Adobe Character Animator for Beginners - Head - Eyes - Eyebrows | Gregory Forster | Skillshare

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Adobe Character Animator for Beginners - Head - Eyes - Eyebrows

teacher avatar Gregory Forster, Teaching Adobe Character Animator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (44m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Eye Gaze Settings

    • 3. Face Settings

    • 4. Pupil Movement

    • 5. Head Independence

    • 6. Alternate Pupil Style

    • 7. Blinking

    • 8. Eyebrows

    • 9. Best Settings & Troubleshooting

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About This Class

We will use a Photoshop file to rig up a character in Adobe Character Animator.

We will learn two different styles of making the pupils move.

We will learn two different styles of head movement.

We will use triggers and cycle layers to make him blink.

We will learn how to rig the eyebrows.

We will also go through all the settings in the Face panel and the Eye Gaze panel and see what each setting does.

Meet Your Teacher

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Gregory Forster

Teaching Adobe Character Animator


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1. Intro: We're going to learn two different styles for the pupils. We're going to learn how to get the eyebrows moving. We're going to make a nice, beautiful look in Blink right there. We're gonna make two different styles for the hit. One is dependent on the others independent. And we're gonna go through all the settings in the face panel, in the eye gaze panel. When I was learning character animator, The one thing I wanted more than anything was to be able to ask a human being a question about it. So I could as Google, I could ask you to. But it gets tiring after a while asking the internet. So that's what I want this class to be. I want it to be a place where you can ask a human being. That's me. Anything, any question you have about character animator. So if you get stuck or you have any questions at all, ask them in the class discussion. And the best way to do it is to post your puppet file along with your question. To make a puppet file. While you're in character animator, go up to File Export and choose puppet. Save it as a puppet. And what that does is it wraps the character animator file in the Photoshop file or Illustrator file together. It wraps them together so that I can see both. Because if you send me just the Photoshop file, I don't know how it's rigged. And character animator, if you send me just the character animator file, I don't know how it looks in Photoshop, so this is the best way to do it. It combines them both. So post your Puppet files with your questions and I will answer them for you. 2. Eye Gaze Settings: The eye gaze is currently set to work with camera input. So that's taking it from your webcam. Changed the eye gaze to mouse and touch input. You can drag the mouse around to control the eyes. Now, keyboard input. And this lets you control the pupil movement with the arrows on your keyboard. This is my favorite way to do it. Now I'm going to use the guy on the left as the default settings and change the settings for the guy on the right. So you can see how they change and you can compare them. Smoothing is how quickly the pupils move to their spot. A low number is quickly, and a high number, they move slowly. The strength is how far the pupils move. The higher the number, the farther they move. Depending on if you're using the camera or the mouse or the keyboard, you have to adjust the strength of each independently. If you are using the camera or the mouse and snap eye gaze is checked, then the pupil can move in one of eight directions, up, down, left, or right. And then the midpoints in-between those directions. If it's unchecked, it has free range to go anywhere 360 degrees. I recommend leaving it checked. The last setting is in the face section, but it has to do with the eyes. And it's eyelid strength. You can see when I blink, the character blinks. If you want that, then that's good. But if you want to turn it off, you can change eyelid strength to 0%. And if you want it back on, change eyelid strength to 100% 3. Face Settings: The face settings all depend on your personal preference and the character you're trying to make. There is no correct way to do it. It's up to you. The left character, we'll have default settings. And now we'll change the guy on the right. So you can see the changes. If pose to pose is at 0%, the head will move free range. It will move one-to-one with your movements on the webcam, there'll be lots of little movements picked up. If pose to pose is 100%, it will move only after oppose has been made. Smoothing will adjust how smoothly the head moves to its new pose. The higher the number, the slower it moves. Head position. Adjust how much the head can move its position. The higher the number, the further it can move. Head scale string that just how big the head gets when you move your face towards the camera, and how small it gets when you move away from the camera. Head tilt, adjust how much the head tilts or rotates. Eyebrow strength and just how far the eyebrows move up and down. I lead strength and just how far the eyelids move. We we talked about this in the last video. We don't technically have eyelids on this puppet. So for now, just know that if you have it at a 100%, it will register a blink. If you have it at 0%. It won't register your blinks. Mouth strength, or we're going to skip for now. Parallax strength will also skip for now. It has to do with head turning. But that's a bit more advanced. Are not going to worry about that right now. Raised eyebrow tilt is how much the eyebrows tilt when going up. Lower eyebrow tilt is how much they till when going down. You have to use negative numbers for the lowered eyebrow tilt and move eyebrows together is pretty self-explanatory. Same with blink eyes together. 