Do all face elements need to be independent?

Community Beginner ,
Feb 18, 2020 Feb 18, 2020

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Hello everyone! 

I've been using Character Animator since the beta days.

I always set up the face of my puppets with only the eyebrows independent, everything else (eyes, mouth, nose) not independent. And it works normally. 

I was browsing through some of the Adobe video tutorials and example puppets and I have noticed that a lot of them have all face elements independent with the crown icon. And they are not using the paralax effect. It's like this in the Creating An Illustrator Puppet video from May last year, but it's not like this in older Adobe tutorials where they show building a puppet face.

 

So my question is what is the reason for having all your face elements independent and does it work better this way? 🙂

thank you!

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Adobe Employee , Feb 19, 2020 Feb 19, 2020
Yes. Without independence parts can warp and bend, sometimes unexpectedly from several different behaviors. I would say the main reason to make the facial features independent is for parallax, but we've felt it's best practice to do this to avoid the unwanted warpiness.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 18, 2020 Feb 18, 2020

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It depends on your eyes. I fond a pattern that worked for me then just repeated it over and over again. I wrote it up in a blog with some general advice here https://extra-ordinary.tv/2018/04/21/debugging-character-animator-eyess/

 

It's things like if you don't use a blink layer, then if the eyes are not independent blinking will warp the face, which is generally not desirable.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 19, 2020 Feb 19, 2020

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Hey, thank you for the reply! 🙂

I read your blog post but I am not sure if I have the answear to my question. 

Do you mean that if you have the eyes (and other face elements) independent, this will prevent unwanted warping? 🙂

I just want to understand the benefits of having all face elements independent, since having only the eyebrows independent always worked well for me.

I always have a blink layer. Any warping problems I had were due to incorrect tagging, not because something was not independent. 

 

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LEGEND ,
Feb 19, 2020 Feb 19, 2020

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Listen to OKSamurai, but I like to think about it as you start with a sheet of thin rubber. Layers are put on top of this. But as soon as you hit an independent layer, you get a new sheet of rubber and everything in that layer tree is added to that sheet instead. Stretching one sheet does not stretch the parent or child sheets. But the child sheet (normally) has an attachment point to the parent - weld and its like glue or a staple sticking them together. Hinge and its like a pin stuck through both layers so they pivot nicely. Dragging stretches the rubber sheets. Sticks are like putting toothpicks onto the rubber sheets - stops movements in the places where the sticks are so the joints between the sticks move.

 

So if you want the child layer to not affect the parent (eg if you don't want moving eye lids stretching the face around it), then you want independence (e.g. for the eye lids). If you want the eyelids to morph the face around it, then you don't want independence. Independence starts a new mesh (a new sheet of rubber). The mesh icon shows the yellow outline of the currently selected mesh (the mesh that owns the currently selected layer).

 

It is a bit more complicated than this because of layering, but I find it a useful way to think about independence. If I was cutting out bits of paper or thin rubber sheets, do I want that part of the body to be connected or a part of the parent part of the body. I generally make eyes independent to the head, eye lids independent to the face, Pupil independent to the eyeballs, etc. because I expect them to move without warping the parent layer.

 

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 20, 2020 Feb 20, 2020

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Thank you for taking time and answearing me. I was just curious because I never had problems with warping and I wasn't sure if there's a new "right way" to do things. 🙂

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Adobe Employee ,
Feb 19, 2020 Feb 19, 2020

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Yes. Without independence parts can warp and bend, sometimes unexpectedly from several different behaviors. I would say the main reason to make the facial features independent is for parallax, but we've felt it's best practice to do this to avoid the unwanted warpiness.

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Community Beginner ,
Feb 20, 2020 Feb 20, 2020

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Hey, thank you so much! 🙂

Maybe I will try ot from now on! 

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