Use Characterizer to turn yourself into an animated puppet. Easily create a custom puppet based on your facial expressions, then styled using artwork of your choice.

Characterizer, powered by Adobe Sensei, generates a stylized Character Animator puppet in seconds. Webcam-captured image of the user and any piece of reference art is used to generate puppets. Characterizer ships with 25 built-in Styles for you to try. Additionally, you can create your own style from any piece of reference art.

See this video to know more about using Characterizer to create a puppet.

Capture the character

To open Characterizer, do one of the following:

  • In the Start workspace, click Open Characterizer. The Captures window opens.
  • Click File >Open Characterizer.
Characterizer on the Start workspace
Characterizer on the Start workspace

There are three different ways in which you can create your capture: automatically, manually, or using a still image.

Capture your face automatically

To create a capture automatically using your webcam, click Create New Capture.  You are asked to make some facial expressions and repeat specific words to create visemes.

  • To change the camera, open the Camera flyout menu and choose your preferred camera.
  • Use the Mirror Camera Input option in the Camera & Microphone panel menu to control if the camera image should be flipped horizontally before being used.

Visemes are visual representations of your mouth as you make different sounds. Repeat specific words loudly and clearly to generate visemes.

For more information about visemes, see Lip Sync: Control a puppet’s mouth with your voice.

Capture facial expressions
Capture facial expressions
Capture visemes
Capture visemes

Capture facial expressions manually

Create a capture by making facial expressions and visemes manually. 

To capture manually, do the following:

  • In the New Capture window, open the More Options drop-down under Create New Capture option. Select Manual Capture.
  • To change the camera, open the Camera flyout menu and choose your preferred camera

You will be guided through a series of expression captures. The recordings are later rendered to create the puppet.

Create a capture using an image

You can create a capture using a still image.

To turn a still image into a capture, do the following:

  • In the New Capture window, open the More Options drop-down under Create New Capture option. Select Select an Image.
  • Select the image and open it on Character Animator. 

Note: Puppets generated by importing an image has limited capabilities because visemse are not created from still images. But the puppet eyes will move and you can consider applying other Behaviors to the puppet. For example, use the Nutcracker Jaw to animate the mouth. For more information, see Control puppets using behaviors.

Tips for capturing a character

When capturing a face in Characterizer, keep the following in mind for best results:

Equipment and environment

  • Make sure your camera is selected in the Camera control (on the first capture screen).
  • Ensure that your face is well and evenly lit.
  • If the camera has manual focus, adjust it for the sharpest results.
  • Use an uncluttered background behind you.
  • Verify that your microphone can detect your voice by checking the green meter level (on the first capture screen). You can try recording audio in a Character Animator scene to confirm it can be captured and plays back clearly.
  • Avoid background noise, especially other people talking nearby.
  • Turn on your speakers so you can hear the instructions.

Face tracking and voice capture

  • Keep your face centered within the on-screen oval.
  • Look at the camera lens during the capture process.
  • If you wear glasses, adjust room lighting or camera angle to reduce glare. Or, try without glasses.
  • When asked to say the four words ("Adobe", "Photoshop", "Lightroom", "Woohoo!"), repeat them as closely as they are pronounced. Your facial expressions, especially how your mouth looks, are being captured as you say these words.

Keyboard shortcuts

For the list of keyboard shortcuts associated with Characterizer, see Charactertizer (Edit Style screen).

Style

Select the style to be applied to your character from the available set of styles or create your own style. Apply a style in order to adjust settings and generate a puppet. You can edit styles and control the style settings.

Set of available styles
Set of available styles

Edit styles

To edit a style, follow these steps:

  1. Hover over the Style to see the  (pencil) icon. Click on the icon to open the Edit Points window. 

  2. Edit the points by dragging them to line up with the image. When done, click Next.

  3. The Edit Regions windown opens. Paint over the appropriate areas to isolate each individual part.

  4. Click Done to save changes.

Style settings

Stylization

Use the slider to control how much detail from the style to apply to the person's appearance. Lower values use more of the facial capture, higher values use more of the art.

Feature Exaggeration

Use the slider to adjust the caricaturization of facial features before applying the style.

Cycles

Set the number of randomly styled frames for each facial expression, to produce a boiling animation look.

Resolution

Set the image resolution when applying the style.

Quality

Use the drop-down to select the quality. This parameter prioritizes increased detail in the results and also impacts the speed of processing.

Head only

Only include a stylized version of the head, not the body and the background.

Head Turns

Enable the check box to create side views. Head turn can be applied only to generated puppets.

Create a style

To convert any image into a style, select Create New Style.

  1. Select an image (preferably one that is a close-up shot of a face), and open it in Character Animator.

    TIP: Choose an image that clearly defines the face. This way, Character Animator can automatically detect the facial features and defines the face for you.

  2. The image opens in Character Animator with dotted lines defining endpoints of facial features. Drag the dots to line up with the image if necessary. When finished, click Next.

    In the Edit Style’s Edit Points screen, the facial feature with the most selected points determines which example image is shown.

    Define end points
    Define end points
  3. Define each individual part of your face by painting over the appropriate areas. You can adjust the brush size using the slider. When finished, click Done. Once a new style is created, it will appear in the Styles list as the first style.

    Edit regions
    Edit regions
  4. Apply the new style to the puppet.

Generate the puppet

Once you have adjusted the settings and have your character ready, to generate a puppet, click Generate Puppet on the upper-right corner. Your Puppet is generated and automatically opens in the Record workspace.

To further rig the puppet, open it in the Rig Workspace. You can also edit the puppet on Photoshop.

  • To open the puppet on Photoshop, open Edit >Edit Original.

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