I come from a game animation background; I taught myself Live2d over a weekend (back when the documentation was literally just the japanese text run through Google translate.), and I was a very early adopter of Spine2D; I've used both to make hundreds of puppets. Live 2D has you build custom behaviors into toggles and keyframes, and Spine2D adopts the more traditional bone system, where I basically associate image layers with a system of lines that have their own behaviors and run through the puppet. I've never had a problem rigging something up with either, and it wasn't hard to do something unusual or specific.
I bought Ch because the idea of creating "live" animations, where I could just move a puppet in real time with a mouse or keyboard prompt seemed much easier than manually setting keyframes; especially since I'm planning on creating puppets that are synced to voice recordings for some videos I want to make. I also expected it to be more robust than the product I assume it's trying to compete with, Live2d, for creating streaming and animation puppets that had fairly limiting parameters. But so far, I'm about ready to tear my hair out.
I'm trying to create a puppet that doesn't use the default rig, which it seems like I'm being forced to by tagging everything to the premade puppet system. I get that this might be useful for beginners, but I just want to make my own bones for my own, specific characters, which do specific things. I've been combing through the documentation on how to go about this, but it hasn't been helpful.
Can anyone recommend a tutorial that exists or can Adobe make a tutorial that shows experienced animators coming from other software, or how to make a custom rig? What if I want to make a spider character? Or a cat, or a snake? How would I go about doing this?
Welcome to the forums!
I think the mental model of CH is a bit different to some of the other apps. (No comment if better or worse - it's just different.) For example you don't have the same sort of bone system as in other tools I have seen. Instead there are sticks to stop flexing in certain points. You can do anything with this - make spider legs etc. Where you need to tag things is when using the built in behaviors. They look for the tags to understand the puppet structure. So you need lots of tags for walk to work. But you cannot create your own behaviors. So there is no animal walk behavior, no snake slither behavior etc. Currently no way to build up such a library and share between puppets.
So its more you have a fixed set of capabilities and you try to use them in novel ways. Sticks to stop bending, draggers for points you and control with the mouse. There are things like the Face behavior for controlling the face, eyebrows, etc live. I would always be using them. You have two choices for mouth - viseme based and nutcracker. You can do profiles for head and body turns. You can do human walk (i rarely use it myeslf). You can do triggers to swap in/out artwork (e.g. change hand positions) which can be triggered from keyboard or midi device. You can (recently) prerecord sequences as replays and play them back. Because live your mouse can only control one dragger at a time (eg one hand) so to do a two handed live gesture you need to use a replay i think.
Happy to answer questions here; This forum and a few youtube channels are the best resources I know of. I have not seen much advanced stuff - i think because you cannot share them (easily) beyond a puppet. And you cannot define custom behaviors (yet).
oh, if you like funky stuff, i tried hooking HTC vive hand controllers up to generate midi events which i fed into moving both hands and body etc of a puppet. I have a youtube video somewhere... https://youtu.be/QV_fZVW3y_I i had a few more if you google search htc vive and adobe characte aniamator.
I find it pretty useful to use ch to do simple animations quickly. I just work within its restrictions. Happy to try and answer specific questions.
Alan, thanks for taking the time to break it down for me. I think I'm gonna hold off on diving deep until custom behaviors are introduced -- Hopefully it's only a matter of time.
I love your HTC Vive rig, haha! It's so close to actual virtual puppeteering.