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Techniques for volume preservation on fat characters?

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Hey all I've been watching a few cg films of late.. stuff like wallE and wreck it ralph and Shrek. 

All these films use large chubby characters.. which seem to interact with their own volume mass and also the env around them.

So my question is how is this being done?  It's something I wanted to do for a good while and don't know how to go about it.. eg getting those nice effects when a character pushes their arm close to their body and the mass squashes but maintains volume.. or ralph when he bends an arm but the volume is maintained.

Can anyone recommend techniques for this?  Houdini or maya perhaps?  I'm just lost where to start.. is it something that's simulated after the anim? Or is it something part of the rig that the animator can visualize?

Any thoughts welcome. I'd really like to try and figure this one out and there's a good few vfx guys on here so hopefully I can get some insight :)






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So essentially this would be insanely useful!  It's utterly phenomenal and literally explains why all Disney features just seem to blast this stuff out now so easily!


Is something  like this do able in houdini you think?  I'm thinking cut down version Maybe that could be houdini engine asset for maya

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