Thanks Jay, I'm a real admirer of your work. Your job as Simplymaya's edgeloop preacher helped me in leaps and bounds when i started modelling last year
I know that bone placement is going to have to be many and accurate, and i've got some plans on how to do it. will have to see if i can knock up a concept in photshop see what you think.
However, I think that with some good control structures, those many bones can be controlled with relative ease. Placing set driven keys on group nodes to produce scrubable "blend shapes" adds that further level of automation, but with the added benefit of precision alteration at any stage of the deformation.
Unfortunately, I'm in my third year at uni so alias DVD's are way beyond my price bracket. But between here and the CG forums theres some real good info and advice on where to take this.
Again, thanks for the time. Keep me posted on how ur finding it and i'll do the same.