Character Animator (October 2018) – Detailed Changes

Adobe Employee ,
Sep 27, 2018 Sep 27, 2018

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New and changed features

Projects and the Project panel

  • History bookmarks

Scenes

  • Set the duration of the scene based on the current time by using the Set Scene Duration to Playhead command in either the Timeline menu or work area bar’s context menu.
  • The Duration value now shows up to one decimal place in the Properties panel.
  • Dragging with the middle mouse button now pans the contents of the Scene panel.

Artwork and Assets

  • EPS and SVG format support for puppet artwork
  • A progress dialog box now appears while importing or updating files in a project.
  • Improved performance while working in Rig and Record modes by caching artwork during the initial import or when incorporating changes made to the artwork in an external app.
    Note: Artwork in existing projects isn’t cached until the next time artwork changes are incorporated or the artwork is reimported.

Puppets and the Puppet panel

  • Refreshed Start workspace with several new template puppets
  • Characterizer
  • Updated puppet warping engine
  • Push behavior parameter changes to the source puppet
  • Existing template puppets have been updated to use Arm IK (Chloe and Bongo), Shoulder tags (Walkbot), and Aa viseme name instead of Ah (all with viseme layers).
  • When viewing the behavior parameters for a puppet selected in the Project panel or opened in the Puppet panel, and viewing the matching handles or layers (e.g., Dragger’s Target Handles or Face’s Replacements > Left Blink), clicking the handle or layer name now reveals the group that the handle is in or the layer in Puppet panel. This is similar functionality as clicking the layer name for a trigger in the Triggers panel.
  • Dragging with the middle mouse button now pans the contents of the Puppet panel.
  • Hold down the Shift key as you start to drag a layer or handle to constrain movement horizontally or vertically.
  • Nudge selected handles vertically or horizontally by using the Arrow keys. Hold down Shift as well for 10x the distance, or Cmd/Ctrl for 1/10th the distance.
  • Remove a handle’s name by renaming it to blank.
  • Removed the Puppet > Show Obsolete Trigger Keys menu command and shortcut.

Behaviors

  • Behavior parameters are now disabled when they do not apply (e.g., Dragger’s Return Duration parameter is enabled only when After Move is set to “Return to rest”)
  • Some behaviors (Arm IK, Eye Gaze, Face, Walk) now allow layer tags to match on nested layers (for example, head turns that are nested within body turns). This allows you to only need a single Eye Gaze behavior to work on the entire puppet.
  • Reset to the original name for a behavior by renaming it to blank.
  • Arm IK: New behavior for controlling arm stretchiness and elbow bend.
  • Face: Various improvements:
    • Parallax Strength and Head Position Strength parameters can now be negative values.
    • Parallax Strength now accepts a larger range of values (-9999 to +9999).
  • Lip Sync: Various improvements:
    • Improved prediction of visemes.
    • The Ah viseme/tag has been renamed as Aa. Artwork can use either Aa or Ah layer names.
  • Magnets: New behavior for making connections between handles based on proximity.
  • Physics (Dangle): Squash and Stretch deformation, and Damping control.
  • Transform: Move, scale, and rotate handles of a puppet.
  • Triggers: This behavior can now only be applied to the top (root) of a puppet’s structure.
  • Walk: Various improvements:
    • Improved arm and leg movements in Quarter views (Shoulder and Hip tags), livelier motion with Pose Emphasis and Shoulder/Hip Sway.
    • The Head Bang style has been removed. Existing puppets will reset to the default Walk style.

Triggers and the Triggers panel

  • Adding a layer or replay to an existing trigger now selects the target trigger in the Triggers panel.
  • Triggers with replays, or replays themselves, that contain takes for missing behaviors now appear in orange. Hover over the orange icon or name to view more information in a tooltip.

Controls and the Controls panel

  • Create controls for specific triggers
  • Rename behavior parameter controls
  • Group/ungroup behavior parameter controls
  • MIDI and Channel assignments for slider and angle controls can now be edited by clicking the values on the control, and entering the new value.

