One of the methods for creating animation in Adobe Character Animator is through the use of the computer’s built-in webcam. Character Animator maps your face and uses it to drive animation. In this video, author Ian Robinson demonstrates how to use a webcam to animate a character in Character Animator.
- I would venture a guess to say that the primary method for creating animation in Character Animator is through the use of a camera. I know for me personally, that was the single most exciting feature when I saw that application in use. Now we're starting in the Rig workspace because I want to draw your attention to the fact that we have three sub-puppets that make up this character. So if we look in our Layers section here, we have our main Character puppet, and then underneath we have our Right Profile, and then we have a Left Profile, and then we have our Frontal view of our character.
Now typically, whenever you place a character into the scene you need to do some troubleshooting when you go to control that character with the camera. Because sometimes, some of the tags may not translate, or the model itself may not be behaving quite the way you would expect. So let's see what this model looks like, I'm going to go to the Record workspace. And I'll start by enabling my Camera & Microphone. And notice I have red dots that have appeared on my face, but sometimes you may not have that, you may just have a circle and it'll tell you to set your rest pose.
Just to make sure everything's squared away properly, I am going to go ahead and set my rest pose, so I'll look directly at the camera, pause for a second, and then click the Set Rest Pose button. Okay, so that just allows calibration based on where my head is and what my specific face looks like. All right, now obviously my character's a little large in the scene, so what I'll do is go down to the Transform options here underneath my Properties, and I'll scale him down.
And if you scrub on the y-parameter, we can go ahead and scrub to the right here a little bit, and just reposition him in the scene. Now you notice in order to control my character, it is tracking my face with the camera, and if I tilt my head left and right, his head really isn't tilting as much as his body is following, so we need to troubleshoot that with some pins. And also I'm noticing the eyebrows aren't quite moving, so let's go into the Rig workspace and troubleshoot.
So here in the Rig workspace, I'll start by trying to address the feet floating. So let's go down to our toolbar here and grab the Pin tool, and click once in the middle of each foot. And that'll fix the feet in their current position. Now let's make sure to grab our Selection tool, and open up the Frontal group of layers. Because in the Head section here, I want to click on the Eyebrows. And sure enough, the Eyebrows are here, and they are set to independently warp, but if you notice over here in the Properties section under Tags, they aren't tagged.
So let's go ahead and click once on each of the different eyebrows, so now as I move my eyebrows up and down, these eyebrows will move. So if we go to the Record workspace one more time, now you notice my eyebrows are driving the animation, if I tilt my head, oh look, his body isn't quite doing what I expected. Well, let's go back and double-check our rig. I'm going to go back to the Rig workspace. It looks like the pins didn't quite take, oh wait, you know what, the pins did take, but look at what happened.
I didn't select what group of layers I'd like to add those pins to before I added it, so it added it to the topmost group, which is this Right Profile, which I definitely don't want. So I'm going to go ahead and click on one pin, and just press Delete, and I'll click on the other pin, and press Delete. Okay, now let's make sure we're in the Frontal section, and click on the Body, and now with that selected, I can grab my Pin tool here and click once for this foot, and once for that foot, and if we grab our Selection tool and jump back to the Record workspace, you can see now his feet are solidly anchored on the ground.
As I blink my eyes, his eyes will blink. As I look around, it's tracking my pupils. Notice how the pupils are jutting out from underneath the eyeballs. That's because they're a little too sensitive, so what I'm going to do is go to the Properties section under Eye Gaze, and expand that, and I'll adjust the camera strength down. So I'll bring it down to a value of around 50%. Okay, 51%, there we go.
So now you notice, as I look around, up and down, his pupils aren't shooting out the bottom of his eyeballs. So whenever you're using the camera to control the puppet, you may have to go into some of the different settings here under your behaviors to kind of tweak things and adjust things. Now, the last thing I want to tell you is, you can use a Behavior to actually switch between each of the different sub-puppets. So let me show you how to do that.
I'm going to go right here to the Behaviors section, and I'll click on the plus button. And what I want to do is add the Head Turner behavior. And when I do that, I'll scroll down here and see where it's been added, oh, there it is. So here's my Head Turner behavior, and if I move my head to the left, it's automatically switching to the other profile, I switch to the right, there's the other profile. I can go ahead and adjust the sensitivity here, and bring that down, so now I have to turn my head a little bit more before it actually rotates.
But as you can see, when it comes to actually creating animation with your characters and using the camera to drive that animation, there is a very give and take relationship between the camera driving the animation and the properties and the different behavior settings. So don't be afraid to jump back and forth between the Rig workspace and the Record workspace, and definitely don't be afraid to jump into the Properties section and bring the sensitivity of some of the behaviors down to better make your model behave the way you want it to.
- Using face tracking to drive animation
- Mapping keyboard keys to drive poses
- Driving poses with a mouse
- Adding physics to animation
- Creating lip-sync animation
- Creating custom characters