This document describes the basics for streaming scenes with Character Animator.

For tips, tricks and workarounds related to streaming, see Tips and tricks for streaming.

Stream Workspace

The Stream workspace is used to stream a scene live to an external device or application.

The Stream workspace displays a limited set of controls for focused live streaming. Transport controls (Play, Stop, Go to Start, and Go to Next Frame) are not visible in the Scene panel. The Timeline panel is stacked to the left of the application.

To access the workspace, do either of the following:

  • Click the Stream button in the workspaces bar.
  • Press Shift + Alt (Win) or Option + 4 (Mac).
Stream workspace
Stream workspace

Stream a scene live to other devices or applications

Character Animator supports the following major workflows:
● Output the content of your scene to the full screen of a TV or second monitor using Mercury Transmit.
● Output a character, optionally with a transparent background for later compositing over a live video or another background. Output to professional SDI video using a device that has a Mercury Transmit plug-in. Output to live web services using a software switcher like Open Broadcaster Software or Telestream Wirecast. Syphon or NDI plug-in from NewTek can also be used.
● Multi‐character live broadcast workflow using multiple machines, one for each character is also supported. It is preferable to use a dedicated machine for the software switcher. NDI is used to connect the video signal. As of Character Animator version 1.1, audio is not sent over NDI. Audio is routed separately. A fast network is highly recommended for this setup.

For diagrams showing typical one, two, and three machine setups, see Machine setups.

Working with Mercury Transmit

Character Animator uses Mercury Transmit to send live feed to other video devices and applications. Mercury Transmit can send the contents of your scene to an external device, third‐party plug-in, and other applications.
The transfer to external monitors is done using plug‐ins provided by video device manufacturers such as AJA, Blackmagic Design, Bluefish444, and Matrox. You can use any of the following external monitors:

● A video monitor connected through third‐party video hardware such as AJA, Blackmagic Design, or Matrox I/O devices.
● A computer monitor connected to your video display card via connectors, such as HDMI, DVI, VGA, and DisplayPort.
● A NewTek NDI‐compatible application on an Ethernet‐based LAN.

IP‐based technology providers, such as NewTek with NDI technology, also provide plug‐ins for transfer. Thes plug-ins direct the video frames from Mercury Transmit to other applications.

הערה:

Note: Download the NewTek NDI for Adobe Creative Cloud software to use a NewTek NDI‐compatible application. To download, visit https://www.newtek.com/software/adobe‐creative‐cloud/

Working with Mercury Transmit

Working with Mercury Transmit
Learn how to work with Mercury Transmit to stream your scene.

Working with Syphon

Character Animator uses Syphon to send live feed of a scene in the Scene panel to any Syphon client. Syphon is an open‐source technology for macOS that allows applications to share video frames with one another in real time. No additional configuration in Character Animator is necessary to enable this functionality. A Syphon‐compatible client is required to receive the scene being sent via Syphon.

Open the scene in the Scene panel, enable the Stream Live button, run your Syphon client, and choose Character Animator Scene as its frame source.

Syphon, OBS, and streaming on Twitch

Syphon, OBS, and streaming on Twitch
Syphon, OBS, and streaming on Twitch

Working with alpha channels

You can use an alpha channel (per‐pixel transparency) to composite multiple characters together or to composite a character over live video.

Alpha channel can be passed to a compatible Mercury Transmit device. The alpha channel is automatically recognized sometimes, such as with NewTek NDI. In other cases, such as with AJA devices, you have to configure your video device to support an alpha channel. If Mercury Transmit device does not support an alpha channel, like a secondary display, the background appears black.

הערה:

  • Live Streaming output is set to full‐screen resolution regardless of your Scene panel zoom settings.
  • The video device or application does not receive the background color settings in the Scene panel. It receives an alpha channel.
  • Output the scene’s audio separately. The Live Stream output can introduce minor video delay. If audio and video are streamed together, add delay to the audio to sync them in time. The delay is usually around 60 milliseconds. You can do it with an external hardware delay or with a delay within streaming applications, such as Telestream Wirecast or OBS Studio.

Streaming with OBS

Streaming with OBS
Learn how to stream with OBS

Twitch extension to invoke triggers

The Character Trigger extension for Twitch allows your Twitch stream’s viewers to trigger prerecorded animations for your on-screen character. In Character Animator, set up a scene with a puppet of your character that performs various animations, and associate triggers with them. In the extension, associate these triggerable animations with a price (in Twitch bits). Then, as you stream your character live from Character Animator, via your Twitch stream, viewers can interact with your performance by remotely triggering the animations with the Character Trigger extension.

