I am new at both Character Animator and Photoshop. I have a character with long hair and cannot figure out how to properly animate it for just a standard frontal view of the character. If I put the hair in the body folder in Photoshop, it doesn't move with the head. If I put it in the head folder, it is layered overtop the neck and chest.
I have read that there is an achor tool that can fix this, but I can't find any tutorials or documentation on how to do it. Could you please direct me on what to do?
Its actually a fairly well known problem. If the head is independent, you need it in front of body but hair needs to be behind body. That means the hair cannot be inside the head for attachment. Yes, its a pain and I don't recall a good solution (search forums for "rear hair group" and you might find some other discussion threads).
If you can live with the head NOT being independent, then just put the Body layer above Head in the hierarchy, then you can put the Hair inside Head but make it independent so it can sway behind the body (but inside Head so it can attach to the head.
1. If I don't make the head independent, can I still tag the head in rigging and then it will move with my head while using a webcam, or do I have to make it draggable with sticks in the neck etc. and manually animate it?
2. Can I tag multiple areas of the same image layer as being different body parts? If so, will they animate with my webcam?
3. Is there a benefit to making back hair a body group and reversing the direction of gravity on it? Maybe it could be pinned to the neck?
4. Alternate solution - make back hair its own separate puppet and record its movements separately?
1. It will still move with the webcam, it will just not pivot - it will stay glued to the neck and (generally) make the neck bend to move the head around. If there is a lot of non-independent artwork, the warping might look funny (e.g. long hair or a hoodie). I think it works better with a narrow(ish) neck with rear hair independent - that way the neck bends (especially with sticks across shoulders and along jaw lines). But its a matter of trying it and see.
2. Yes, you can put handles on the one layer and tag them with different body parts. That is normal. E.g. knee, ankle, foot, toe is normally on the one leg layer for the walk behavior.
3. I worry that the hair will not stay synchronized with the head position if you move the head from side to side. But try it! If it looks good, it is good!
4. There are more advanced approaches, like what you suggest. E.g. you can clone the whole puppet tree (have two root characters) and put the rear hair in one of the two copies. Think of it like two people standing in front of each other - you can only see the one in front. But its hard to keep them in sync - e.g. handles need to be lined up perfectly. But webcam movements will go to both puppets, so it might work.
Thank you! This really helps. I think I can get away with the warping for my wizard character, because he has a long dangling beard. For my female characters, I may just delete the neck and draw it in later if it's problematic? I'm not entirely sure how the process works once you actually start recording and putting things together in Aftereffects. Do you know how hard it is to add in small hand-drawn elements or extra finishing?