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Behaviors: body (auto-animating)

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.


Motion Library: Full-body character animations library

The Character Animator Motion Library is a collection of more than 350 full-body character animations recorded by expert motion actors. A straightforward option may apply dance moves from ballet to hip hop. Sports movements from basketball to bowling are easy. Also, various walking, running, and jumping actions are accessible. Moves that were a challenge to animate are now accessible to anyone.

Setup

  1. Open the puppet in the Rig workspace.
  2. In the Properties panel, under the puppet track behavior, select Motion Library behavior.
  3. Select Motion Library to choose to form various puppet movements such as Idle, Walk, Run, Dance, Fight, Jump, Sports, and Gesture.
  4. Choose from a range of presets under each Motion.

Controls

  • Motion is used to animate your puppet with any of over 350 motions. There are eight motion categories. Select a category and then select the < > buttons to audition motions.
  • Speed control changes the motion’s playback speed across the whole motion. The speed value is recorded into any take generated by “Record One Motion”. The default value is 100% (no speed change). The minimum value is 10% (ten times slower). The maximum value is 1,000% (ten times faster). 
Obs!

You cannot animate the Speed parameter. To change the speed during animations, use the Manual Playback control in the Advanced section.

  • Orientation helps change the angle of view for the 3D motion capture data as it’s applied to your 2D artwork. For example, a front-facing puppet might want a 90º offset compared to the default left-to-right walk. If the applied motion doesn’t look right (e.g., a head or wrist has too much rotation), tweaking this parameter might help improve your results.  
  • Mirror flips the motion data horizontally.
  • Record One Motion button creates a take in the timeline for one cycle of the selected motion while capturing basic motion parameters. The new take will have the name of the recorded motion. View the tooltip to see any additional parameters captured during the recording. Extend or trim the motion in the timeline to change the duration. Create multiple overlapping takes with new motions and blend them.
  • Reset Position button resets the puppet’s location to its original starting point. This is helpful if the puppet has danced out of the scene.
  • Root position specifies how your puppet’s overall position behaves during the animation cycle. “Reset at loop” resets your puppet to its initial position. “Continuous” loops the local motion with your puppet’s global position continuing where it left off. This is useful for continuous animation cycles such as walking (or dancing) off the screen. “Treadmill” leaves the puppet in place and performs the animation cycle as if walking on a treadmill. 
  • Strength controls the influence of the Motion Library behavior on the tagged handles. This is another quick way to customize the preset animations to your preference. For example, lowering this Strength parameter can make the “Jumping Jacks” animation raise arms less.

Advanced controls

  • Manual playback is used to manually control the playback of all the motions in your timeline. The Playback Dial value cycles through the entire animation for each 360. For example, you can keyframe the Manual Playback dial to have cycle ease in and out of an animation. 
  • Adjust Orientation is used to further edit the 3D viewing angle. This is especially useful for sharing existing take sequences across different puppets with different facing directions. 
  • Override Mirror control takes over the mirroring option. With this option, you can reuse takes created for left-facing puppets for right-facing puppets and the opposite way. 
  • Tracked handles specify the handles that the captured motion is applied. You can layer your own Dragger or Body Tracker animation on Motion Library by unchecking some handles here. For example, to animate the right arm yourself while keeping other body parts from Motion Library, you can uncheck "Right Wrist," "Right Wrist Rotation," and "Right Elbow."

Auto Blink: Simulate blinking of eyelids or flickering of lights

This behavior automatically triggers a layer, such as eyelids to blink or lights to flicker. The blinking can occur at regular intervals or with some randomness. You can use this behavior to have a character blink randomly, but it can work with the Face and Triggers behaviors if you also want to control blinks with the webcam or keyboard.

Setup

  1. Add the Auto Blink behavior to the puppet or a group within it. (This behavior is not applied to new puppets by default.)
  2. Assign the Left Blink or Right Blink layer tag to the layer to blink automatically.

Controls

(* = visible only when the puppet or group that this behavior is applied to is selected in the Project or Puppet panel.)

  • Blinks per Minute controls the frequency that the layer appears.
  • Blink Duration controls the number of milliseconds (1/1000ths of a second) to show the layer before disappearing.
  • Randomness controls the regularity of the blinking frequency, with 0% blinking at regular intervals and higher percentages varying the rate.
  • * Blink Layers the number and list of layers with the Left Blink or Right Blink layer tags applied.

Breathe: Simulate breathing.

This behavior scales the chest of a character as if it were breathing in and out. For example, try animating the Wendigo puppet in the Start workspace, which shows breathing and head & body turn movements.

This behavior looks for a handle with the Breathe tag on it. Artwork files can use either "Breathe" or the older "Chest" names for guides — the files will import with the Breathe tag.

Setup

To specify the part of a puppet to expand and contract, assign the Breathe tag to a specific handle, or to groups to affect its origin. If imported artwork has a layer with the word "Breathe" in its name, the layer's origin gets the Breathe tag automatically.

Obs!

This behavior isn't applied by default to puppets, so add it first to see its effect on a puppet.

Controls

Breaths per Minute

Controls the rate of breathing (scaling) between minimum and maximum scale amounts.

Max Scale and Min Scale

Control the range of scaling around the Breathe handle. If there aren't handles near the Breathe handle, you might must reduce this range (for example, from 95% to 110%).

Offset and Direction

Control the distance and angle that the Breathe handle slides along as it's scaling. You can even use these parameters to make a character's shoulders shrug.

Wiggler: Make vector artwork wiggle

This behavior, when applied to Illustrator artwork, wiggles the artwork's paths automatically to give a little life to the puppet. It does not affect Photoshop artwork, or Illustrator artwork whose skin has the "Render As Vector" option disabled.

Obs!

This behavior isn't applied by default to puppets, so add it first to see its effect on a puppet. However, for complex Illustrator documents with numerous paths, performance can be slow with Wiggler applied.

Controls

  • Wiggliness controls the exaggeration of the wiggle.
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