Recording, Playback, and the Timeline panel

  • Replays: reusable/triggerable recordings
  • Timeline work area (clear, ripple delete, insert time, looped playback, trimming, recording takes, export)
  • Collapsed view of a parameter's takes
  • Take blend easing controls
  • Locate the source puppet for a puppet track by right-clicking in the track’s header and then choosing Reveal Puppet in Project Panel.
  • 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.
  • Select all tracks and takes via keyboard shortcut (Command/Ctrl+A) or deselect them (Command/Ctrl+Shift+A).
  • Toggle the eyeballs for all behaviors on a puppet on or off by Command/Ctrl-clicking one of the eyeballs.

Export / Dynamic Link

  • Export scene to AME with alpha channel (File > Export > Video with Alpha via Adobe Media Encoder)

Miscellaneous

  • Improved frame rate performance via a newer V8 (JavaScript engine).
  • Camera selection improvements
  • (Windows) Display scale and multiple monitor improvements
  • Record workspace now includes the Triggers panel open by default, behind the History panel.

Fixed issues

Projects and the Project panel

  • Clearing project history (File > Clear History menu command) now deletes all history, not just older history states.
  • Undoing an operation no longer loses the redoable history states.
  • Reduced cases of projects showing "couldn’t find required item at project path" or other error messages when opened.
  • When a modal dialog box is open, double-clicking a .chproj file no longer opens the project.
  • (Windows) Double-clicking in the Project panel via touchscreen now works.

Scenes and the Scene panel

  • Improved accuracy of the displayed frame rate for a scene that has highly variable rendering speeds.
  • Renaming an empty or audio-only scene no longer prevents playback.
  • Renaming a scene with viseme or trigger recordings no longer causes an error.
  • Resolved a rare case of an "AIF logical exception" message when opening a scene.

Artwork and Assets

  • Using the Edit Original command for files with an apostrophe (') in their name now work.
  • Improved error message if a very large (greater than 32,000 pixel wide) Illustrator file is imported.

Puppets and the Puppet panel

  • Resolved error when assigning the Dynamic tag to the sole layer in a puppet.
  • Relinking a puppet's source artwork no longer changes the puppet name in unexpected ways.
  • Undoing after duplicating a puppet that has recordings no longer causes an error.
  • Zoom to Fit now works as expected after adding sticks to the puppet, and after opening independent groups of a puppet.
  • Improved responsiveness when a large Photoshop file is missing.
  • Shared puppet that has a Transform behavior no longer causes a "SubSkin: illegal attempt to read key getDocumentBounds" error when the puppet is added to a new scene.
  • Fixed an issue with the initial mesh displayed was incorrect.
  • When the Zoom tool is active, Option/Alt-clicking now zooms out as intended. Also, Option/Alt-dragging now pans the contents of the panel.
  • Option/Alt-clicking the Refresh Scene button no longer causes distorted results for specific puppets with a repositioned origin handle.
  • Grouping a layer no longer shifts the content in the Scene panel; previously moving the group's origin would fix it.
  • Reduced delay when selecting the top level of a puppet when its structure is expanded in the Puppet panel and there are several behaviors applied to the structure.
  • Improved performance for very complex puppets.
  • Scaling or rotating a non-independent group in the Puppet panel should no longer show a warped version in the Scene panel.
  • Negative Scale X for a puppet layer no longer causes the mesh to distort.
  • Clipping mask that uses an off or empty base layer no longer renders incorrectly.
  • Clipping mask no longer shows different results between Puppet and Scene panels for certain puppets.
  • Fixed issue with puppet that couldn’t be opened in the Puppet panel after incorporating changes made in an external application.

Behaviors

  • No longer crash after sometimes doing a lip sync operation.
  • Handles affected by multiple behaviors now cooperate better. For example, if a Draggable handle for an hand pulls  it away from the body of a character, but the character is bent to the side because the Face behavior is controlling the head, when the Draggable handle returns to rest, it’ll move closer to the location where the Face behavior wants that part of the mesh to be, instead of at the original location, causing a noticeable jump.
  • Multiple view tags applied to a layer no longer match for each tag, instead of just once total.
  • Behavior parameters are no longer disabled if other parameters that control their enablement are armed.
  • Dragger: Scaling a child group to zero size no longer causes a "could not invert matrix" error
  • Eye Gaze: Pupils don't move incorrectly when the head layer is scaled.
  • Face: The face no longer scales/distorts when nonindependent eye groups are scaled for blinking.
  • Head Turner: Reduced jitter (repeatedly switching between adjacent views) when near the boundary between views.
  • Physics (Collide): Auto-tagged Collide layer no longer causes a "TypeError: couldn't find any 'on' pixels in bitmask" error.
  • Physics (Dangle): Improved performance.
  • Walk: Run walk style now has a less jarring bounce.

