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Are physical reference mannequins a useful tool for figuring out good looking poses before animating?
No. Just use a posing software. Would be equally as innacurate but atleast easier to manipulate. This is just figurine collection.
The point of using a physical object is that it’s easier to manipulate the body parts to a precise position.
Since I’m an inexperienced dumbfuck, when posing with IK controls I get too focused on where the extremities should go rather than thinking of the shapes and lines of the pose as a whole.
The thought process is that it’s much more efficient to iterate and experiment with a physical mannequin, using it as a reference to replicate the pose in software.
make a simple stick figure/ mannequin proxy mesh then
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I'd say in theory yes but in practice for your average artist; no. If you built a true representation of the skeleton you're to manipulate
and it has good joints in all the correct locations then yes very much so, you can move around it and observe it from any vantage in a
very rapid fluid way and try things out at a pace that is just impossible to replicate with a mere mouse and keyboard moving joints on screen one by one.

But with a generic stiff mannequin with joints that soon will have a lot of play, like what you see in your image not so much.
You will be fighting the rig to strike a pose it doesn't support and it wont represent your actual character well.

Something like pic related would be the ideal. It is the animation puppet for the CGI T-rex from the original Jurassic Park.
An expert stop motion artist would pose the digital T-rex directly recording joint rotations straight from that puppet.
But I mean good luck building something like that if you don't have a VFX workshop at your disposal.
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Here's a more interesting image of the thing being used. It's a testament to just how powerful the organic quality of the input is that this scene from 1995 looks more believable than most CGI we see even today.
If you're not in terrible physical shape or something a powerful and easy thing you can do instead of using a mannequin
is to just keep a fullbody mirror nearby while animating and simply get up off your ass and get into the kind of pose you're going for and observe yourself.

Being able to feel your own joints and move all your limbs at once will help you figure out a pose very rapidly.
Just make sure no-ones around or at least is aware of what you're upto if you're animating the opposite sex or somekinda creature.
That was one of the cool things about Softimage Creative Environment / Softimage|3D; out of the box you could hook up any imaginable device to use as a motion channel driver. Granted you still needed that expert stop motion puppeteer, but what a nice thing to have.

I did that all the time, taping myself doing crazy stuff to get either facial or full body motion reverences. But yeah, better do it in a discrete way.
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>are limited and unstable physical puppets good references for posing flexible, physics-defying digital puppets?
Though I give you that in the storyboard stage a mannequin could be useful to draw the characters, but then the question changes to mannequins for making 2d art and thats a whole different topic.
>applying softbody modifier to birb
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Looks so damn comfy
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Good shit anon
the highest form of keks
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Sakurai did it
I say thee nay, do it naked and out in the open. It gives you social media visibility and if someone asks what you are doing you can just say you are an animator and then the whole world knows to hire you for their projects.

Where do you buy these things.
Shady Chinese sites

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