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Character Animator (April 2019) – Detailed Changes

Adobe Employee ,
Mar 18, 2019 Mar 18, 2019

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New and changed features

Projects and the Project panel

  • Attempting to open the same project from separate instances of Character Animator should now be detected properly, instead of showing the "Open Anyway" prompt. This prompt is still shown when opening from known sync folders, such as Creative Cloud Files or Dropbox.


  • Clicking the Refresh Scene button no longer resets the playhead to the start of the scene.
  • (Windows) Added Ctrl+mouse wheel (in addition to the existing Alt+mouse wheel) to zoom in the Scene panel.
  • Added two-finger pinch-to-zoom gesture on a trackpad to zoom in the Scene panel.

Puppets and the Puppet panel

  • Warp independence, behaviors, and handles can be applied to any layer of a puppet (not just groups)
  • Search filter for layers in a puppet
  • Tagging improvements (updated visual tags layout, quicker tagging and untagging, quicker switching between left and right tags)
  • Cut/Copy/Paste handles
  • Back button to navigate out of a group in the Puppet panel
  • Double-clicking a .puppet file in Finder (macOS)/Explorer (Windows) now imports the puppet and adds it to a new scene so you can view and interact with it easily. This allows you to distribute a puppet file to someone who doesn't know how to use Character Animator, and they can just double-click the file to be off and running controlling the puppet.
  • The example puppets on the Start workspace now show their descriptions when you hover over them. New example puppets named Thorne and Ninja have been added. Also, featured puppets available from our community are accessible via the last entry in the list.
  • The Chloe template puppets now include a Jaw handle so that the Lip Sync behavior can warp the chin as visemes are displayed.
  • (Windows) Added Ctrl+mouse wheel (in addition to the existing Alt+mouse wheel) to zoom in the Puppet panel.
  • Added two-finger pinch-to-zoom gesture on a trackpad to zoom in the Puppet panel.
  • Added a Reset Origin Position context menu command when right-clicking the origin handle for a group, to move the origin to the center of the group's bounding box. Unlike pressing Delete on a origin, this command retains any applied handle tags.
  • Clicking hidden (eyeball off) layers in the Puppet panel no longer selects them.
  • The "Hide Others in Group" checkbox (previously in the "Keyboard Triggers (obsolete)" section, but now removed unless a puppet is using the obsolete version of the Keyboard Triggers behavior) has been moved to the Layer section of the Properties panel, and renamed as "Hide Others in Group When Triggered".
  • Selecting a single puppet track while in the Record workspace now automatically shows the puppet when you switch to the Puppet panel in the Rig workspace.


  • New styles (Blue Sketch, Skull, Comic Book Hero)
  • In the Edit Style’s Edit Points screen, the facial feature with the most selected points determines which example image to show.
  • Style editing shortcuts:
    Select all pointsCtrl+ACommand+A
    Deselect all pointsCtrl+Shift+ACommand+Shift+A
    Scale the selected pointsCtrl+mouse wheel or vertically swipe on a trackpadCommand+mouse wheel or vertically swipe on a trackpad
    Add points to the current selectionHold Shift while selecting points (via click or marquee-drag)Hold Shift while selecting points (via click or marquee-drag)
    Invert the selection of pointsHold Ctrl while selecting points (via click or marquee-drag)Hold Command while selecting points (via click or marquee-drag)


