Adobe Character Animator Interface
The Adobe Character Animator Interface is very friendly. At the first stage, you need to understand a few basic things:
There are three program modes – Rig, Record, and Stream.
If you click on Rig, you can edit the settings of the puppet in the programs Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator.
Animation is recorded in the recording mode.
And in streaming mode, you broadcast. During the broadcast, viewers can see your puppet instead of you. It synchronizes your voice with your lips and simulates your expressions and movements in real time.
Triggers and Draggers. Character Animator has several options that help you create ready-made movements and actions.
The program has various hand gestures that can be changed with a simple mouse click on the keyboard. You can click and it can automatically make your puppet give a thumbs up. These are the so-called triggers.
Draggers are points that you can control the puppet with. When you place the dragger on your puppet’s hand, you can move the hand anywhere by clicking on the hand with the cursor. With this function, you can point at something or make any other movements you want.
Lip sync and expression – these functions are automated. The only thing you need is a microphone, a webcam and a property named pipe file.
After recording your scene, it will add lip sync, movements and expressions to the timeline of the video.
Then you can modify the recording and the pre-recorded parts of it until you get exactly what you want.
Also on the right side of the software you will find the Properties panel, where you can choose which specific elements (lip sync, movement, expressions, eye movement, etc.) should be recorded and which properties can be changed.
Timeline – The timeline of your animation is very powerful and easy to use.
You can change your recordings on it without having to record them again. Choose which part of the entire animation you want to export.
Use it to choose which of your puppets you want to control, or to create a smoother animation. On the timeline, you can change everything in the animation, such as the duration of triggers, dragging,
changing lip sync, character position, camera zoom, and much, much more.
Preparing a puppet template Adobe Character Animator Interface
If you want to use a ready-made puppet, then just download it and extract the zip file.
Launch Adobe Character Animator and create a “New Project”.
Then go to menu > import and select file .puppet.
You can also choose any of the proposed puppets in the program Adobe Character
How to create your own puppet
Instead of using ready-made puppet, you can create your own. To do this, you will need software to illustrate the characters, as well as some additional resources.
First let’s discuss some technical details. Adobe Character Animator works with dolls created in Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. To do this, you need to prepare your cartoon character in one of these software options.
After creating the illustration, you will need to prepare the file according to the requirements of the character animator so that the puppet can work properly.
The structure of the puppet file in Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop
+CharacterName – it should have a plus sign and the name of your puppet. And in Adobe Illustrator, your entire layer should be called the same.
And inside this group and in the Adobe Illustrator layer you should have two different groups:
Head – In the head group you should have the following groups named exactly as follows:
- Left eye
- Right eye
- +Left eyebrow
- +Right eyebrow
You can also have hair, a face, a beard, glasses, a hat or something else that is on your head. But their names are not important to the software.
Body – There should be groups in the body group:
- +left arm
- +right arm
- torso and legs
You can also add other groups and elements. The names of your body groups are not important to the software.
But it will be better for you to animate your hands and body if they are structured in this way.
Puppet in Adobe Photoshop:
Grouping – Your cartoon doll should be grouped very definitely strictly by the image.
Your entire puppet should be in the same group in Photoshop or just like in a layer in Illustrator with a “+” sign and the name of the puppet.
You should also have separate head and body groups. And in them, each individual element in different groups should be prepared inside.
For example, the doll will not work correctly if you make your right eye with the right eyebrow in the same group called “right eye”.
Naming – You must use strictly defined names for all groups.
The program should also understand these groups, for example; head, body, mouth (uh, r, oh, w-oo, s, f, l, ee, ah, d, m, smile. surprised, neutral), + left eyebrow, + right eyebrow, left eye, + left pupil, left blink and so on.
Also, in addition to the main elements, you can come up with your own names for elements such as hair, nose, right ear.left ear, etc.
Left and right – also some elements should be grouped using “left” and “right” in the name. This is important for the proper movement of the eyes, pupils and eyebrows.for dynamic elements, a “+” must also be placed before the name of the elements that should be dynamic.
In order for the pupils of the eyes to move in accordance with your eyes, you should call it “+ left pupil”.
Elements, a “+” must also be placed before the name of the elements that should be dynamic.
For example, in order for the pupils of the eyes to move in accordance with your eyes, you should call it “+ left pupil”.
Well, you can adapt this to your needs – you can also make your character’s hairstyle, which should also be marked with a “+” in the name of the hairstyle.
Import background to the scene
Of course, you will need a background for your animation.
There are many places on the internet where you can find free or paid background images and illustrations for your animation.
In order to add a background to your project, you just need to import it using menu > import.
After your preparation of all the material, you have imported your doll and background, now let’s start the process and switch to recording mode (at the top of the software).
How to start animating in Adobe Character Animator
Select the puppet that you have imported into your project
Next, click on the “Add Scene” button in the lower left corner of the project panel.
Next, in order to add a background to your scene, simply drag it to the panel “Timeline”.
To start making animations, just select your doll on the timeline and click on the Record button (Ctrl+R).
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