I am an After Effects native (reference on how my brain thinks), and I need to parent layers in Character Anaimator. What I mean is I want my character's head to tilt side to side. However, she has hair that needs to move with her head, naturally. Well, the problem comes in with the neck. The hair has to be behind the neck, but the face/head has to be in front of the neck (so there is neck data behind the head, when the head moves). I have searched and searched and I cannot find any type of layer linking (or parenting like in After Effects). I need the hair to move with the head, but the layers need to sandwhich the neck layer in the puppet heichary. To do something like this in After Effects I'd simply match the anchor points and parent the hair layer to the head's motion. Done. But there seems to be none of that in Charector Animator which seems like a MAJOR oversight. Or it is very non-initutive. Any help would be appreciated.
You have hit a known limitation of Character Animator. There were some deep discussions about it, a few ideas, but there are easy solutions and hard solutions. (I really should write up a blog on this one.)
The easiest answer is see if you can live with the head NOT being independent. Use sticks across shoulders and jaw line so the neck bends rather than the body. If you can live with that, then you can get the hair behind the body and independent. Otherwise its hard.
Rather than go into some of the other horrible ideas, let me know if you can get away with the head being not-independent. It is by far the easiest solution (and most reliable). If the head must be independent, then things get funky for some of the ideas. (I would probably write up a blog at that stage as I repeat this one every so often.)
I would absolutely appreciate a blog on your recommendations. I've been incorporating Character Animator into a lot of my workflows for work. For the task at hand, I think your easy solution would work for this since the movements I want are so subtle. So I may go back in, and do that. The solution I was planning, was to remove the rear hair layer, record my motions, and when I bring it into the larger project in After Effects, Just track the rear hair manually. Which should be relatively easy, but as I'm sure you can imagine, relying on doing that every time is a pain.
Thanks so much for your answer!