When the layers in a Photoshop or Illustrator file are structured and named in a specific way, tags are auto-assigned to the layers for the character features they represent (chest, head, eyes, mouth, and so on). Behavior is automatically rigged when a puppet is created from the artwork. The external inputs, such as face tracking, body tracking, audio analysis, mouse clicks, and keypresses, in Character Animator can then control the puppet. External inputs give added expression to two-dimensional artwork.
The following section describes the necessary structure and naming of elements in a Photoshop or Illustrator file for automatic rigging to work. If you prefer, you can use the Puppet panel to assemble a puppet from individual layers and identify how layers are controlled using the Behavior tools. You can start by auto-rigging in Photoshop or Illustrator and then make more changes and refine movements in Character Animator. Use both the methods as appropriate for your workflows.
This document covers the basic layer structure and naming guidelines. Setup instructions for use with a specific behavior are described in the behavior-specific subsections in Behaviors in Character Animator.
Behaviors can control specific features of a character's body. To enable specific control, name the feature's layers in Photoshop or Illustrator using the following group/layer structure/naming, or use the tags with the following names:
In Photoshop, Head and Mouth are groups . All others can be groups or layers. In Illustrator, Head and Mouth must be layers or sublayers. For example, Head and Mouth contains several nested layers and sublayers. All others can be layers, sublayers, groups, or paths. Additional layers/sublayers and groups can exist in a file.
When a PSD or AI artwork file is imported, it creates a puppet in the Project panel. The structure in the artwork file determines the initial structure of the puppet. Groups in a Photoshop document and layers, sublayers, and groups in an Illustrator document all create groups, which are puppets themselves instanced in another puppet. The contents of these groups are usually groups, individual pieces with their sibling groups and are part of the warpable mesh inside their parent puppet. However, you can allow a group to warp independently so its parent puppet does not affect its wrapping. You can also specify a custom point for a group to attach to its parent.
In an Illustrator document, a layer or group that contains only unnamed sublayers, groups, and paths are coalesced into a single group. Adjacent unnamed groups and paths also get combined into a single unnamed group. To ensure that a group is created, give it a name.
Note: Making a nongroup layer shareable, then adding that sharable puppet into a puppet, adds it as a group referencing that shared puppet.
You can restrict single points in the warpable mesh with Fixed handles created using the Pin tool, or nonbendable segments with sticks using the 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.
Handle tags gets applied to the origin of the layer. For more information, see Layer handles.
By default, a group attaches to the Origin in its group; this origin does not have to overlap the subgroup. Transformations of the subgroup are relative to this location. If no Origin-named handle exists, the center of the group's bounding box is used as the origin.
For more information, see Auto attachment of independent groups.
Handles are locations on a puppet for specifying where a subgroup attaches to its group. Handles also specify behavior-specific use. For example, specifying the distance traveled for eye blinking, restricting movement of the group around it, applying dynamics to move a set of points, and so on.
For more information on restricting movement, see Handle Fixer: Restrict movement in a bendable skin.