What is your process for animating multiple characters interacting together in a scene?

Explorer ,
Sep 22, 2021 Sep 22, 2021

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I've rigged up a few animations using just 1 character each, but now I'm working on a personal project that involves lots of different characters. They're all rigged and ready to go. I have the first 2 minutes finished but it was a mess trying to come up with an efficient workflow.

 

The scene has 4 characters interacting together. They are smart objects in Photoshop, but otherwise 900x1000 pixels in size. Yet the program started crashing and freezing almost once an hour around the 1:30 minute mark.

 

I figured maybe there were too many characters on the scene, so I tried splitting them up into individual scenes, one per character. That in itself was a mess because you can't copy audio over from the timeline, but whatever, I can work around that. The biggest issues were that 1) it took forever to switch from scene to scene (not terribly long, but the program definitely hangs when you're trying to open another scene; there doesn't seem to be a way to cache them or keep them in tabs along the top for quick loading?), and 2) scene-in-a-scene is a little useless because I can't transform the x/y coordinates of the scene...? I put it in and there's no further editing to it? Like moving one scene next to another scene so the characters are actually talking to each other?

 

I'm also using After Effects, and have totally given up on the dynamic linking if I wanted to actually get any work done. So slow.

 

It just feels really hard to make this cartoon with multiple characters interacting with each other, and I'm wondering if someone has better ideas?

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FAQ , Freeze or hang , Tips and tricks

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 22, 2021 Sep 22, 2021

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You might find the Complete Cartoon Workflow video from @oksamurai useful. He discusses the process for creating a cartoon with multiple characters, cameras, etc. from start to finish. Here's the link: Complete Cartoon Workflow (Adobe Character Animator Tutorial) - YouTube

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Explorer ,
Sep 22, 2021 Sep 22, 2021

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Thank you!! At first I thought this video was overkill for me since I know how to do the basics, but looking closer now, it looks like much more than that 🙂 I'll give it a watch!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 22, 2021 Sep 22, 2021

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I know it's rather long, but it's divided into sections so if you want to skip ahead, you can do so rather easily.

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Adobe Employee ,
Sep 22, 2021 Sep 22, 2021

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Yep, the video @TheOriginalGC mentions is probably the best. If dynamic link is running slow I talk about some preview resolution tips there, or just do a PNG sequence + WAV export from CH instead which should be much faster.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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I've wached the complete workflow a couple times so far, but I still don't get how you know the distance Nintendo has to walk. If I don't have the setup yey, how do I know where to place each character?

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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ps: I am responsible for all the Ch's part of the process but another pearson is responsible for putting it all toguether at Ae

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Adobe Employee ,
Jan 31, 2022 Jan 31, 2022

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So for Switch it was a bit of trial and error process. I made a long horizontal scene and had him walk on and stop at a certain point during his dialogue. Then I tried putting it in AE and seeing how it worked in terms of timing, coming from the side of the screen, following the camera movements, where he stopped, etc. And then went back into CH and made adjustments, esepcially the walk position keyframes, to get it right. It will require a bit of back and forth between CH and AE but it's not too bad.

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