  • Puppet track behavior menu: When a puppet track is selected, each behavior in the Properties panel now includes a menu button with the following commands:
    • Reveal in Puppet Panel opens the puppet that has this behavior applied in the Puppet panel. When a behavior is applied to a layer of a puppet, that layer is selected in the Puppet panel.
    • Push Behavior Parameter Changes to Source Puppet updates the source puppet to use the same values for this behavior. This command is like the Push Parameter Changes to Source Puppet button (which updates all behaviors) and the Push Value to Source Puppet command in the behavior parameter menu (described in the next section).
  • Behavior parameter menu: When a puppet track is selected, and you hover over a behavior's noninput parameters in the Properties panel, the parameter menu ("...") button appears to the left of the parameter name. Click it to perform various commands:
    • Enable Parameter Recording: Allows a parameter to be recorded, so a take can be created for it during recording. Some parameters cannot be recordable, though.
      When this option is selected, the Arm for Record button is displayed and enabled. You can click the button to disable recording (and instead use a constant value). You don't need to deselect the Enable Parameter Recording option.
      The ability to control access to the Arm for Record button was moved to the option to avoid unnecessarily creating takes for simple value changes that didn't need to be recorded.
    • Create Hold Replay and Trigger: Creates a triggerable replay of a parameter’s current value. The take is not blended.
    • Create Blended Hold Replay and Trigger: Similar to Create Hold Replay and Trigger, but creates a blended take for a smoother transition into and out of the recorded value.
    • Add to Controls Panel: For numeric (slider, angle) parameters, adds the parameter as a control in the Controls panel.
    • Push Value to Source Puppet: For a modified parameter value, updates the source puppet to use this new value. The parameter becomes unchanged (no "x" button) as a result.
    • Reset to Puppet's Setting: Changes the parameter to the default value used in the source puppet.
  • View-specific layer and handle parameters for a behavior can now match against the root group of a puppet (where the behavior is usually applied). This allows a behavior like Arm IK to find arms in a puppet that has multiple heads (for head turns) but only one body group without a view tag.
    Note: The Walk behavior is not affected by this change.
  • Arm IK:Automatic bend direction
  • Cycle Layers: Display sequential layers synchronized to time
  • Dragger: Range (handle proximity) control
  • Lip Sync: Various improvements:
    • Move the jaw based on the current viseme
    • Retrained the engine to work better with noisy audio.
  • Walk: Restored the "Head bang" walk style. (Note: If your puppet's legs are moving too much, try switching them to the Hinge attach style.)


  • Replays that are recorded now reference the replay's name in the takes that appear in the timeline panel.

Controls and the Controls panel

  • Reset a behavior parameter control by choosing Reset to Puppet's Setting from the context menu above the control.

Recording, Playback, and the Timeline panel

  • Use scene audio for audio-controllable behaviors (Lip Sync, Nutcracker Jaw, Layer Picker)
  • Cut/Copy/Paste viseme and trigger bars
  • Rename tracks
  • Zoom time using gestures:
    • With the mouse pointer above a specific time in the Timeline panel, do a pinch-to-zoom gesture on a trackpad.
      Alternatively, hold down Option (macOS) or Alt or Ctrl (Windows) as you spin the mouse wheel or swipe using two fingers vertically on a trackpad.
    • Do a pinch-to-zoom gesture above a specific time in the Timeline panel on a touchscreen.
  • Scroll through time using gestures:
    • With the mouse pointer above the Timeline panel, swipe using two fingers either horizontally or vertically across a trackpad.
      Alternatively, to scroll across time, hold down Shift as you spin the mouse wheel or swipe using two fingers vertically on a trackpad.
    • Swipe using two fingers either horizontally or vertically across the Timeline panel on a touchscreen.
  • Snap to frame boundaries while moving and trimming content; hold down Command (macOS) or Ctrl (Windows) to override
  • Changes to setting, trimming, and looping within the work area:
    • Set Work Area Start to Playhead now 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 now 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.

    • Set Work Area Selection now places the start and end of the work area at the nearest frame boundaries that enclose the selection.

    • Go to Work Area End now 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 now 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.

  • Playback now starts 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.
  • Reveal any timeline track's source (puppet, scene, or audio) in the Project panel by right-clicking above the track's header and choosing Reveal in Project Panel. Previously, this was only available for puppet tracks (as Reveal Puppet in Project Panel).
  • The popup menu when editing a Lip Sync take's visemes in the Timeline panel has also been updated to match the order of visemes in the Tags section of the Properties panel.
  • With a single Lip Sync take selected, you can now simply choose Edit > Copy (Command/Ctrl+C) to copy the lip sync data for use in After Effects. The menu command still allows you copy the take for use in Character Animator.
  • Selecting a single puppet track while in the Record workspace now automatically shows the puppet when you switch to the Puppet panel in the Rig workspace.
  • The work area bar is now in its own row in the Timeline panel, to avoid accidentally clicking the work area bar when you want to move the playhead, or vice versa.
  • Tooltips appear above track and take bars when the names on them would be truncated due to space.
  • (Windows) Added Ctrl+mouse wheel as another way (in addition to the existing Alt+mouse wheel) to zoom in the Timeline panel.


  • Twitch extension that lets a stream's viewers invoke triggers
  • Added a Mirror Camera Input option (in the Camera & Microphone panel menu) to control if the camera image should be flipped horizontally before being used for the Face behavior or in Characterizer. The option is checked by default.
  • Renamed the Boost Quiet Audio option (in the Camera & Microphone panel's menu) to Auto-enhance Audio Input.
  • (macOS) Now supports Dark Mode in macOS Mojave (10.14).

