Select the takes to reuse.
- To remove them from the puppet, choose Edit > Cut (Command/Ctrl+X).
- To retain the original takes and duplicate them, choose Edit > Copy (Command/Ctrl+C).
Learn everything you need to know about refining a recorded performance of your puppets including the functionalities of the timeline work area.
You can change the timing and order of puppets, recorded takes, and audio to fine-tune your work. Puppets and audio appear as track items (larger bars), and recorded takes appear as shorter bars under puppet track items. You can also zoom in or out in time for easier access to track bars or a temporal overview of the scene.
When zoomed into the duration of a frame of time in the Timeline panel, the horizontal center of the frame is denoted with a dashed line to indicate the exact time that the track item or take is being sampled.
Drag the Zoom Timeline slider or click the Zoom Timeline In, Zoom Timeline Out, or Zoom Timeline to Fit Entire Scene buttons in the lower-right corner of the Timeline panel. The buttons have keyboard shortcuts (–, =, and \).
Use the horizontal scrollbar below the scrollable region of the Timeline panel or swipe horizontally on the trackpad.
Use the vertical scrollbar or swipe vertically on the trackpad.
Selected track items appear solid blue in the Timeline panel. When a take or projection bar for a puppet is selected (either directly selected or after recording takes), the bar becomes solid blue. The puppet track gets outlined in blue to indicate that something in the puppet’s hierarchy is selected. This hierarchical selection also allows the puppet’s behavior parameters to be visible in the Properties panel and modified immediately after adjusting takes.
Shorten a puppet or an audio track item or take by splitting it at the playhead (current time). This operation essentially duplicates the selection, and trims the original and the new bars.
To split track items or takes:
Create a copy of a track item or takes to use later.
To duplicate track item or takes:
Extending a take bar from either end holds the take's recorded values before the original In point and after the original Out point of the take.
If you split a take, extending from the split point just reveals the trimmed part.
Hold down the Command/Ctrl key while dragging a track item or take bar.
Shift the selected tracks, takes, trigger/viseme bars, or keyframes in time to align to the playhead, by using the Timeline > Move Selection In to Playhead ([) or Timeline > Move Selection Out to Playhead (]) commands.
To reorder a track, for example, to change the rendering order of puppet, select the track, then choose Timeline > Arrange > Move Up or Move Down, or press Command+Up/Down Arrow or Ctrl+Up/Down Arrow.
To rearrange selected tracks or takes to the top or bottom of the stack, choose Timeline > Arrange > Move to Top or Move to Bottom menu commands.
Select a track item, then choose Edit > Delete or press Delete or Backspace. Deleting an audio track item does not remove its track.
Move selected takes for the same parameter up or down via Timeline > Move Up or Move Down commands. The commands can still be used for selected tracks.
Combine multiple selected Lip Sync or Triggers takes into a single take bar of viseme or trigger bars to consolidate separate lip sync or triggered recordings so that they don’t occupy as much vertical space in your timeline. To merge, choose Timeline > Merge Takes menu command.
To arrange selected takes for a parameter sequentially in the timeline, choose the Timeline > Sequence Takes menu command. In the Sequence Takes dialog box, do one of the following:
Collapsing all takes or keyframes for a track allows you to see more of your timeline’s tracks and rows of takes and keyframes at one time, reducing the need to scroll vertically. Command-click (macOS) / Ctrl-click (Windows) a disclosure triangle for a behavior’s parameter in the timeline to expand or collapse all takes or all keyframes on that track.
Quickly hide or show individual rows in the timeline by selecting the Shy button for them and then toggling the Hide Shy button next to the search filter text field. Command-click (macOS) / Ctrl-click (Windows) a Shy button to change the shy state for all rows.
Select the take bar and press Delete or choose Edit > Delete.
You can blend performances at the beginning and the end of a take to smoothly transition between a puppet’s default appearance and its recorded performances. You can also customize blend durations or quickly set a default duration.
1. Expand the puppet and projection bar that contains a blendable take.
You can blend the following takes:
2. Do one of the following:
When you trim a take, in (left side) and out (right side) blend durations do not change unless the take bar duration becomes shorter than the blend durations.
The Timeline > Blend Take commands set a default duration for the incoming and outgoing blends, but don’t set the ease to a specific type of curve. The default is Ease In & Out.
To set the blend easing curve:
1. Right-click above the incoming blend and then choose Blend In Curve, above the outgoing blend and then choose Blend Out Curve, or in the middle of the take bar and then choose Blend.