Installing and configuring the extension

To set up the extension, follow these steps:

  1. In your Twitch Dashboard, go to Extensions.

  2. Search for and install the Character Trigger extension. 

  3. In the Settings tab for the extension, copy your Secret Key.

  4. In Character Animator, open Preferences from either the application menu (macOS) or Edit menu (Windows).

  5. Select the Twitch Integration section in the left sidebar of the Preferences dialog box.

    Twitch Integration
    Twitch Integration
  6. Enable the Remote triggering by Twitch extension option, then enter the secret key.

  7. Click Ok.

  8.  Open your Twitch Dashboard > Extensions > My Extensions.

  9. In the Character Trigger Extension section, open Settings by clicking on the  icon. The Settings page opens.

  10. Under the Triggers Tab, click on the Add New Trigger () icon in the bottom-right corner of the page. The Create New Trigger form opens.

    create_trigger_form
  11. Fill in the required fields. Select the Trigger Path from the dropdown menu to the triggerable animation in open Character Animator scene.

    הערה:

    Character Animator has to be open and have trigger(s) created, already, in order for the Tigger Path dropdown menu to auto-populate with available triggerable animations. Click the refresh button to update the menu based on the puppet currently open in Character Animator.

  12. To allow your audience to use the trigger, toggle the Disabled slider to Enabled. If you want to create the trigger, but not allow the audience to use it, you can leave the slider at Disabled. Note that you can make changes to this setting later.

  13. Click Create Trigger.

Now you or your viewers can trigger the animations through the Twitch interface. You can use any existing scene you have created, or create a new scene with an armed puppet that has the triggerable animations that you want to use. You can use single triggers or triggers within swap sets.

הערה:

The extension can only control the triggers available in the currently open scene in Character Animator.

Starting a live stream

To enable live streaming, click the Stream Live button () at the bottom of the Scene panel. Only the current scene displayed in the Scene panel is streamed. Content outside the Scene panel is not rendered and displayed. To view the list of active devices and applications, hover the cursor over the Stream Live button. A tool tip is displayed, which includes the list of active devices and applications.

Live Output preferences

You can select the active devices and applications from Live Output preferences. To set live output preferences, follow these steps:

  1. Select Edit > Preferences (Win) or Character > Preferences (Mac). The Preferences dialog box is displayed.

  2. Click Live Output and choose the streaming output option. Available options and their specifications are listed.

    Live Output preferences
    Live Output preferences

    Following are the Live Output options and their specifications:

    Enable Mercury Transmit (Win) or Enable Mercury Transmit and Syphon (Mac)

    To allow streaming output to external video devices when Character Animator is running in the foreground, select this option.

    Video Device

    Includes the list of video devices which you can use for video output.

    • Adobe Monitor x: The list of attached computer monitors that can receive video feed through the graphics card. To view this option, set the external monitor as separate or extended display.
    • NewTek NDI output: Select this option to use NDI‐enabled devices on the LAN.
    • Third‐party video hardware: Shows the list of third‐party hardware that you have connected.

    To view the options available for each hardware, click Setup.

    Disable Mercury Transmit output when application is in the background

    To prevent streaming output to external video devices when Character Animator is not running in the foreground, select this option. 

Machine setups

Live stream one puppet using single computer

One puppet live stream
One puppet live stream

הערה:

  • A USB microphone qualifies as both a microphone and an interface. Character Animator and OBS/Wirecast can address the microphone simultaneously. Check with your audio device manufacturer if you cannot use your device with both applications simultaneously.
  • Make sure to adjust your microphone audio delay within the NDI/Syphon software compositer for the lip sync to match the character’s audio.

Live stream two puppets using two computers

Two puppet live stream (two Computers)
Two puppet live stream (two Computers)

הערה:

  • In this scenario, the same audio is required to come into both the computers. The diagram shows the use of an audio mixer which splits a microphone signal. The split lets the source machine to control the lip sync and the destination machine to output the broadcast audio.
  • Character Animator does not support audio over NDI, but applications like NewTek NDI Studio Monitor (Windows) and NDI Scan Converter (Mac) does.
  • Adjust your microphone audio delay within the NDI/Syphon software compositer so that the lip sync matches the character’s audio.

Live stream two puppets using three computers

Two Puppet Live Stream (three Computers)
Two Puppet Live Stream (three Computers)

הערה:

  • This setup is similar to the two computer setup, but it dedicates a separate machine for the software compositing and live broadcast of the NDI scenes.
  • A separate audio interface is not required if you can send audio over NDI (Studio Monitor or Scan Converter) on the Character Animator machines.

Multi-puppet live stream

Multi-puppet live stream

Character Animator tutorials

Technical assistance

Need help with your live stream? Contact us through the Adobe Character Animator forum.

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