Fixed issues

Projects and the Project panel

  • Saving a project (Save As) no longer collects takes which were previously deleted from the project.
  • Prevent rare scenario of corrupted Auto bookmarks from not allowing the project to opened (showing a libgit2 error).

Puppets and the Puppet panel

  • All groups added to the artwork file are now set to Auto attachment (Attach To = Auto) when changes are incorporated into the puppet. Previously, only some of them were, which was inconsistent with importing the file from scratch.
  • Improved performance by slightly reducing the density of puppet meshes.
  • Moving an origin after resetting its layer no longer causes an offset mesh or error.
  • Fixed issues with a layer's artwork or mesh shifting (offsetting) if the artwork is used in multiple puppets.
  • Grouping a layer when the parent group's origin has been moved no longer causes the layer's artwork to be offset.
  • Updating an Illustrator-based puppet layer by making it independent should no longer cause an error or shift the artwork.
  • Switching back to Character Animator after updating a puppet’s source artwork should now incorporate artwork changes more reliably instead of not recognizing the changes.
    Note: Changes saved to the artwork file less than five seconds since the previous save might not get recognized.
  • Opening a scene with an Illustrator-based puppet that has the "Auto-sync with Artwork" option disabled but the source artwork file has changed no longer causes a crash – an error message will appear instead.
    Note: Enable "Auto-sync with Artwork" to resolve the problem.
  • Reduced likelihood of a "Couldn't find required item at project path" error message after incorporating artwork changes.
  • Deleting a group's origin after making a child layer shareable no longer causes a "stack overflow" error.
  • Resetting (deleting) the origin handle of a group that contains another group no longer causes an error.
  • Resetting a group's origin by pressing Delete now also removes any tags applied to it.
  • Deleting (resetting) an origin handle is now undoable.
  • Resetting a shared puppet layer no longer causes an error.
  • Adding a stick to a group opened in the Puppet panel no longer causes an error.
  • Selecting, dragging, and context-clicking in the Puppet panel should now favor selected items, operating on frontmost drawn elements first.
  • Improved handling of a puppet being relinked to artwork with very different layer structures, including clipping masks.
  • Artwork layers named "Left Pupil Range" or "Right Pupil Range" now only get the Left Pupil Range and Right Pupil Range tags applied, and not the Left/Right Pupil or Pupil Size tags as well. This change applies only to newly imported artwork.
  • Layer opacity is rendered correctly, instead of opaque, in the Scene panel when a Transform behavior is applied to the layer.
  • Grouping the base layer of a clipping mask when the base layer is the last one in a group no longer releases the clipping mask.
  • Parent group is now rendered if a layer in a shared puppet is removed due to a change in the artwork.
  • Blinking now works if the Face behavior is at the top of puppet's structure and the Head group is made shareable.
  • When multiple puppets are selected, each with different sets of replays or controls, the Replays section of the Properties panel and the Controls panel will be empty.
  • Opening a renamed group of a puppet now identifies the opened content in the Puppet panel based on the current name, not its original name.
  • Opening a puppet with replays of trigger/viseme bars in the Puppet panel when no scene is open no longer causes a "ReferenceError: require is not defined" error.
  • (Windows only) Alt+mouse wheel now changes zoom in the Puppet panel at the same increments as in the Scene panel.
  • Handle creation tools can no longer be used when multiple layers are selected.
  • Puppet layer created by artwork from a different file (i.e., a "mashup" of parts from different artwork files) no longer disappears if it was made independent or a handle was added to it.
  • Changing a layer to a group in Illustrator should no longer cause the puppet layer to be renamed as "Locations".
  • Renaming a guide named "Draggable" to "+Draggable" in the artwork file no longer causes an error on import.
  • Importing a puppet now uses updated default values for behaviors if they weren't previously changed in the puppet file.
  • Incorporating artwork changes should no longer cause an independent layer to have its name get incremented, or if the independent layer used to be a group with child layers in the artwork file.
  • Incorporating artwork changes should update the Puppet panel without having to click in it first.
  • Fit zoom level in the Puppet panel now works after deleting a tag on the origin of a shareable puppet.
  • Fixed an error when unchecking the "Auto-sync with Artwork" option would cause the project to change.


