I’ve been experimenting with this relatively new Adobe app. It’s an app to create expressive character animation from 2d artwork using facial expressions and synchronizing mouth movement to speech using a web cam and mic. Movement is controlled with mouse, trackpad or wacom. If I had a touch sensitive tablet/laptop I could control two parts at the same time.
First I had to learn how to structure my 2d artwork before importing it into Character Animator. I prefer to draw my characters in Illustrator but found using layers and sublayers to structure the results for autorigging in Character Animator was not working for me. I ended up copying and pasting parts out of Illustrator into Photoshop where it’s a lot easier to create Layer Groups and sub groups. A bit laborious but it works fine and it gave me time to check that I had all the parts I needed.
I also tried rigging a puppet directly in Character Animator which was easy. Luckily it's possible to record in stages for different parts of a puppet and to delete naff bits and start again. I quickly realised too that its best to turn off the mic to avoid the sound of keyboard clicks etc.
Exporting the finished animation creates a series of sequential pngs, with wav files and an xml file and there are options for video only, audio only or the composite sound and image video. The pngs can be imported into After Effects but I found that the included script in After Effects is corrupt so had to import the pngs and the audio file directly. This worked ok but it would have been nice to have a script do the work for me. I also tried importing the xml file into Adobe Media Encoder and converted it to mp4 format which works fine.
There are quite a few tutorials on the adobe website https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2044263 and some demo files that can be downloaded to get started with. https://forums.adobe.com/docs/DOC-6029
I was going to attempt a short first animation on doing my yoga practice but on learning of the death of Maurice White of Earth Wind and FIre and hearing the music…. well… how could I resist? (Note to self - learn how to trim audio properly!)