I'm working on an extremely complex puppet. One important detail of this puppet is that I plan on using him a lot, and I want to be able to change his outfit often. I've made up a sort of "sprite sheet" that has all of the new clothing that would change out, so I can easily draw new ones in photoshop whenever I want. These pieces are then assembled in Character Animator into their proper positions and are then ready to animate.
The problem I'm hitting is that every time I update the drawings, the positions change in CA. Sometimes subtly, only a couple pixels from it's original location, other times dramatically and I have to go searching off the canvas for it. Changing the outfit now means reassembling everything, and a lot of it has pixel-perfect positioning.
I'm trying ideas like making a black border around the original photoshop file, but I feel like I'm somehow doing something wrong to be causing this in the first place
I have a theory (never tried to prove it) that if you drag things around in CH and then do more edits it messes up the origin.
Another theory is if the artwork changes the overall bounding box of the character then the origin moves, meaning all your offers are off.
I fear also then that any old recordings would be messed up - the position information would be off, meaning I would have to re-record any old takes.
So I went a different approach. I create a puppet, use it for a recording, then never ever touch it once I have finished the recording. Instead to start a new project or episode etc I export the puppet, change the close etc, make sure its all right, then use that. Another set of clothes? Export, adjust, import into new project etc. That is, I avoid changing old puppets.
So I just created a new puppet per set of clothes. It might not be good enough for what you want, but I never solved the origin moving problems. I had theories I never confirmed. But I avoided them by creating multiple copies of the puppet rather than continuing to edit a super mega puppet with everything.
This might not be any help to you, but if you do some experiments and track down the sources of the issues please share! I would love to know the answers. The above was my unconfirmed theory. (If its correct, it would mean add a layer of "clothes" that are big, then hide it. Hopefully anything new you add later will be smaller, so the origin will never move again.)
I noticed the changing origin and boundry box thing! For the life of me I can't figure out why the origin keeps changing, or how to control it! I keep looking for the "anchor point" control like in all the other software but with no luck.
Since I'm using cycle layers for the costumes (one video is going to have many outfit changes) I'm messing around with the first one just being a solid color block. That or putting a thin black line around the border. I'll see what I can come up with and try to report back.
So, in my example specifically, all of my images that were having trouble I was able to do one of two things: make a thin, 1 pixel box around the entire image that scaled beyond the size of the canvas, or 2: (since it was a part of a cycle layer) make a single frame at the beginning that was one solid color, and left it invisible, and the rest of the images in the cycle seemed to piggyback off the bounding areas.
Now, as far as I've been able to test, I can swap out my images using smart layers in photoshop without problems, however, it does mean all my layers are massive. I'm lucky that I don't have any that are rotating or distorting because the box I made would have to be suppermassive to remain off the canvas.