4. Pupil Movement: This photoshop file is available for download, so you can do it yourself or you can follow along with your own character, your own file that you've made. But here's how my file is laid out. I have named the layers so that I know what they are. But we will be changing them later so that character animator can recognize them. So let's open character animator and make a new project. In the project panel in the top left, double-click anywhere inside of it to import a file. And we'll choose our Photoshop file. Now it's been added as a puppet. We have to create a scene. So to create a scene, we're just going to drag the puppet into this main window right here. And it will create one automatically. You can see nothing is working except for the head movement. I'm under transform. Let's take the scale and move it down so that it fits the screen. Click on REG mode to go into rig mode. And we're gonna go set up the puppet. So their head movement work automatically because I named the head folder head. And that is a tag in character animator. So it mark the head folder as head. You can see it's been marked on the right panel down here as head. Now, let's set up the eyes. I'm going to go to our eyes folder. And if we didn't name the layer correctly, character animator won't automatically tag it as such. But that's okay. We're gonna learn to tag them ourselves first. And then after, we're going to go back and rename the layers in the folders so that character animator does it automatically. We have pupil, right? Or the right pupil. Now, this is the characters, right? This is not all right. This is the carrot, right? Pupil. So we come down here to this guide with the pupil layer highlighted. We click on the right pupil. We do the same with V i or the eyeball. Highlight the layer and come down here and click on the right outer. I, oops, I clicked the wrong one. It marked it as head. To cancel that you just click on the head again to deselect it. There's the right people and the right eye. There's also this other view you can use if you click the a button instead of the smiley face button. It's the same, same idea, just different style. I like the smiley face view. So I'm gonna go back to that. And let's do the same for the left die. Now let's go back into record mode and see how it looks. You can see something isn't right. When the pupils move, they pull in, kind of warp the eyeballs with it. To fix this, go back into rig mode. And we're going to click on this little crown icon here for the pupil layers. This gives then independence, meaning they move freely on their own. They won't pull or warp Any other layers below them. Independence is a very important concept in character animator. And your pupils are always going to be independent. They move on their own. Now back to record mode. In there you go. Works great. So that is the manual way to get the eyes working. You tag them yourself. A better way to do it is to name the layers accordingly so that character animator tags them automatically and we don't have to do it ourselves. Kinda like, exactly like what happened with the head in the last example. So let's go back into our Photoshop file. The tag for the right pupil is bright pupil. So Let's rename it that. And remember the independence that we gave it when we clicked on the crown. To do that in Photoshop, we put a plus sign in front of it. Do the same for the left pupil. For the eyeball part, we have to name it right? I and no independence. And the left one is left i. If we go back into our character animator file, nothing's changed. It's the same, same thing. So to show you that character, does it automatically now, I'm going to open, I'm going to make a new character animator file and show you how it does it automatically. And there we go, naming delayers correctly. Let's character animator, animator tag them automatically. And I remember I left is not the same as left. I, you have to name it exactly what character animator is looking for. There is a troubleshooting video at the end of this class because it may seem easy to get this working. But there are many problems that you can run into. So if you're getting a mistake, check out that video at the end. And hopefully it will help you. And if your pupils are going outside, the eyeball, just adjust the strength in the eye settings and that will keep them inside. 5. Head Independence: Let's fix the problem of the head, moving the whole body around. Right now our head is not independent and that's okay. But we want the body to stay still, to stay put. To do that. Go into rig mode. With your whole puppet selected. Go down to this icon toolbar and select the stick tool. This one right here. We want him to stay put sort of from the from his tie down, his time not down. So we draw out a stick all the way across as Barney, you can hold shift to make the stick horizontal. Then we come over here and we mark it as fixed. So anything below this stick will stay fixed. Go back to record mode and check it out. Maybe we can move it down a little bit. And that looks good to me, but it's up to you. It gives his upper body a sort of kinda rubbery feel. If you don't want that. If you want the head to just move on its own and not pull the body, you can mark the head as independent and it will leave the body alone. Now, when you mark something as independent, it brings up in origin point with a green line attached. Let's move that origin point down to his neck area. This is where the head will connect with the body. Make sure it's the one with the green line, not the generic head tag. You can see there are two head tags and they're different. We want the green line one. Now his body stays still, but we have to adjust some settings to make it look right. The choice of head, dependence or independence is up to your style. It's up to the character you're making. I personally use independence because I don't like when the body bends to follow the head, it looks weird to me, but it's all preference. And this guy, he's, he's a news anchor. So he's not going to be moving his body too much anyway. So I'm going to leave it independent. 