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Feature Focus: Body Tracker

Adobe Employee ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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Live-perform character animation using your body. Powered by Adobe Sensei, Body Tracker automatically detects human body movement using a web cam and applies it to your character in real time to create animation. For example, you can track your arms, torso, and legs automatically.

 

 

Get started now with an example puppet

  1. Download the Hopscotch_Body Tracking puppet.
  2. Open Character Animator (Beta), choose File > Import, and then select the downloaded .puppet file.
  3. Click the Add to New Scene button at the bottom of the Project panel to create a scene for the puppet.
  4. In the Camera & Microphone panel, make sure the Camera Input button (camera_input.png) and Body Tracker Input button (body_tracker_input.png) are both turned on. If off (gray), click it to enable that input.
  5. Now try moving your body, waving your arms, and if you’re far enough from the camera to see your lower body, raising your feet. Body tracking is that simple!

Additional example puppets are available for you to try out.

 

Control body tracking

Puppets that respond to body tracking use the Body behavior. When a puppet track is selected in the Timeline panel, the Properties panel shows the Body behavior (among others) that is applied to the puppet. It is this behavior that allow you to customize how the Body Tracker works. For example:

  • Set When Tracking Stops to how you want the tracked parts of your puppet’s body to move when your body can’t be tracked for some reason, such as if your legs or arms move out of view from the camera. Hold in Place keeps the tracked handles where they last were before tracking was lost. The Return to Rest and Snap to Rest options, instead, will move the handles to the default state of the artwork, with the former option allowing you to control how fast it moves back with the Return Speed value, whereas the latter option moves back immediately.
  • Select the specific Tracked Handles on your puppet that you want to be controlled by your body movement. By default, just the wrists are tracked.

When you want to capture your body tracking performance to later export to a movie file or use in an After Effects or Premiere Pro project, you’ll want to record the performance (Help documentation on recording in Character Animator).

 

Set up your own puppet for body tracking

The Body behavior lets you control your puppet’s arms, legs, and torso by moving your body in front of your web cam. When you use the Body behavior, be sure to also have the Face behavior applied to control the position of the character and to track your facial expressions. You can also use the Limb IK behavior to prevent limb stretching, inconsistent arm bending, and foot sliding.

 

Setup

After importing your artwork into Character Animator, do the following steps to rig the puppet so that the Body Tracker can control it:

  1. Open the puppet in Rig mode.
  2. In the Properties panel’s Behaviors section, click “+”, and then add the Body behavior.
  3. Create tagged handles for the different parts of the body’s artwork so that the Body behavior can control their movements:
  • Arms: Move the origin handle to the shoulder area from where the arm should rotate; but do not tag it as “Shoulder” directly on the arm. You’ll want to tag your shoulders and hips one level higher in your puppet hierarchy – commonly the Body folder or the view folder (e.g., Frontal) – to keep your limbs attached during body tracking.
    Now, add handles at the locations of the elbow and wrist and apply the Left/Right Elbow and Left/Right Wrist tags to the handles.
  • Legs: Like the arms, move the origin handle of the leg to the hip area, but do not tag it as “Hip” directly on the leg. Add tagged handles for Left Knee, Left Heel, and Left Toe to the left leg and foot, and the Right Knee, Right Heel, and Right Toe tags to the handles on the right leg and foot.
  • Shoulders & Hips: The Shoulder and Hip handles should be on the body, not on the limbs. Select the parent group containing your limbs and add handles in the same shoulder and hip positions as the arm and leg origin handles. You’ll see green dots from the limbs where you can place them, or you can copy/paste the handles directly from the limbs to position them exactly. It should work fine either way. Tag these handles as Right Shoulder, Left Shoulder, Right Hip, and Left Hip.

 

Note: Body and Walk behaviors on the same puppet might cause issues because both want to control the same handles. If you do have both behaviors applied, consider turning off the Body behavior when animating walk cycles, and turning off Walk when doing general body animation. The Body behavior should work fine in side and 3/4 views.