  • Pressing Esc while typing in a number (for Stylization, Feature Exaggeration, or Brush Size) no longer causes the Characterizer window to close.
  • Changes to the Undo/Redo keyboard shortcuts also now work in Characterizer.
  • Fixed a possible crash during a new face capture.
  • In the Edit Style's Edit Points screen, panning now works even at the default (not-zoomed) magnification and when zoomed in and panning off the viewable area.
  • In the Edit Style's Edit Points screen, selected points that are dragged of the viewable area no longer draw incorrectly.
  • In the Edit Style's Edit Points screen, clicking Next when on a high-resolution display (e.g., display scale set to 200%) no longer shows an error message.
  • Improved delays in updating the user interface when applying or changing a style.
  • Exported still image now includes the neck and background.
  • Applying a style with the teeth not visible to the Smile expression for a face capture now produces better results (retaining more of the teeth).
  • When exaggerating facial features, the neck is also warped to match the size of the face better.
  • Teeth now appear even if the selected style shows no teeth.
  • Characterizer window no longer disappears when sometimes creating a capture from a still image.
  • Selecting styles very quickly no longer causes a crash.
  • In the generated puppet, the neck's stick is now based on the width of the rigged puppet instead of a fixed 20% of the body width.
  • Pupils should match more closely between the image previewed in the Edit screen and what is exported.
  • Reduced the likelihood that eyes can appear outside of the head when rendering head turns.


  • Behaviors can no longer be renamed as blank.
  • When several behaviors affect the same handle (e.g., Dragger and Arm IK), they now cooperate better. This should help a dragged handle return to rest much better if the handle is also being controlled via Arm IK.
  • Cycle Layers: Fixed the results when Start = Immediately, including when recording.
  • Dangle: Reduced likelihood for stretched meshes to twist.
  • Dragger, Transform: Hinged joints no longer jump if After Move is set to "Return to rest" (e.g., in the Startdust template puppet). Also, Transform Handle Strength now affects rotated handles.
  • Eye Gaze: When eyeballs and pupil ranges are not tagged, eye gaze will no longer move in the opposite direction of how they were controlled.
  • Face: Only one Head-tagged handle is now supported per view, fixing an issue with incorrect head measurements (producing distortion) when the first view had no Head.
  • Face: Parallax of the mouth now works regardless of the Mouth Strength value (i.e., even when set to 0).
  • Head Turner: "Group '...' is not attached to any handle. Check its 'Attach To' setting in the Properties panel" error should no longer appear when grouping layers.
  • Magnets: Rotating a rigid layer attached by magnets no longer results in an incorrect attachment point.
  • Magnets, Physics (Collide): Magnet attachments between groups that collide or not are now correct.
  • Particles: Scene frame rates for more complex particles has been improved.
  • Particles: Improved collision detection.
  • Physics (Collide): Contour-based shapes that have no mesh now honor the contour, instead of treating them as rectangular shapes.
  • Physics (Collide): Dynamic independent group set to Hinge attach style with Draggable-tagged handle can now be dragged.
  • Transform: Undo/redo or resetting property values should no longer generate incorrect results that previously required a scene refresh.


  • The Properties panel's vertical scrollbar no longer obscures the scrollbar for the Replays section.

Triggers and the Triggers panel

  • Recording a trigger that has no layers or replays assigned to it now recordings the trigger.
  • The Triggers panel's vertical scrollbar no longer obscures the scrollbars for the triggers and layers/replays lists.
  • Triggers associated with MIDI Note 0 (i.e., C-2) now work as expected.
  • The Add to Trigger command now scrolls the Triggers panel to show the added trigger.
  • Selecting a layer associated with a trigger in the Triggers panel now switches to the Puppet panel in the Rig workspace, instead of opening the panel in the Record workspace.
  • Reduced flickery display of scrollbars when resizing the Triggers panel vertically.
  • Keyboard shortcuts (such as for undo) now work after dragging a puppet layer to the Triggers panel after switch to the Rig workspace.
  • (macOS 10.14) Fixed a possible crash after clicking away from the edit field for a trigger.
  • Adding a puppet's group to a trigger that is already added to the same trigger no longer causes an error.

Controls panel

  • Grouped controls still work even when a behavior for one of the grouped controls is removed.
  • Fixed an error when you tried to drag a trigger from a shareable puppet into the Controls panel for a puppet that contains the shareable puppet.
  • Behavior parameter (slider, angle) controls in the Controls panel can no longer be renamed to a blank name.
  • MIDI channel 4 can now be used to map MIDI CCs to a control.

