This is a great new feature, but what if blink is larger than the eye aperture? I tried this out as explained in the tutorial and I essentially see the blink layer through the mask. I've attached the layer hierarchy.
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I think the blink replaces the other things in the same group. The following pattern is what I tend to follow these days. (I am not an expert however! I got something to work then just repeat it.)
I also use keyboard triggers to select all the Surprised and Angry subgroups, to get expression on the face. (I adjust the eye dimensions.)
I then set "Clipping Mask" on "+Left Pupil" which makes the eyeball clipped by the whites of the eyeball, plus the eyelids are in front. I also check "Left Pupil Range" to remove the automatically added "Left Pupil Size" (which means the eye size is the same as the range - so nothing moves!) and there was another autotag that it gets wrong (forgot what it is just now).
The difference from what you are doing is the mask only applies to the pupil with the above arrangement, not the blink. So its just a matter of getting the grouping right so the blink is not covered by the mask (I think!).
In illustrator it looks a bit funny because the pupil is bigger than the eye ball...
But in character animator, it comes out nicely.
Oh, the "Left Closed Happy" look I tie to a keyboard trigger blocks the lower eyelid, ending up with the following. Err, well if there is a smile on the face it looks happy... 😉 I splice the artwork around the eye into upper and lower eyelids.
(hmmm, if you look closely above you can see I have the mask not quite right still - it cut off some of the blush on the cheek. I need to tighten up the mask.
Showing the hierarchy in Character Animator...
(This one is still a work in progress - I have not done the mouth group yet.)
I hope this helps!
I really appreciate this detailed answer, but it's left me with more questions. Are you creating a clipping mask in Ch as shown in the New Features pt.2 tutorial at 17:01? I had found a way of addressing this issue before the clipping mask feature was introduced. I simply duplicated that part of my face and made eyeholes that appeared above the pupils and eyeballs and below blink. But I thought this clipping mask approach sounded more elegant. Your hierarchy doesn't show a mask layer.
From what I can see of it, that's a gorgeous puppet.
Alan's explanation above is the way to go. Note he didn't do the MASK outside of the eyes like I did in the tutorial video, he did the mask only for the pupil and eyeball (that's what the little down arrow means). I think following his path should work.
If not, there's a hacky way around it, as long as you want your blinks to cover up the whole eyeballs. Do this:
By removing the blinks from the eyes and putting them a few layers deep, they'll react without messing with the eyes, even if a clipping mask is added.
I just tried your approach and now when I blink, my head, my hair dangles and both my right eye and eyebrow all completely disappear, leaving only my left eye and eyebrow and my mouth along with my body. My left eye is blinking though. Here's my arrangement. I'll try Alan's arrangement again.
Regarding why your try of Dave's did not work, I think you need another group around the left eye and right eye - or try moving all the hair before the clipping mask. I think the clipping mask uses EVERYTHING following in the same layer. Because your hair is in the same group as the clipping mask, and below it, it will get messed up. You can control the scope of the mask with another level of grouping, or reorder so the minimal stuff follows the mask.
So an 'Eyes' folder holding the left and right eye folders and the mask? I'll try that. I'm still new enough that I've been wary of messing with the basic hierarchy.
There are probably different ways to do it - I just stopped searching when I got one working (!!). Yes, that video you mention is exactly where I got maskiong from. However I did things a little differently from the video as pointed out. I created the slightly off-white color eyeballs and that is what you can see the pupils in front of. (Actually, I don't quite understand why the green masks in the video are completely replaced by white with blue eyes.) So you can both see my eyeballs (sitting behind the pupil) *and* it is acting as my mask at the same time.
In my case I did not want to mask the top and bottom eyelids - so I put them in front of the eyeball and pupil. So the eyeball masking is only for the pupil. It seemed the most natural to me in the end - the eyeball (really, the eyeball opening in the skin of the face) is clipping the pupil. Eyelids (and lashes) sit in front of that, unaffected by clipping (on your real face they are in front). That way eyelashes etc are not clipped - I can draw them anywhere.
I then created different shaped eyeballs sublayers for the different expressions (neutral, angry, surprised). I swap the top eyelid, bottom eyelid, and eyeball all together using trigger sets.
Illustrator hierarchy in case useful for an eye (different puppet). If you look closely you can see the shapes of the objects in the icons.
The eyelid top and bottom etc is stretched slightly differently for wider (surprised) and narrower (angry), so all three have to exactly align (eyelid top, eyelid bottom, eyeball). (I just discovered Illustrator visibility variables, that I might try to use to make it quicker to flip between the three views - I keep turning them on/off by hand at present, which is a real drag.)
Oh, the about snipped I made the Pupil Range object visible (normally hidden) above just to show that the range of the pupil can go outside the eyeball. If the eyeball is the pupil range I don't think you will ever get the pupil being clipped. Normally the pupil range circle is hidden.