6. Alternate Pupil Style: The way the pupils are now, if the strength is too high, they will go outside the eyeball. You could adjust the strength to not make them go as far. But I want to make them like real eyeballs. Where if they go too far, they just disappear behind your islands. So let's go to our Photoshop file and make the pupils bigger so we can see the effect more clearly. With the pupil layer highlighted. Hold command and press T on a Mac or hold control and press T on Windows. And that brings up transform mode. You can drag the corner now to make it bigger. If you hold all while you're dragging, it will keep the pupil in its position. It will keep the center point the same. Do the same for the left pupil. Was make him look like he's been at EDM festival. Save the file and go back to character animator. Oh, he, he lives very happy. Note how the pupils leave the eyeball. So go back to wreak mode and go to our eye folders. Highlight the pupil layer. And in the top toolbar, I apologize you can't see it on the video, but in the top toolbar and click on puppet and click create clipping mask. And this creates a clipping mask with the layer directly below it. So now the pupil is only visible within the bounds of the eyeball layer below it. Do the same for the left pupil. Go back to record mode. And Bob's, your uncle. Looks good. 7. Blinking: Now let's make them blink. In the Photoshop file, I'm going to create a layer at the top of the eye folder. I'm going to call it right blink. I'm going to use the pen tool, hit p to equip the Pen tool. Change the fill to none. Stroke is ten pixels, color black. And add a around camp. Now, add a layer underneath the line I just drew. I'm gonna hit I on my keyboard to get my eyedropper tool. And I'm gonna select my skin color. Hit B to get the brush tool equipped. Make my brush really big. You can hit the closed bracket key on your keyboard to make it bigger. Or you can adjust it up in the top toolbar and just color out the eyes. This is basically your eyelids when you close your eyes. Now, I want this eyelid color layer to be on the right blink layer. I want to combine them. So I'm going to highlight both layers. And I'm going to hold command and hit II on Mac. I'm going to hold control and hit e If I'm on Windows. And that merges the two layers. I want to copy this to the left eye. So I highlight it. And I drag it onto this little plus sign down here, and then drag it into the right folder. Rename it left blink with the layer selected cold command and hit t on Mac, control T on Windows. And now I'm in transform mode and move it over to the left eye. And I'm going to right click and choose flip horizontal. And you'll have to use the Brush tool a little bit. Again, this eye is a little bit bigger than the other eye. And there we go. We have a right blink. Left blink. Back in character animator you can see it works already. It was tagged by character animator automatically. If you don't want your blink to be activated by camera, turn the eyelids strength to 0% in the face settings. And let's go into rig mode to make a trigger for our blink. This is just another way to trigger the blink. So take left blink and drag and drop it into this Triggers panel over here. And it will create a trigger. Do the same with right blink. Let's make the one key the trigger. So now when we press and hold one, it triggers are blink. If we choose Latch. For both triggers, pressing one will arm it and pressing one again will disarm it. So 1A arm. One to disarm. No more latch. I have to hold one. Now to keep it armed. When I let go, it goes away. So we have a working blink, but it could be better. Right now. It just kinda snaps shut and snaps open. I want a smoother, more natural blink. To do that, I'm gonna create a folder in irate and I'm going to call it right blink. I'm going to move the right blink layer into the folder and rename it right blink one. I'm creating another blink layer in the same way I created the first one. This is going to be the very beginning of the Blink, the very first frame of the Blink. Command E on Mac or Control E on Windows to merge the layers. I'm naming it right blinked three. This is the beginning of the blink, right? Blink one is the end of the Blink. And I'm gonna create a right blink two That is right in the middle. Who I liked that look. Merge the layers. Now i have right blink 321. I'm going to do the same for left blink. Make the folder. Copy blink 23 and move them over. Right-click and flip horizontal. Rename them. Save my file with Command S on Mac or Control S on Windows, and go back to character animator. You'll see our triggers from last time turned orange. That's because we changed the structure of our file, our Photoshop file, and the layers that we put those triggers on are gone. So we can just delete them. I'll change the eyelids string back to 100%, since our triggers are now gone. And you can see the blink isn't quite right. Let's go to rig mode and open the right blink folder. What we want is to cycle through the layers. So we want the first layer to show, and then we want the next layer to show. And then we want the third layer to show where the eye is shut. To do that, we highlight the right blink folder and click on this plus sign here to add a behavior. And we're going to add the cycle layers behavior. In the right panel at the bottom, we have the cycle layers settings. Start when triggered is okay. We're going to have to make a trigger layer order top to bottom. That's good. Yes, we start at the top of the folder and work our way down to the bottom. And vance, every one frame is okay for now. Cycle once forward and reverse. Yes, this will cycle the blink when it closes and also when it opens back up. So forward and reverse it will cycle