2. Choose an easing type from the submenu: No Easing (linear curve), Ease In (ease into the blend), Ease Out (ease out from the blend), or Ease In & Out (ease both ends of the blend).
Do one of the following:
To show or hide the puppet’s recordings, click the disclosure triangle next to a puppet’s name in the track header in the Timeline panel. Each recorded behavior parameter appears as a separate projection bar that summarizes the takes within it. If you don’t see any projection bars under a puppet’s track item, check that you armed at least one behavior parameter for recording and that the track was selected/armed before recording.
You can modify all takes for a parameter from its projection bar, or make finer adjustments to specific takes by clicking the disclosure triangle for the projection bar.
If more than one take was recorded for a parameter, the topmost take bar at any given time is used, and any information from take bars below it is ignored (and shown without color as if in a shadow). Transition points between takes for a parameter are indicated by a vertical line on the parameter’s projection bar.
To start at the beginning of the scene
Click the Go to Start button or press Home.
When collapsed into a single lane, you can click different parts to select the individual take bars. When selected, information about the take is displayed on its bar, blend curves are visible, and blend handles are adjustable.
Take groups enable multiple performances for a specific handle compose together, without affecting performances for other handles you drag. The Dragger behavior records each Draggable handle that you move as a separate take group. By grouping Dragger takes by dragged handles, you don’t have to use multiple Dragger behaviors to capture multiple dragged handles. The Timeline panel shows each Dragger takes grouped by handle name as “Handle (handle-name)”.
A scene’s timeline has a work area that you can enable to isolate operations to a range of frames in a scene. You can enable the work area when needed, and disable it when not needed.
To enable or disable the work area, follow these steps:
When enabled, the work area is a lighter-gray bar and its range of time is highlighted in the track area. When disabled, the work area bar is a subtle darker-gray color.
To change the start or end time for the work area, do either of the following:
• Set Work Area Start to Playhead places the start of the work area at the beginning (left side) of the frame the playhead is in, if the playhead isn’t aligned to a frame boundary.
• Set Work Area End to Playhead places the end of the work area at the end (right side) of the frame the playhead is in, if the playhead isn’t aligned to a frame boundary.
• Place the playhead at the specific frame in time and then choose Set Work Area Start to Playhead (Option/Alt+I) or Set Work Area End to Playhead (Option/Alt+O) from either the Timeline menu or the context menu for the work area bar.
Note: You cannot set the start time after the end of the work area, or vice versa.
To set the work area to match the selected tracks or take bars:
Choose Set Work Area to Selection (Option/Alt+/) from either the Timeline menu or the context menu above the work area bar. The work area will span the earliest and latest times in the selection.
To shift the work area in time, do the following:
Drag the middle of the work area bar horizontally. Dragging the edges or middle of the work area bar will snap the start or end of the work area bar to the edges of puppet track bars, take bars, and markers. Similarly, dragging the edges of puppet track bars or take bars or markers, will snap them to the start or end of the work area bar.
Set Work Area Selection
Places the start and end of the work area at the nearest frame boundaries that enclose the selection.
Go to Work Area End
Places the playhead at the beginning of the last frame in the work area, instead of at the end of the last frame.
Trim Out to Playhead
Trims the track or take to the end of the frame the playhead is in. That way, the content of the track or take is still visible at the playhead.
Also, playback will start at the frame the playhead is in. So, if the playhead is at the right edge of the work area, playback won’t loop around to the start of the work area.
To jump to the start or end of the work area, do the following:
When the work area is enabled, you can perform the following edits:
The Clear, Ripple Delete, and Insert Time commands are also available in the context menu above the work area bar.
When the work area is enabled, playback of the scene will automatically loop within the work area. Playback starts at the current time , and will loop when the playhead reaches the end of the work area. If the playhead is after the work area, playback will not loop.
When the work area is enabled, the Timeline > Record Take for Work Area command (Command/Ctrl+3) creates a new take. The new take covers the duration of the work area for the armed behavior parameters.
When the work area is enabled, the scene export commands (File > Export > Video via Adobe Media Encoder and File > Export > PNG Sequence and WAV) only use the segment of time within the work area.
Note: Scenes with puppets that use Physics simulations (Dangle, Collide, Particles) will still require frames before the start of the work area to be rendered (that is, a run-up) to export the intended results for the frames in the work area.