Alan (I hope that is your name),
Yeah, I think I had originally done what you did. I had an eyeball layer that both served as the 'white' of the eye and defined the range of movement of the pupil. Then, on top of that, I had the pupil. Then on top of the pupil and eyeball I put what I called an eyehole which is a portion of my head (and it's time to confess here, for the sake of simplifying the conversation, my puppet is built of photos of myself—as inspired by this YouTube video—so, when I say 'my head,' I do mean my head) surrounding my eye with the eye itself cut out. So it is as if my eye is moving inside my head.
I can, and guess I will, just return to that structure. I just thought the clipping mask thing made a lot of sense.
Correction: I posted this and then saw your latest reply. I don't think you did build yours this way.
Right. Notice how in mine, I put my blinks inside a Lids group and then inside their own "go" folders. This stops the blinks from hiding everything on the same level as them - because nothing else is at their same level. In your rig mode screenshot they're not in 2 groups deep group like that - they're at the same top level as everything else, which is why everything disappears when you blink.
But Dave, in your arrangement, where does the eye mask go? Are you doing one inside each eye folder or one for both just below the eye folders (damn, these conversations get confusing)? It would seem if you did one below the eye folders—as in the original demo—the eyebrows would disappear.
Ah man, I am so close. Everything works now except only the left eye blinks. It all looks so consistent in the stack. And Blink Eyes Together is selected.
I am suspicious about the left and right blink being in the same sub-group. I normally put the blink in the same group as the eye its replacing - I thought it hid the following stuff when it blinked. That might be causing the right blink to go away? (I am just guessing here.) I would suggest trying moving Left Blink inside the "left eye" group", and Right Blink in the right eye group - or introduce another set of groups under Eyes.
But it does look clean. I am just not sure it will work having left and right blink in the same group. (You need the help of a master puppet Samuri for that!)
OK, I just tried putting each blink in its own folder (see image) and then I confirmed they were tagged. With that setup, neither blinked. And if I put them both in the Eyes folder then I'm back where I started with the blinking being cropped by the mask.
You're right, looks like I need a samurai.
Remove all mentions / tags of "blink" except for the ones inside the groups and you should be set.
1. Select the "Blinks" group and make sure it doesn't have any tags associated with it.
2. Select the "left blink" and "right blink" groups inside "Blinks" and remove any tags from them. (This is why I named my groups a throwaway term like "go" instead).
3. Select the "left blink" layer and make sure it's tagged as "Left Blink." Do the same with the "right blink" layer and "Right Blink" tag.
Ah, thank you Dave. I still can't pretend I fully understand the hierarchy (in fact, not even sure that's the best word for what I'm talking about) of the layer and folder structure in Ch, but I am finally getting a grasp of it and that did fix my immediate problem.
I really appreciate all the time you've devoted to this—and my many other—questions. I do try to figure out the answers on my own and by searching Ch Help and your outstanding tutorials first, honest.
And thank you, Alan, for all your help on this.
Next question coming soon no doubt,
Your welcome. I was trying for the policy if one person helps me on the boards with my problems, then try to help two others in return as payback.
I guess what I am calling "eyeball" is really "eyehole" as you say. If I really did have an eyeball behind it all (which should be clipped by the eyehole as well), then that *would* make sense as the pupil range... But what i have is working for me, so I ain't gonna touch it now!!! 😉
This was very helpful but I can't get my pupil clipped in Ch. My puppet is in Ai (which I am new at) and I see a clipped pupil there (see attachment), but its not clipped in Ch. Can't figure out why.
Is your image above from a Ps or Ai puppet? It seems that Ps puppets have a down-arrow to indicate clipping masks but Ai puppets don't show that way in Ch?
Also, I've tried endless variations and sometimes the eyes move in opposite directions, not sure what causes that.
And, am I right that Ai puppets need to be rendered as vector?
Any help or tips would be most welcome. Thank you, Chris
CH ignores AI clipping, so nice try - but that won't work. CH needs to move the pupil around, so it wants to do the clipping. What you want in AI is to have the eye unclipped then you use the menu item "Create Clipping Mask" on the right pupil so the following layer (the right eyeball in your puppet) clips it. So it looks ugly in AI, but correct in CH. But you need to get rid of the extra "go2" layer you introduced. +Right Pupil should be directly under Right Eye, and immediately before Right eyeball.
See Debugging Adobe Character Animator Eyes – Extra Ordinary, the Series for a longer explanation. (It gets asked so much I created a blog post on it. That is, you are not alone!!! Its a bit tricky to get right.)
Oh, you don't have to use render as vector - that is a separate issue. If you render as vector, some AI features (like gradients) don't work, but the artwork scales better in AE and PP etc. Personally I don't render as vector as I like gradients. I just make sure the artwork is reasonable resolution and it seems to work fine.
And as to why eyes go in opposite directions.... errr. Try following the blog post (check all the independence etc) and ask more questions if it still goes funny! I can only think things are distorting due to lack of independence. (I talk about that in the blog as well.)