and hold on last layer, yes. We'll let you hold the blink shut as long as you want. And the other settings don't worry about for now. And we're gonna do the exact same for the left blink. Go back into record mode. And it works. The cycle layers works, but it looks a little weird. You can see the eyeball in the pupil disappear when blinking. So to see it more clearly, I'm going to go make it four frames. Cycle layers, settings. I'm going to make an advance every four frames and it'll be slower. So we can see this better. Once the blink gets activated, the i's disappear. We don't want that. It doesn't have because of the way the eye blink works. When the eye blink is triggered, it will set all other layers invisible. So right now it's in the right folder. When the blink triggers, it will set the right people and the right eye invisible. We want those to stay visible when it triggers. So we're going to put the blink in its own folder so it doesn't mess with the pupil or the eye when it triggers. Now we're gonna do that in Photoshop. Will make a new folder and we'll call it lids for eyelids. And then put the blink folder in there so that it's nested and it won't affect the eye anymore. Do the same for the left eye. Save our file back to character animator. Yield. Notice that on the blink folder, we lost our cycle layers behavior that we just made because we changed the structure of the Photoshop file. And this happens a lot. It's to something you're gonna have to get used to. You're going to have to make and remake triggers and add and re-add behaviors. Anytime you change the Photoshop file structure, you're gonna lose your triggers in your behaviors. So we need to add cycle layers the same way we did before. You can do them both at the same time. You can highlight both by command clicking. If you're on Mac or Control clicking an ad cycle layers to both at the same time. And there we go. It looks good. I want to make it slower to see how it looks, just to see if everything's OK. We might have to clean it up a bit. You can see the left eye while he's blinking a little bit. Ok, good enough. It looks good. And I'm gonna change it back to advance every one frame. 8. Eyebrows: Eyebrows are really easy. In our Photoshop file, we're going to name them right eyebrow and left eyebrow. And we're going to, we're going to add the plus symbol in the beginning to give them both Independence. They're going to move on their own. Save the file. And it just works. If yours look weird or move weird, you can go in and change the origin point of the brow and it will change where it moves from. You can also mess with the eyebrow settings to get the look that you want. 9. Best Settings & Troubleshooting: The best settings for your character. A lot of it is really preference. For me. The best way to do eye gaze is the keyboard. And use the arrows on the keyboard. The camera input. It's more fun to use the camera, but it will give you a lot of stray eye movements. And it's not, it's not the greatest year your eyes will like Dart to the left. When you didn't actually look left. If you try to look down, it will register it as a blink. It picks up a lot of phantom blinks. So for me, keyboard is the way to go and I use triggers for my blinks. If you do use the camera input to get rid of the phantom blinks, turn the eyelids strength to 0% and create triggers for the blinks. And I want to stress the, in a lot of the cartoons that you watch, the pupil movement is very, it's very deliberate. It's not all over the place, it actually pupils don't move all that much. So be, be mindful of that. A pupil moving all over the place and people going back and forth, it's really distracting. So keep that in mind. Another preference I have is that I like independent head. I don't like the head to pull the body. It looks rubbery and just, I don't like them, the style of that cartoon. So I do independent Head and I give the head movement strength something really small. Something under 10% could even go to 0. But again, it's all preference. And it changes from character to character depending on what you're trying to do. It may seem simple to get the eyes up and running. And in a way it is if you don't run into any problems. But if you do run into a problem, it can be really frustrating trying to figure out what exactly the problem is. And you can see in this video here. And when I was putting this class together, I had a similar problem you might run into. The problem was my labeling of the layers in the folders. So I marked the right eye as the top level folder. And then I had the people below it and I had the eyeball below that and the eyeball wasn't being registered as as anything. So to fix it, I had to untag everything and to take away all the tags that character animator made automatically. And then I had to manually read tag it myself. And I promise you, no matter how many character animator puppets you make, you will continue to make mistakes like this, especially with the eyes. I've made. I've made a maybe over 30 puppets. And I feel like at some point in the beginning, the, the eyes, I always make a mistake. So don't be discouraged. If you are struggling. If you do have a problem and your eyes just aren't working for some reason and kind of look like my eyes. You see in the video. The first thing to check is the tags. So see where the I and the pupil tags are. Make sure the pupil is marked as pupil and the eyeball behind it is marked as I. The second thing to check is layer independence. Makes sure the pupil is independent. The pupil is always going to be independent. So first, check the tags and second, check the independence. If you've done that and you still can't figure it out. I get it. It's complicated and it's confusing. So if you still can't figure it out, export it as a puppet file and post it here in the class discussion so everyone can see, and I'll take a look at it, I'll fix it. And we can see what mistakes you made.