When the work area is disabled, those commands export the full duration of the scene.
Note: The work area is ignored when dragging a scene into After Effects or Premiere Pro. The scene’s duration is used in these Dynamic Link workflows
When the work area is enabled, you can trim the scene to just the segment of time within the work area by choosing Timeline > Trim Scene to Work Area or the same command in the context menu above the work area bar.
Zooming and scrolling in the Timeline panel is now also possible via two-finger gestures on a trackpad or touchscreen.
To zoom time via gestures, do any of the following:
To scroll across time or tracks via gestures, do either of the following:
Moving a track, take, trigger, or viseme bar, or a marker automatically snaps its left edge to frame boundaries and to the left or right edges of other tracks, takes, markers, and work area. Trimming a track, take, trigger, or viseme bar does similar for the dragged edge of the bar, snapping to frame boundaries and the left or right edges of other tracks, takes, markers, and work area.
To position these bars or markers off of a frame boundary, do the following:
Note: Pressing the Up/Down Arrow keys for a selected trigger or viseme bar still offsets the bar in time by the duration of a frame.
All types of takes can be cut, copied, and pasted between puppets and projects. To reuse takes, follow these steps:
Select the takes to reuse.
Select a different puppet track item in the Timeline, in either the current or another project. Reposition the playhead to where you want the take to start and choose Edit > Paste (Command/Ctrl+V).
The selected take is pasted relative to the playhead . Any behavior associated with the copied takes are applied to the target puppet if it doesn’t have those behaviors. If the puppet has multiple behaviors (for the take), each of them gets a copy of the take. You can also copy multiple takes. They are pasted in the order they were selected.
For more information about taking Character Animator visemes into After Effects for use on different characters, see Lip Sync: Take export for After Effects.
Instead of copying the entire Audio Input take of visemes or Trigger take of triggers, you can selectively cut, copy, and paste viseme and trigger bars to reuse just the recordings you need.
Visemes and triggers can be pasted on a different puppet track. However, to reuse triggers, be sure the target puppet has equivalent triggers in the Triggers panel for those being pasted. Copying a puppet’s triggers from the Triggers panel and pasting them into the target puppet’s Triggers panel ensures this compatibility.
To reuse viseme or trigger bars, follow these steps:
Select the specific viseme or trigger bars from a single take.
Selecting viseme or trigger bars from multiple takes will use the takes themselves, not the individual bars selected.
Choose Edit > Cut or Edit > Copy.
Move the playhead to a different time. Or, if you want to paste the bars onto a different puppet, select the puppet track’s Lip Sync > Audio Input or Triggers take bar .
Choose Edit > Paste.
The selected viseme or take bars are either moved or copied relative to the playhead’s time.
The selected viseme or take bars are either moved or copied relative to the playhead’s time.
By default, multiple recordings for a parameter creates take bars on separate rows in the Timeline panel, but you can collapse them into a single lane to reduce vertical scrolling and still have access to them individually.
Click the twirl arrow to collapse or expand a parameter’s takes. The twirl arrow only appears if a parameter has multiple takes.
Tracks (puppets, audio, scenes) in a scene’s timeline are named after their source item in the Project panel. You can give tracks custom names to help identify the purpose or use of a track. Custom track names aren’t affected by changes you might make to the source item’s name.
To rename a track, do either of the following:
Markers let you mark up specific changes (for example, when a character is looking to the left) in a scene’s timeline. Stop markers allow playback to stop when they are reached. You can switch between a regular informational marker and a stop marker at any time.
To create a marker, move the playhead to the intended time, then do either of the following:
Note: You can switch a regular marker to a stop marker, or conversely. To switch, right-click the marker, and enable or disable the Stop Playback at Marker option.
Markers in a Character Animator scene appear in other applications using Dynamic Link. For example, when you drag a scene from Character Animator’s Project panel into After Effects’s Project panel, those scene’s markers appear as composition markers in After Effects.
Tip: If you make changes to the scene’s markers in Character Animator, refresh the markers in After Effects by right-clicking above a composition marker and then choosing Update Markers From Source.
The audio track shows the waveform of the audio file helping you adjust the timing of puppets, takes, and visemes to the audio. Audio tracks appear twice as tall as other tracks by default, and can be resized as needed by dragging the bottom edge of the track header vertically.
When you record a scene, each audio track in a scene’s timeline has its own Volume setting (specified in decibels, dB) to control that track’s volume level independently. Use the slider to adjust the values.
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