First post here, so if I do anything wrong, forgive me.
So I have these diferent puppets that I'm trying to make a scene with (11). I don't know why, but some, when I create them in the scene, they get their faces all weird and distorted. The mouth, eye and eyebrow tracking work fine with them, it's just... a visual glitch? Why does this happen only to some of them? I have determined that it's not because of any dangling point being misplaced and the heads origins are fine. Can someone help me? I can't seem to solve it even refreshing the scene won't work.
I've put some of them side by side for comparison.
Thanks in advance!
If you put them in a scene by themselves, i assume the same happens? It is usually due to a rigging error.
Do they look like that when you drop them into a scene for the first time? What changes do you make that make them go funny? If webcam is off, do they look better? Understanding what action causes the distortion can help a lot track down the problem. Start with one puppet, get it going , then look at the next.
They look like that when I drop then in, yeah. By themselves and in a group. It's always the same ones, too. Doesn't mattter if the webcam is on or off, they're still likr that. If I speak something, the software reacts with the lipsynching as it normally would, just with the image all distorted. I've looked at their illustrator files, to see if there was some wrong layer configuration that I'd missed, but eveerything normal there too. Finally, I tried to simply delete them from the project and add them again, and upon dropping them in the scene with no behaviors aside from those that are assigned by default they seem fine. Their art is ok, no longer distorted... Everything looks fine. It seems like it was just a crazy bug? Now if only I had a way of copying the behaviours and pins and stuff from the bugged version to this new one it would be awesome, but I don't think it's possible...
I'm still wondering what Character Animator did to cause these distortions tough.
Distortions are frequently caused by tagging problems. Layers generally should only be controlled by one thing. If 2 things, one wins over the other. Eg normally fave behavior wants to move head around, but if something else tries to take over, part of the face stops moving. But if you drop into a scene with webcam off and it starts strange... that is something I don't recall seeing before.
in scene window at bottom there is a button to show yellow mesh. It can help spot which part of puppet is going strange. I then delete and undo to see if I can track down layer (and tag /handle on layer) is causing the problem.
last resort if you want to export puppet and share via google drive etc happy to have a quick look. I will be doing the above. Delete part, check, undo, delete next part, check, undo, ... then try to work out why a particular layer is causing a problem.
So I did what I wrote above and was happy... Until I again added all the behaviours and stuff and dropped the strange puppets into the scene. - they are messed up again! Ok now I'm sure there must be something about the layers. Maybe the mouth groups are weird, but I don't know how to spot it if they are, it's just a hunch. I'll send all the strange puppets and one of the ones that work for you to look at. It's getting frustating to have the same problem over and over again!...
I normally ask for a screenshot of the rigging as a first step. Not sure why I did not this time. Most of the problems are pretty easy. In particular, you need to use independence on a number of your layers.
Rename "Left Eyebrow" to "+Left Eyebrow". The leading "+" will put the independence tag on for you automatically. (You can do it by hand as well - click the little crown icon next to the eye icon, but using "+" avoids having to redo it if you import the puppet again later). Repeat for Right Eyebrow, Mouth, Sad Mouth, Left Eye, Right Eye, Left Pupil, and Right Pupil. This will fix most of your problems. (See https://extra-ordinary.tv/2018/04/21/debugging-character-animator-eyess/ for background reading.)
Also in the Mouth layer, you should only have children layers with the same names as the viseme tags if you want auto-tagging to work. You had some other names there, and no "Neutral", "Surprised", or "Smile" layers. You can tag them manually, but auto-tagging is your friend! The names to use are over in the tag area in properties.
Also, for Cycle Layers for visemes, make sure you click "hold on last layer". W-oo did not have it turned on so the mouth disappeared after the cycles played.
With indepdence turned on most of the problems went away. Not sure why it was so extreme to be honest, but it fixed the problems!!
Oh my God it worked!!!
Thank you so, so much! I'm still new at using this program, so things like these happen.
You saved my work! Yay!
I just noticed another issue you might hit. You put "dangle" on the bits of hair at the side of the head, but there are no sticks there and the hair strands are not independent. This will cause the hair AND head it is attached to to distort. Normally you put some sticks down the side of the head to try and limit the distortion, or better move the left and right strands of hair into two separate layers overlapping the head. Call them +Left Hair and +Right Hair or something like that. Then attach those groups with "Weld" attach type (suggested) to the head and put the dangle on the Left/Right Hair layers. That way the dangling hair will not distort the rest of the head.
An important (and confusing) concept in CH is the separation of "mesh" from "layer". Layers are important, but meshes are too. The "+" for independence starts a new mesh. Children mesh are attached to parent meshes and follow them, but distortions on the child mesh never affect the parent. So it makes them (somewhat) independent to their parent.
You cannot go crazy and use independence everywhere - it will break the puppet. But the occasional use in key spots where things like "eye blinks and pupil movements should not affect the rest of the face" is where you want them. E.g. do you want head movements to move the body? Often yes, sometimes no. If no, then make the head independent and the body won't move from the Face behavior.
(You might know, but I missed saying for the side strands of hair, when independent you have to drag the origin of the hair over the main head to define where it attaches, which is why the hair should be drawn to overlap the head a bit - so you have a place to attach them to each other.
The eyes and pupils default the origin to the center of the artwork, which is fine for them. But hair you want to attach at the top end of the strands of hair (not the middle of the strands of hair), so you need to adjust the origin for them yourself.
Ah, I see.
Thanks for the fast replies!