Timeline panel

  • Adding an audio or scene from the Project panel into the Timeline panel for another scene no longer deselects or disarms any puppet tracks. Only puppet items added to a scene change the selection/arming of tracks in the scene.
  • Trim Out to Playhead command can now extend n-frame recorded takes.
  • Pressing Up Arrow when the gap between trigger bars is selected no longer fills the gap with a trigger bar.
  • Trim Scene to Work Area and Split track commands no longer forget the current Controls panel settings for a puppet.
  • Adding a replay trigger for a hidden Transform behavior’s take in a shared puppet should no longer cause an error.
  • Splitting a trigger bar should no longer causes an error.

Playback and Recording

  • Fixed a crash that might occur while scrubbing through time or using the Record 1-/2-frame Take or Record Take for Work Area commands (or shortcuts) after playback or recording.
  • Switching in and out of the application while recording is in progress no longer stops recording.
  • Recording a take for the work area (Timeline > Record Take for Work Area) now works if the end of the work area is at the same time or later than the end of the puppet track.
  • The Record 1-/2-frame Take and Record Take from Work Area commands no longer cause an error if the Timeline panel is closed – they now require the Timeline panel to be focused, like in earlier versions.
  • When looping playback, the frame starting at the end of the work area is no longer included.
  • Playback no longer ignores a stop marker when the work area is enabled, but only if the playhead was earlier in time than the stop marker.
  • Fixed possible crash if undoing or opening or closing a scene during a recording countdown.

Export / Dynamic Link

  • Reduced likelihood of hangs and errors while rendering Character Animator scenes.
  • Fixed a "bad argument #-1 (string expected, got nil)" error when switching between applications after adding, deleting, or relinking scenes.


  • Reduced memory usage when the application has been running for a long time.
  • Application should no longer complain about a nonexistent icudtl.dat file on launch when the application is installed in a location with non-ASCII characters in the path name.
  • If the rest pose has already been set, switching between workspaces no longer indicates in the Camera & Microphone panel that the rest pose needs to be set.
  • Fixed a rare crash on launch.
  • Fixed possible crash on quit.
  • Fixed possible crash on quit after dragging buttons in the Keyboard Shortcuts editor.
  • When reopening a laptop’s lid, the camera should resume working (instead of showing "Waiting for camera").
  • Fixed a possible crash recording with or switching to certain USB microphones and mono vs. stereo channels.
  • Now showing a clearer error message for problematic video devices.
  • Fixed a possible crash while quitting.
  • Pressing the Up/Down Arrow keys in the Project panel no longer causes unexpected scrolling.

Known issues

  • If a scene doesn't render (i.e., Scene panel shows only the current background color), try clicking the Refresh Scene button at the bottom of the Scene panel. If that still doesn't work, try Option-clicking (macOS) / Alt-clicking (Windows) the Refresh Scene button. If the scene still does not render correctly, please file a bug report and attach a project or artwork file.
  • In an Illustrator file, layers and groups with "Guide" in their name will not be interpreted as guides/handles, and their content still render even if muted in the artwork file. Only paths are supported at this time.
  • Applying the Draggable handle tag to the top-level origin handle for a puppet won't allow the puppet to be dragged in the scene.
    Workaround: If the puppet's layers are enclosed in a single top-level group, apply the Draggable tag to that group's origin.
  • Background syncing, backup, or virus checking programs might cause error messages in Character Animator if the current project's files are being synced, backed up, or scanned at the same time. Avoid creating projects in these background-synced locations, or at least avoid working in a project while syncing is enabled.
    Workaround: Exclude the folder containing your Character Animator projects (by default, located in your user Documents/Adobe/Character Animator (macOS) or Documents\Adobe\Character Animator (Win) folder) and its subfolders from virus scanning, or at least for write operations.
  • Adobe Media Encoder (AME) can render a stale (non-current) version of a scene if it was added via the Add Source button and the scene was subsequently modified while Character Animator was connected to AME.
  • Face, Keyboard Triggers, and Lip Sync behaviors in projects and puppet files created in earlier (Beta) versions of Character Animator might appear as obsolete (with "(obsolete)" after their names) when opened in the latest Character Animator, but will still work. However, they will not benefit from improvements made in newer versions.
    Workaround: If you wish to update the obsolete behaviors to the latest versions, and do not have any recordings for them, or if you don't mind losing the recordings, select the puppet in the Project panel, remove the obsolete behaviors, and add the newer versions of the behaviors. For the obsolete Keyboard Triggers, replace with Triggers.
    If you update the behaviors for a puppet imported from a .puppet file, be sure to export a new .puppet file to share with other users that have a similar version of Character Animator; they cannot be imported into earlier versions of Character Animator once re-exported.







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