the main differences between the OG rig and the final rig.
Now, onto the weight issues QxC mentioned: When rigging, the process normally goes in the following order:
1. Make your rig
2. Bind your rig to your wireframe, using automatic weights.
3. Fix whatever weight issues show up.
4. Test rig to destruction. If issues show, return to step 3.
In this particular rig, there was a major
weight problem in the rim of the hat. Since the rim and horns were a separate object that had been overlapped with the hat to create the wireframe and as such extended a little into the hat itself, the rig bound this part of the hat to the second and first hatbones. It meant that when one was deforming the hat by moving the 2nd hatbone, the rim of the hat would randomly fly through Paj's forehead as can be seen below. you can also see the offset technique I mentioned before, shown by the dotted line between the headbone and the nosebone.
Note how the hat remains stationary, but the rim is lifted awkwardly. To fix that, I had to select every face in that part of the hat and unbind them from the 1st and 2nd hatbones' spheres of influence. It was the most time-consuming part of the rigging, easily. Crafting the rig itself took around 20 minutes, while properly removing this issue took almost two hours. The issue was that I had to select every face, because if I missed a couple then one or two faces would shoot out like spikes from the rim of the hat every time the 2nd hatbone was moved. The curved horns made this a difficult task. I can only imagine the weight issues mentioned by QxC were related to this as well, probably created after subdividing. There were also probably some on the shoulder rotations, either created by the new bindings or something I forgot to fix.
Weight painting is, in my opinion, the most difficult part of rigging since oftentimes things fold in strange ways. It is around 85 to 95% of the time spent rigging, especially in more complex builds. Pajantom-Smol had the advantage of not having fingers, which are normally some of the more complicated parts of a rig. One of the main rules of rigging is to always have one or two people QCing because you will always miss one or two weight problems.
I'm probably gonna offer myself as the main rigging artist for the project, since it's something I'm rather experienced with. I very much encourage people to try it out, especially with smaller and less-complicated rigs like Pajantom-Smol was (Which would probably be any pre-evolutions we model). It's a rewarding experience, and can be quite fun. You can come to me for any questions.