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Behaviors: Utility

New Starter mode is now available! 

Character Animator 22.5 (released June 2022) introduces Starter mode to get you started animating now without any prior experience. Update now to the latest version to try this out.

Fader: Fade a group on and off via trigger

This behavior allows you to show or hide a specific part of a puppet by fading the opacity of that part (a group) on or off by using a trigger (e.g., keyboard trigger). The group will fade in when triggered, then fade out when the trigger is released.


Note: This behavior isn't applied by default to puppets. Add the behavior to the specific group of a puppet that you want to fade in and out. Avoid having Fader and Transform on the same group.
Also, assign a trigger key to the group. Set the key to latch if you want to toggle fading in and out by tapping the key instead of holding it down.


This behavior has the following parameter:

Duration:  controls how fast (in seconds) opacity will increase or decrease.

Handle Fixer: Restrict movement in a bendable puppet

This behavior allows parts of a bendable puppet to stay fixed in place as if pinned down.


Assign the Fixed tag to a specific handles or groups to affects its origin. If the imported artwork has a guide or layer with the word "Fixed" in its name, the Fixed tag is applied to the corresponding handle automatically.


The Pin tool in the Puppet panel can create Fixed-tagged handles without needing to modify the original artwork file.

When the puppet moves (for example, via the Face or Dragger behavior), the bendable areas stretch and deform. For example, you can restrict the movement of a character's torso and lower body by placing a "Fixed" handle at the waist (like a Puppet pin in After Effects or Photoshop), but have the upper part of the body (Head handle) controlled by the Face behavior.

See Headless Horseman.psd or Red in the Character Animator Examples download for working examples that you can modify.

Stick tool

The Stick tool (available in the Puppet panel) allows you to create rigid segments in the warpable mesh of a puppet's rubber sheet. The area around the segment cannot bend, but the segment can stretch or shrink. For example, you can create sticks (segments) for a character's upper arm and lower arm, leaving a gap at the elbow so it can bend there.

To create a Stick handle in the Puppet panel, click at the place above a layer to specify one end of the stick, then drag to the other end of the intended stick. A handle with a line through it is created.

Transform: Translate, scale, and rotate handles of a puppet

This behavior allows you to adjust the anchor point, position, scale, rotation, and opacity of a puppet, layer, or layer group in the scene. It is useful when you want to assemble multiple puppets in a scene or move a puppet across it.

If a Transform tag is applied to a handle, this behavior moves, scales, or rotates just a specific area of a puppet ‐ for example, to shift or twist a portion of the puppet's mesh. Opacity control is only available for the entire puppet.


  • Anchor Point X and Anchor Point Y control the location of the puppet's center. Rotation, scaling, and skewing occur around this point.
  • Position X and Position Y control the location of the puppet relative to its original rest location.
  • Scale controls the overall size of the puppet, but you can also adjust horizontal and vertical scaling independently with the Scale X and Scale Y parameters.
  • Rotation controls z-axis rotation.
  • Opacity controls the visibility of the puppet.
  • Group Opacity controls how the opacity of layers behaves. By default, Group Opacity is not applied to the layers. You set the opacity for each layer individually, which can cause overlapping layers to appear darker. Check Group Opacity if you want uniform opacity across the puppet.

Transform a specific area of a puppet

If you want to move, scale, or rotate just a specific area of a puppet, for example, to shift or twist a portion of the puppet's mesh, you can use Transform-tagged handles.
If you apply multiple Transform behaviors to different parts of the hierarchy, you can control different Transform-tagged handles independently — each behavior controls only the Transform-tagged handles that are within its group, and not controlled by a closer Transform group. Opacity control is only available for the entire puppet.


Add a Transform tag to a handle at the location on the puppet mesh to control.

Applying a Transform tag to the origin of an independent group is like adding a Transform behavior to the group, except you can't control the group's opacity.


Use the Position, Scale, and Rotation parameters for the Transform behavior to control the Transform-tagged handles. Anchor Point adjustments affect rotation and scale.

2. If required, adjust the Handle Strength parameter to reduce the effect of the settings on the handle, between 0% (no impact) to 100% (full impact of the changes made in step 1).

Triggers: Show different parts of a puppet by pressing keys

Character Animator uses a triggering system that replaces the older Keyboard Trigggers behavior with a more capable system based on the new Triggers behavior. For detailed information about Trigger behavior and Trigger Panel, see Trigger behavior and Trigger Panel.

Beta 6 and earlier projects and puppet files that use the obsolete Keyboard Triggers behavior will continue to work, but if you would like to use the new system with older puppets and projects please see See Converting Obsolete Keyboard Triggers to Triggers.


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