Learn how to edit your characters using rigs in Animate.
Modern rigging is the new way to quickly setup a rig using Asset Warp tool, rotate the bones or warp the joints to create poses and apply a classic tween to automatically create the in-betweens to form a smooth animation.
Following are some of the capabilities enabled in the Modern Rigging workflow:
Steps for creating a rig:
With Asset warp tool hold & dragging the joint can be used to deform the mesh.
Also, bone can be clicked & dragged to rotate the bone. When dragging bone, size of bone doesn’t change like the way it happens when dragging a joint.
Keyframes in the timeline can be used to create different poses. Add a new keyframe & deform using joint / bone. Every keyframe will hold its own pose that was set. Once pose is created other transforms can also be applied like moving the object, scaling, rotation, etc. The following image shows 3 different poses across 3 keyframes shown using “Edit Multiple Frames” mode.
Once poses are created, the classic tween can be created on frame spans to create a smooth animation based on poses created on keyframes. Following image captures ‘onion skin’ of in between poses to show how smooth animation can be done using classic tween.
After setting poses across keyframes, if you need to make changes to rig by adding / removing joints or bones then Animate automatically applies corresponding change on all keyframes. Hence no need to manually switch to every keyframe to make the changes in rig.
A joint can be removed by first selecting a joint by clicking on it and then pressing delete key. All the bones connecting to that joint are also automatically removed. In case you wish to delete only bone but not the joint connected to it then it can be done by selecting a bone & pressing delete key.
Soft bones are useful in getting smoother bend for underlying mesh while deforming. By default, all the bones are hard bones. In order to use soft bone, select the bone & toggle the ‘Bone Type’ property from the ‘Warp Options’ section on the ‘Object’ tab of the Property Inspector to make it a soft bone.
One more very useful functionality for rigging is “Freeze joint”. Any frozen joint does not move when another part of the rig is moved. In order to convert any joint to a frozen joint, select the joint & toggle the ‘Freeze joint’ property from the ‘Warp Options’ section on the ‘Object’ tab of the Property Inspector.
Following image shows the example of deformation achieved by just moving the root joint downwards. Other joints do not move because they are freeze joints.
Following are some of the additional workflows & shortcuts that will be handy while creating rigs.
There are two ways to rotate bone without changing its size. As outlined earlier, select the bone & drag it to rotate it. Another workflow is to select the bone ( or joint at the tail of the bone) & precisely change the rotation value using the ‘Rotation angle’ hot text property in the ‘Warp options’ section on the ‘Object’ tab in the Property Inspector
There is a checkbox in the ‘Warp Options’ section in the tools & object tab of the Property Inspector to enable/disable the on-stage display of triangulated mesh. Also, the density of mesh can be modified using the slider shown in the image below. Higher mesh density provides smoother deformations but results in lower efficiency while working with multiple keyframes. On the other hand lower mesh density results in better performance at the cost of quality of deformation. Animate automatically computes the mesh density for the warped character to get the balance between quality & performance. However, you can change it using slider.
Whenever properties of joints or bones are changed ( Freeze joint, soft/hard bone, open / fixed joint), Animate automatically ensures to propagate this change across all keyframes. In some scenarios, it may not be desirable. E.g. you need a soft bone only for specific keyframes & need it to be hard bone on other keyframes. ‘Propagate changes’ property in ‘Warp Options’ section on ‘Tool’ tab of property inspector can be used to control whether you need propagation or not
In order to create a bone between existing joints, first select the joint that is supposed to be the head joint of the bone. Now hold alt/option key modifies & click on another joint which is supposed to be at the tail of the bone.
Moving any joint results in deformation. Sometimes after creating a deformed pose, it is required to just change the position of the joint without changing the deformation. This can be done by holding the alt/option key modifier while moving the joint.
Select the joint to be moved by double-clicking on it. Now moving this joint won’t affect other joints connected with this joint using bones. This is to temporarily disable forward kinematics.
We've got you covered on how to rig your character. You can now learn how to share your animation in social media within Animate.