Trying to organize in my project to make a working file lighter

Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2020 Jan 30, 2020

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I just lost a quite bit of work last night. 
This program is still new to me, and I don't normally work on Photoshop either.
So I'm not sure if what I was doing was stressing my computre or not.
I couldn't find much about people talking about organizing in a project on Character Animator.

I use iMac 2019 model with 3.2 GHz 6-Core Intel Core i7, 16GB memory, 2GB Graphics.
I'm not really familier with those specs, and what each number means to working on Character Animator and Photoshop.

oh, and before I lost my data, I got warning message saying I need to upgrade graphics card.

 

Anyhow, my questions are:
How many puppets should I have in a scene? 
(Current project I'm working on has 4 puppets, including midground and background images as puppets)

 

How many scenes should I have in a project?
(Currently I only have one project, and I have total 4 scenes, 7 puppets, and about a dozen of SFX)
I was wondering if I separate projects, it would make the working files lighter.

How many layers in a .psd file for a puppet are okay to have? 
(I have a quite bit of layers in order to make my puppets do poses and short movement for cycle layers on top of lip sync, blink and all)

Is it bad that I ran out of keys to assign for triggers?

 

Is it bad to have too many behaviors??
(I started using breath behaviors a lot, so have smooth subtle movement in a part of background and middle ground, and each swaped characters)

I always wonder if my puppets are too complex.. In tutorial videos, I don't see all the specs on a puppet since there are folders usually closed.
Thank you for reading a long post!

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LEGEND ,
Jan 30, 2020 Jan 30, 2020

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Interesting questions - hopefully a few different people jump on with their experiences. I am sure it is different for different people.

 

  • How did you lose the work? Through a crash? Project would not open? Etc. There might be ways to protect against a repeat occurrence. Warning about graphics card not being supported is pretty weird!! Sometimes corrupted project files have been recovered by helpful Adobe staff - depends on the problem.
  • How many puppets in a scene? I would base this on what your scene needs. I have seen some people with many puppets (e.g. 20) - but know it slows down a lot with puppet complexity. I generally only have a few (plus background which is static). But its driven by my needs of the scene, not CH limits.
  • How many scenes in a project? My hobby project was creating 5 to 10 minute videos. I created one project per video (I did not put 5 videos in the same project). It just felt logical, and I do suspect project will get at least a bit slower as the number of scenes increases. I suspect the number of puppets in a scene and the complexity of puppets has a bigger impact on performance. I guess I went with one video per project as well to guarantee the same puppet was used in all scenes, but limit the loss if anything did go wrong.
  • How many scenes per project? My 10 minute video style had a new scene every 10 seconds or so - so I had lots of short scenes. For my video I was changing the camera angle a lot, starting a new scene each time. Others I know may have the one scene lasting one or more minutes. I found short scenes helpful though - I render each one to a video file separately, then join using Prem Pro. Separate short scenes meant I could re-render individual scenes to make changes faster (no need to re-render long scenes or the whole video). But I would think changes of location or camera angle are what will drive the start of a new scene.
  • How many layers in a PSD file? The PSD file complexity does make a difference to performance. You need a certain number of them due to the layers having to align with the CH puppet rigging structure. I do have many more layers because my artwork was created with Adobe Draw (on ipad) and it created separate layers for every pen stroke. I merged some, but I think CH automaticallly merges them itself. I *suspect* it is the number of *meshes* (independent layers) that makes more difference, but never tested it. My puppet with all the strokes had hundreds (maybe thousands) of layers as a result. I often merged layers plus reduced the number of points in a shape to improve performance due to Draw no doing it for me.
  • Running out of keys for triggers - it depends. It does indicate a complex puppet, but it depends - do you have 5 triggers you always use together? If so, I would consider merging them into one trigger (a trigger can have multiple layers). It does seem a lot, which could impact performance a bit. I think it may be the number of layers (not number of visible layers) that impacts performance.
  • Compare your puppet maybe to the sample puppets to see if more complex?
  • Do more behaviors reduce performance? Depends on the behaviors I think. Gravity and dangles I am sure have more impact than cycle layers for example. There is just more CPU required. You can delete behaviors you don't need.

 

For me, since I used Adobe Illustrator with Adobe Draw, I did spend some time "simplifying" puppet artwork. Draw might have put one hundred points along an hand drawn line segment - simplification could reduce that tenfold in many cases. Also merging separate layers of the same color etc also reduced layers. But I never really knew if it improved performance.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 30, 2020 Jan 30, 2020

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience!
I should have said that my puppets are originally made on a paper (watercolor illustration) and scanned into Photoshop.
Also, I use this for live performance (streaming on Twitch.)

I'm not really good with computer, so I'm not sure what caused to lose data.
I was checking history to go back a few steps, and boom! one of my folders and some puppets are gone.
I checked back history again, and looked like it went back to a few days ago.
and I couldn't find any recovering file maybe since the program wasn't really force quit.
Also.. I really shoudn't have relaid on auto save.. yea.. I guess I had to learn this in a painful way.

But thank you so much for all the tips!
I will check if I can merge some layers together on .psd files and go over behaviors as well!
And I will separate the project into two to see if it makes it any better! (it was getting confusing to have all the puppets and sounds even with folders anyways)

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