Hi everyone! I've been trying to teach myself how to use Character Animator for a work project and the tutorials have been very helpful. I've been able to mostly get a handle on creating, and getting my puppet to do what I want it to do, he's walking, blinking, and looking around. But the one thing that I have not been able to figure out, is how to fix my puppet's feet. I've tried over and over again doing the things the tutorials recommend, and trying things that have been recommended to other users who had the same problem. Nothing seems to help! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Could you include some details on what is happening for the feet and what you want to have happen? Do you want to drag them, have them stay still, use the walk behavior etc?
I want my character to be able to walk, but I also don't want him kind of floating in the space when my head moves around on the webcam, and that's what's happening now. He walks fine, but once the walking is over his body floats a bit and moves along with my head.
Oh, sorry, still groggy from waking up - by “fix” the feet you probably mean “have them not move”, not repair an untamed problem! Sorry about that!
I noticed your legs are independent. I notice you have waist and him handles. Does that mean you want to use the walk behavior? If so, do you have that working? The walk behavior effectively “fixes” things when you start walking. That will not work well if you also use “fixed” pins - so that is data point number one to resolve.
If you don’t want the walk behavior (I personally decided not to use it as it did not suit the way I wanted to animate things), then is there a reason you need the legs independent? It gets interesting as pins of a sub layer are documented to fix the object to the parent layer. Pins on the root group pin it to the background. So with independent legs putting pins on the legs is not enough to fix the feet - you need (I think) to do something to the body or root element (“SpinWizard”) to lock it down. Or, you need to put a fixed pin on the body, plus attach The legs to the body so the legs don’t move because the body does not move.
Or you put draggers on the feet - as soon as you drag a foot (or hand) that will lock the position relative to the scene. So you can record a dragger for a whole scene without moving (just do a minor movement with the Mose at the start and let go) and that will effectively pin down the handle for that scene (but not pin it down for other scenes) - gives you a bit more control, but you have to do the dragger.
I ended up cheating. I always pin down the feet and don’t make them indpendent, but do a head and shoulders shot (zoom in) when walking so you cannot see the legs/feet do not actually move. (See http://extra-ordinary.tv/ for an example.) This is not because the walk behavior does not work, I just could not get it to ”look good/consistent” with what I wanted.
In your case, the answer may be as simple as making the legs not independent. The cloak however may mean the legs wont move as you want as the body moves. To overcome this, you can make a skinny skeleton for the character to connect the body parts (arms, legs, a blob for the body) together, then add the cloak as a separate independent layer on top, and the arm on top of that. Put some dangles on the cloak so it gets a bit of movement. Then you can use the walk behavior or draggers (or nothing) to move the skeleton behind the clothes with everything all connected. If you scroll to the very end of Debugging Adobe Character Animator Eyes – Extra Ordinary, the Series there is a short video snippet where I did this for the skirt - if you look closely you can see the skirt sway independent to the legs. It resulted in more natural body movements not restricted by clothes.
Sorry, we must have been typing at the same time. So I don’t have a lot of experience with the walk behavior since I don’t use it. But its consistent with what I understand. Walk doing a walk behavior, Ch is effectively taking over draggers for the various points specially tagged - feet, knees, waist, neck, head, etc. It will bob them up and down, back and forward, etc. But when the walk behavior is not being used, its like no draggers are being used.
I think you have two choices. You find a part of the body you can pin down without the walk behavior looking strange. E.g. maybe in the middle of the chest. But it can be hard to find a point that does not look bad due to distortions. The other choice is to add a dragger to the body (e.g. use the waist) and record a drag (that does not move) all the time you don’t have a walk behavior take.
There may be a better way - sorry, not sure what it is because I don’t use the walk behavior. But hopefully understanding that the walk behavior is like machine generated drags will help you think through The best puppet structure. If you pin, the computer controlled drags are impacted too - draggers is all I can think of where you can turn them on/off at will.
Oh, and if you want to get creative, there is a “motion trigger” that I have never explored. I wonder if it could do something funky like flip between two layers, one with a fixed pin and one without... But not sure if “walk” is considered “movement“ or not.
Wow, thanks for all the responses. I've been basically trying to teach myself Character Animator over the weekend, I never even looked at the program until Friday, so it's all a bit overwhelming.
I've managed to record something decent in spite of the "floating" issue, so I think I may just deal with it for the moment until I have time to try and rebuild my puppet and try out some of your suggestions.
Time is of the essence right now which is why I've opted to use the automatic walk behavior. It has taken a lot of finagling and going back and forth and tweaking things, but I've mostly managed to get it working in an acceptable way. This is a very cool program and I wish I'd had a bit more time to get to learn it properly rather than this baptism by fire. 🙂