How to use Character Animator with music?

Explorer ,
Jul 06, 2018 Jul 06, 2018

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Hello. I‘m working on an animation that features action (dance moves) that need to be timed to the music. Can I import the music track into Character Animator or do I need to use anorher program to do this? In short i need to animate to the music and need pointing in the right direction.

I have all Adobe apps including Premiere, After Effects and Audition.

i have searched the forum and extensively googled but without luck.

Thanks...

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Contributor , Jul 07, 2018 Jul 07, 2018

So this is something I actually know about!  I'm a composer who is animating children's music. All the characters need to move and sometimes do dance moves. So here's my take:

Good News-

Yes, you can import music directly into Character Animator. You do it the same way you do anything else. It takes, MP3s, but better for both of us it will take AIFF files, which are bigger and have better fidelity. So, you actually can have a better quality than in iTunes.

In terms of timing, CA offers a feature th

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Contributor ,
Jul 07, 2018 Jul 07, 2018

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So this is something I actually know about!  I'm a composer who is animating children's music. All the characters need to move and sometimes do dance moves. So here's my take:

Good News-

Yes, you can import music directly into Character Animator. You do it the same way you do anything else. It takes, MP3s, but better for both of us it will take AIFF files, which are bigger and have better fidelity. So, you actually can have a better quality than in iTunes.

In terms of timing, CA offers a feature that allows the music to go at slower speeds-this is really helpful.

Also good news-you can get characters to lip sync if you want them to. If you do this my recommendation is that when you are about to lip sync that you use only the vocal track without instruments. I have found that it does a great job. With instruments, you have to erase a ton of stuff.

Bad News

It's in its infancy and is very difficult and time consuming. I have found that Character Animator's tutorials are almost entirely on creating characters, not using them. There are many obstacles-too many to list here, but I've discovered a few starting things that are important.

Unless you are an artist(I'm not) and have developed the characters yourself, having them move is tricky and requires practice.

However, this program is worth it and I'm excited to be doing it. I'm a teacher and I"m working on my songs all summer. When I get one actually finished, I'll post it here.

Good luck.

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LEGEND ,
Jul 07, 2018 Jul 07, 2018

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You can import audio files directly into Character Animator. Just do a file import. (You might have to find a format that CH supports.) You need to be a little careful as during playback it is not guranteed to get the audio perfectly in sync, but you can get it synced up if you are careful. Sometimes I look in Adobe Audition to look closely at the waveforms, then write down time points for key beats etc.

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Guru ,
Jul 07, 2018 Jul 07, 2018

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The use of MIDI triggers is the new way to time puppet actions to music or any audio signals. I have found it much quicker and more precise than any other approach. If your puppet dance moves can be triggered by the keyboard, then they can also be triggered by MIDI signals.

What I do with a piece of music is find the notes where I want the puppet action to change, and then use the MIDI numbers associated with those notes to trigger action changes. Then I record the puppet action triggered by MIDI and the audio signal simultaneously. This assures the actions and music are always in sync.

If you have a MIDI keyboard, that's all you need. You can also use virtual MIDI devices, which might take a few more minutes to set up. If you want more info on this process, I'll be glad to discuss it with you.

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Contributor ,
Jul 08, 2018 Jul 08, 2018

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Wow-I have about ten midi keyboards around, including one really high end(Yamaha Motif) and have always wondered what is better about using them vs. the regular computer keyboard. I don't completely understand how you program these at all. All my music was done using midi.

I think this is probably a different topic, so I'm going to post another question, so that all of us can search for this later.

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New Here ,
May 18, 2019 May 18, 2019

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Id love to discuss this process in depth with you. I would like my character to change positions on the kick and snare of an audio track what’s the best way to do this? Thanks in advance for your help

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New Here ,
Aug 04, 2018 Aug 04, 2018

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Hi,

I'm new to the Adobe suite and I too wish to have animated characters do dance moves in time with music.

I gave it a go in Animate and it's seemingly impossible to align with any accuracy, and even getting the play head to work as it should I found impossible.

Is Character Animator where I should be concentrating my efforts? Once I have a dance move that I am happy with should I then drop it into After Effects / Premier for the final video? I'd like video transitions between each scene, otherwise its all jump cuts.