 

Controls

This behavior has the following parameters:

  • When Tracking Stops controls how the puppet moves when the camera cannot track your body, such as if you moved out of view. Hold in place keeps the untracked body parts at the same place that they were last tracked. Return to rest moves the untracked body parts gradually to their original locations; use with the Return Speed parameter. Snap to rest moves them quickly to their original locations.
  • Return Speed controls how quickly untracked body parts return to their resting locations. This setting is available when the When Tracking Stops parameter is set to Return to rest.
  • Tracked Handles controls which of the tagged handles should be controlled by the Body Tracker. There are separate controls for the neck, the joints on the left and right arms, and the joints on the left and right legs.

 

Troubleshooting

If you’re getting unexpected tracking results, try calibrating the Body Tracker, as follows:

  • Click the Set Rest Pose button in the Camera & Microphone panel; when Body Tracker Input is on, Set Rest Pose will show a five-second countdown so that you can move back from the camera to get your entire body into view
  • Click the Refresh Scene button (refresh_scene.png) in the Scene panel, when Body Tracker Input is on
  • Turn on Camera Input, when Body Tracker Input is also on
  • Turn on Body Tracker Input 

 

The overall positioning of the character comes from face tracking. As such, if you notice issues such as floating feet, choppy movement, and/or not enough horizontal movement, consider checking the following:

  • lighting on your face
  • starting head position when you click Set Rest Pose 
  • Face behavior’s Head Position Strength setting

 

As with face tracking, the darker lighting conditions in the room can reduce the quality of the tracking and introduce jittery movement. Try to have adequate lighting when tracking your body.

 

If the arms are not moving, make sure both of your shoulders are being tracked in the camera.

 

Known issues and limitations

Body Tracker is still in development.

 

In this first public Beta version (v4.3.0.38), please note the following:

  • Foot position might slide or jump around unexpectedly.
  • The Walk and Body behaviors do not cooperate well since they are both trying to operate on the same handles simultaneously.
  • When your body moves outside of the camera’s view, the bone structure overlay stays visible in the Camera & Microphone panel

 

What we want to know

We want to hear about your experience with Body Tracking:

  • What are your overall impressions?
  • Are you able to control your puppet’s movement the way you want?
  • Have you found interesting ways to use the Body Tracker?
  • Which Body behavior parameters and handles did you find useful or not useful?
  • How can we improve the Body Tracker?

 

Also, we’d love to see what you create with Body Tracker. Share your animations on social media with the #CharacterAnimator hashtag.

 

Thank you! We’re looking forward to your feedback.

 

 

(Use this Beta forum thread to discuss the Body Tracker and share your feedback with the Character Animator team and other Beta users. If you encounter a bug, let us know by posting a reply here or choosing “Report a bug” from the “Provide feedback” icon in the top-right corner of the app.)

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Community Beginner ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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My creative cloud won't let me download the new update. Is there a way to refresh it so it knows to look for an update?

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Adobe Employee ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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Are you not seeing the Beta apps category in the left sidebar of the Creative Cloud desktop app? If so, try one of the following:

  • Choose Help > Check for updates
  • Sign out of the Creative Cloud desktop app, then sign back in

Hopefully one of those will show Character Animator (Beta) in the Beta apps category.

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New Here ,
May 26, 2021 May 26, 2021

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Hi,

 

 I have done with the steps you provided but I have cannot see the latest vesrion of beta. please help. thanks.

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New Here ,
May 26, 2021 May 26, 2021

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is that the problem of trial version?

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New Here ,
May 17, 2021 May 17, 2021

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Hi hi excited for this, when is the official release date and will there be a price increase?

 

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Thanks. We don't have any official release date in mind yet - it all depends on how the beta feedback goes! And pricing for the CC All Apps plan is set by Adobe, so our small team doesn't deal with that area. Hope that helps!

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New Here ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Hi .

I'm  getting  "  couldn't find required item at project path "/Sbehaviours/adobe.body.js  "  error . 

Please help me out

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Be sure you're using the latest Beta build -- the Version and Build number in the menu bar should say "Version 4.3 (Build 38)" (or any build number after 38). If you are still seeing Build 33 or a Version number before 4.3, please try updating to the latest Beta build, as follows:

  1. Quit Character Animator (Beta).
  2. In the Creative Cloud desktop app, choose Help > Check for updates.
  3. In the Updates section of the Creative Cloud desktop app, hopefully you see the updated version. If so, click Update.
  4. If you don't see an updated version, try signing out of the Creative Cloud desktotp app and then signing back in.