Triggers and the Triggers panel

  • Dragging a layer to the Triggers panel while a handle is selected in the puppet no longer causes an error.
  • The drop zones now mention the correct number of layers being dragged into them.
  • Relinking a puppet to new artwork that renames the puppet to be renamed no longer causes triggers to stop working.
  • Opening the Edit menu when the Triggers panel is empty and focused no longer causes an error.

Controls panel

  • On HiDPI displays, artwork on trigger button controls is now rendered at 2x resolution to be less blurry.
  • Creating a control for a trigger (via Add to Controls panel command) while a handle is selected no longer causes an error.
  • Duplicating a puppet then deleting its original no longer causes a "couldn't find required item at project path" error when the puppet is added to a scene.
  • Long-pressing a button control on a touchscreen how opens the context menu for the button.

Timeline panel

  • Copying takes and pasting them into a different project no longer creates a reference to the previous project.
  • Reduced "preparing scene" time after making a track or take edit for puppets with several Cycle Layers behaviors applied.
  • Moving some combination of trigger/viseme bar selections no longer causes an error.
  • Previously selected takes for removed behaviors no longer cause an error if you try to cut/copy them.
  • Trim Out to Playhead command now trims the selected trigger bar even if the playhead is outside the range of the trigger take's bar.
  • The Command/Ctrl+1 and 2 shortcuts no longer produce two takes if the Timeline panel is undocked and you are clicking in the Scene panel.
  • Selected trigger/viseme bars no longer change length if a take bar that is also selected is being dragged.
  • Alt/Option+Left/Right Arrow now work even if the gap between interesting points is less than two frames.
  • Non-48 kHz audio (i.e., audio that needs to be resampled) now loops properly during playback.
  • Takes for behaviors that are hidden via "Hide Behavior in Track Item Properties" option will now appear in the timeline.
  • Improved trimming of tracks and takes when zoomed out.
  • (Windows) Quitting the application when an audio track's waveform was visible no longer causes an error.
  • Audio waveforms are now drawn properly when recorded at other than 1.0x speed.
  • 1-/2-frame takes now work when an individual trigger or viseme bar is selected.

Playback and Recording

  • Recording a 1-/2-frame take for a trigger produces more accurate start times for the trigger bar.
  • Recording works correctly if you switch away from the application during the countdown timer.

Export / Dynamic Link

  • Very long names for exported puppets can now be imported.
  • Attempting to export an unshared group of a puppet is no longer allowed.
  • Dynamic Link: After Effects and Adobe Media Encoder no longer show an incorrect frame rate with 23.976 fps scenes.

Live Output

  • (Windows) When the application window is minimized, streaming using Transmit still works.

Miscellaneous

  • Avoid crashing on startup if an HTC Vive device is connected.
  • (Windows) Fixed an error on launch if the application was installed on a non-OS drive with double-byte characters in the application’s file path.
  • (Windows) App launches without errors when installed in a folder path with non-ASCII characters.
  • (Windows) Launching the application when the user Documents folder is no longer available (access-restricted, or it was previously on network storage) now shows an appropriate message.
  • (macOS) Suspended cameras, such as one on a laptop whose lid has been closed, are no longer shown in the camera list.
  • Menu commands are no longer enabled if they don't apply in the focused panel (for example, the Edit > Cut command when a puppet is selected in the Project panel).
  • Dialog boxes, such as Characterizer, now open centered above the parent app window when the desktop spans multiple monitor and the display scales of the monitors are different.
  • (macOS) Keyboard shortcuts for some menus are no longer incorrectly enabled when they shouldn't be; no longer causes an error.

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 (Mac) / 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 (Mac) 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 CC, 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 CC; they cannot be imported into earlier versions of Character Animator once re-exported.

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