If it makes it clearer what I'm trying to achieve I made a video story board here: TMC Hello Song Storyboard - YouTube

Any feedback and suggested work flows most welcome.

Thank you - Tim

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LEGEND ,
Aug 04, 2018 Aug 04, 2018

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Hey @sharonfrommd! I think you found a kindred spirit! (Children’s videos.)   😉

Firstly, I recommend creating a new thread rather than adding to a “resolved” thread. The forum software did not bring this up to the top again. I would not have noticed if I had not already responded on the thread. Its safer to just create a new one in general.

Which approach is best? It depends on the transitions. You can “fade” things in Character Animator using opacity, but I suspect it will be frustrating for you to use. I would personally recommend you work out how important the transitions are to you first.

If transitions are important, I would suggest loading the audio into Character Animator, but create lots of little scenes and put the audio in each scene (trimmed) just to help animate the character lined up with the music. It will not be great - playback does not always get the music exactly in time with the animation sorry, but there is a slower playback mode that may help. You can do it, but I have not found it a “great” experience. But it does work.

What I would then do is take the scenes over to Premier Pro and paste and trim them there. You can use “dynamic linking” where you drag the scene from the CH window directly into PP. Any updates automatically come across then - nice. But on my laptop its pretty sluggish, so instead I personally export each scene into a video clip file and import the clips into PP. I would then add an audio track for the end-to-end song (no cuts) and line up the individual scene clips over the top, trimming the scenes as required, applying scene transitions using Premier Pro, etc. Then mute the sound track from the video clips and use the single end-to-end audio recording. (This is to avoid clicks and pops in the audio track that can occur when joining audio files.)

I would also recommend 24fps rather than 12fps in Character Animator for your scene. It gives you a bit more control over lining things up. Normally I don’t think it matters that much, but I found with music it just makes it that much easier to time things to the beat.

The other way is to create a single scene in Character Animator, bringing characters into the scene as required. That is what Sharon does (from her other posts). There are pros and cons, but nice transitions with all the special video effects are harder (or not possible). My gut feel is using Premier Pro to stitch together short scenes is the way to go if you want transitions.

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LEGEND ,
Aug 04, 2018 Aug 04, 2018

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Oh, and just to show off.... err, I mean if you want a sample of a video somewhat synchronized to music, have a look at Extraordinary Pressure (Instrumental with animation) - YouTube . Its not dancing, but you can see I did manage to get movements in the video lined up with the music in places (e.g. shadow on wall moving). I did this creating separate video clips and stitching together with Premier Pro as I described above, which gave me the control I needed over timing things.

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New Here ,
Aug 05, 2018 Aug 05, 2018

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Hi, thank you so much !

Yes, clearly I'm new to the forums and Adobe so all your thoughts are appreciated.

I think as you say editing small scenes in CA with trimmed audio then assembling in Premier is the way forward for me. I can at least get a small thing done, then try and improve the next. I'm familiar with Final Cut so I'm expecting Premier to give me the control over the final video. If I can make one good video, I have songs for 20 more, so collecting small scenes of dance moves might be useful in the future.

Thank you again - Tim (I should change the name listed from Yukinori... not sure why that is)

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Contributor ,
Aug 07, 2018 Aug 07, 2018

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Tim,

Let me know how that works for you. I would find it really difficult to do

one scene each picture because I think the timeline starts over, which

would mean cutting the music. I could be wrong because I am new as well.

-Sharon

On Sun, Aug 5, 2018 at 7:49 AM, yukinorih59016646 <forums_noreply@adobe.com>

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LEGEND ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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Some ways to do timings carefully in character animator - hopefully some useful tips there. (This is trying to do more in CH, rather than Prem Pro). 

Drags and movements synchronized with music in Adobe Character Animator - YouTube

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LEGEND ,
Aug 08, 2018 Aug 08, 2018

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LEGEND ,
May 18, 2019 May 18, 2019

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Basically you record the movement then manually drag it side ways in the timeline to line up with the audio track. (You can see the waveform so normally you can see where drum beats fall).  Note you can copy and paste (or duplicate) takes (recordings) for repeatative moves, then slide each one in place.

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