 

Hope this helps.

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New Here ,
May 26, 2021 May 26, 2021

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Hi, where can I donwload the Beta 4.3? I can only download the Beta 4.2 from the adobe webiste. I also get this warning.  Thanks

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New Here ,
May 26, 2021 May 26, 2021

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I have done your steps a several times but I cannot see any update version in creative cloud. Please help . Thanks. 

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Adobe Employee ,
May 27, 2021 May 27, 2021

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It doesn't look like the warning information was postede to the forum. Can you retry or type out the warning message in text?

 

One thing you could try is to uninstall Character Animator (Beta), choose Help > Check for updates, then reinstall Character Animator (Beta). The latest Beta version is 4.4. Does that work?

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New Here ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Im hoping someone can help. I have downloaded the Beta version, gave permissions for the camera, mic etc.. but still being presented with this error. If anyone has any advice that would be great. 

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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I also had this issue - don't worry just click the three little lines next to 'camera and microphone' and make sure your primary camera is selected. For some reason it was trying to look for camtwist for me. Hope this helps - have fun :

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Check if you have the correct camera source selected by clicking the panel menu (the three small lines next to the "Camera & Microphone" panel name). A list of deetected cameras are listed, so just make sure the one you want is active.

 

Another thing to check is if you have another app in the background (like Zoom or other video conferencing software, or video capture software) already using the camera. If so, quit any other apps that might be using the camera, and then toggle the Camera Input button at the bottom of the Camera & Microphone panel to see if that helps.

 

Also, when Character Animator (Beta) isn't running, you can test to see if a camera source can be used by Character Animator by using the built-in OS camera app -- Photo Booth on macOS, Camera app on Windows -- to see if it can recognize your camera.

 

Hope this helps. If Character Animator (Beta) still fails to recognize your camera, please reply with the screenshot of the Camera & Microphone panel's menu that shows the available camera sources, along with info your specific OS version number. Thanks.

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Contributor ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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This update is absolutely tremendous and all seems to be working excatly as expected 🙌👏🙌

Thoughts
It's certainly not a deal-breaker but it might prove handy to have some manner of zoom (via scrollwheel, perhaps) for the input camera when recording seated animations.

It's probably just me, but I found that with 'enthusthiastic' gesticulation there was a tendency for my elbows to stray out of range. Not a problem if I move either my chair, or my cumputer back a bit... but it'd be cool to just be able to quickly frame the movement area in camera via a scroll or click 🙂

As said, though... def not vital!

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Contributor ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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*computer!

(can't seem to find a way to edit my post)

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Contributor ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh... and *exactly, not excatly!

That's me waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too excited about providing feedback to properly proof read!

 

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Do you see a "... More" command along the bottom of your message? If so, does clicking it show an Edit Reply command?

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Contributor ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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That facility doesn't appear for me, I'm afraid... but a quick search flagged up that Adobe has removed the edit function for all bar certain approved forum members; so, mystery solved 🙂

Not a problem... hopefully it'll just make me less lazy when it comes to checking before posting [frantically scans this message for howlers! 😉].

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Contributor ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Oooooooo! Has someone from on-high 'approved' me? The 'more' (edit reply) button now shows up at the foot of my posts 🙌

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Is there a behavior that needs to applied to hip and legs? I have applied Body and Limb IK to the top character  level and added Limb IK to both arms and legs individually. I have reset body pose and still cannot get the lower half of the body (hips and legs) to motion track. What am I missing?

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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I found Tracked Handles  and selected all the handles I wanted to track - BINGO! Everything I want to track now tracks but for some reason I cannot record - is record disabled for the beta?

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Adobe Employee ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Glad you found tracked handles. Good to know that a character with multiple Limb IK behavior instances is still working - I think for all our examples they only have it at the top level.

 

Recording should be working - if it isn't, what do you see happening? If you can post a screenshot or video that would help us isolate the bug and fix it. Thanks!

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Thank you for the quick reply. Well not sure a screen shot or video would show anything more than what I can tell you. I press the record button I see the blue timer indicator and hear the beep count three times then nothing even the puppet freezes until I stop record. I went back to Character Animator 2021 to test record and it still works there.  I am sure having fun with the creativeness and freedom this feature will give us animators - so thank you so very much.

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