because they are flying creature and bugs that does repetitive motion it is just easier to have such things build in the rig. And just in case your wondering...to make animators happy there is much offset controls and the auto-animation is always be turned off.
The first rig on display is the Mr.Bug rig done for the thesis known as "Luciernaga". Luciernaga is a creation of two of the most talented lighting/rendering/compositing artist that I have ever worked with. Matte painter extreme Jesse Flores and kick-ass compositor Jessenia Nauta. There was some "difficulty" in the making of this rig. The original model that was given to me was in 100 different pieces, literally. And the rig was expected to be skinned, after some back and forth the model was fixed and the rig was ready for animation. I can't wait to see their finished work. You can check out there progress at...
As for my own thesis I have arrived at the point which is needed for me to start planning the animation of my butterflies. The key-frame animation part of my thesis is coming along and if noting goes wrong it could be done by the end of this year or early next year before the second semester starts. I wrote an auto-rigger for my butterflies because I need to rig about 25 different butterflies and doing all that work by hand...is not very fun. So here is my butterfly auto-rig