Animate Your Portraits With Adobe Character Animator | David Miller | Skillshare

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Animate Your Portraits With Adobe Character Animator

teacher avatar David Miller, Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

7 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Puppets + Phonemes

    • 3. Working with Photo Layers

    • 4. Working In Character Animator 1

    • 5. Working In Character Animator 2

    • 6. Rendering In After Effects

    • 7. Wrap Up + Project

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About This Class

In this course we use a series of photographs to create an animated talking head in Adobe After Effects and Character Animator (a subprogram of After Effects).  We'll cover mouth shapes, layer placement, syncing an audio track to lips or creating your own audio for your puppet to voice.  

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello there. I'm David Miller, a Phoenix Errors on a multimedia artist. Today we're going to talk about animating photos using Adobe Character and made her a sub program of after effects. I used character animator in a previous class to animates, um, illustrations, and I've seen a lot of projects that animate drawings, illustrations and cartoons have yet to see anything that talks about animating photographs . So that's what I'm going to show you guys today. This is a fun way to make explainer videos to have a piece of video art where you can plug in any audio to your photographs mouth and have it lips. Your project for this class, of course, will be to create a short animation using character animator and after effects, using your own photographs and your own voice. Those results to the Skill Share Project page and tell us about your experience that other way. Let's get started 2. Puppets + Phonemes: So this is character animator when you open it up And if you don't have character animator you have to have after effects and you can download character animator from the adobe Creative Cloud as an app First thing you need to dio If you haven't already got a blank space like this you create new project Then you create empty puppet and we're going to create our puppet in photo shop Since we're working with photographs so hit that this is what I get And I removed the history really quickly Um this guy is one with a head and a body Currently I'm only interested in animating the head of a person So I'm going to throw out the instructional guide I'm going to throw out the body and these other things I'm going to just turn them off turn because I don't need them Open up the head I'm not going to use the eyes Not going to use the face The only thing I am really concerned with he is the mouth now mouths of character Amador puppets are broken down by phone aims There the various mouth shapes you get when you say these freezes Ah, looks like this. He looks like this f This is supposed to be a person biting their bottom lip. Al, the tongue is positioned behind the teeth and so forth. And if you, uh, don't know these phone aims there plenty of lists on the Internet. If you do a Google search for animation, phone aims or cartoon mouth shapes, they pop up. However, since you're working in character animator and you have this puppet, it already gives you a list of everything you need. Neutral smile. Surprised d e f l M o R s, uh and so it's very easy for you to tell a model or yourself that's these are the mouth shapes I need. And at the time I photographed this model, I think, um, character animator did not have our and s is part of the list. So I have a few less mouth shapes than are necessary for the current character animator public. But I'm gonna make this work Anyways. This model was shot intentionally for this project and you can see smile, neutral, surprised a and so on 3. Working with Photo Layers: I'm showing you this in Adobe Light Room, which I find is the easiest photo editing software there is. It also helps me when I need to. Straight up deuce, um, cleanup on a person. I get out my brush. I use a softened skin. Cool the clarity down a little bit, cause if you go straight to soften skin, it's something like minus 100. I think that's a bit too much something in the neighborhood of minus 40. Brush around my person, This basic clean up. It's really easy to do in light room, and I feel like you should do this first before you open your pictures in photo shop. Once you've gone through this process and you have clean up your photos, it's time to open them. In Photoshopped, there's more than one way to do it. You can hop over the library export at a certain size and Jews G opening photo shop when it's done right here. Or you can just grab the batch that you need to open, holds control on a Mac or use your right click and and it in Adobe Photo Shop. So I already had My face is open in photo shop, and my next step is to put them all together in one new file. I need to do this before I start throwing them into the Photoshopped puppet, because the size of this puppet is relatively small. 800 by 10 50 pixels at 72 pixels per inch. If I just start pasting things on here like so you'll notice that this scale is way off. This is just the white background around in my model, and if I go into transform, you get a sense of how huge it is in comparison. I could scale everything individually, but what's likely to happen is that I'll get some big versions of my model in some middle versions on each layer, and it's just extra complicated. I don't need extra complications in this process. All of these photos are the same size, so it makes more sense to paste them on top of each other, sort out what's what. The way I'm getting them is, of course, select all which is here. It's also a command A or control A on a Windows computer, and this is 905 is going to be the one that I paste on my layers on two. You know, that's F I think this one looks like a, uh, could be a could be e That one's likely a unlock this layer. Call it a ah, close them as I get them copied so I don't confuse myself. So now that I have all my face is on one photo shop file and I have the layers labeled correctly before I start moving things over to my character animator Photoshopped Puppet. One thing I need to do is a line all the photos with each other because I did you can see not having on Tripod made it a little bit difficult to have the head in the same exact spot . Even if I had this on a tripod, though, and I had my model sitting in a chair like I did here, I would still want to go through this process because it's very important that this fits together in the right way. So I am going to take the top layer capacity where I can see what's below and I'm going to start shoving things around. I'm going to pick what's below here, pick it up, so I'm going to take the image that's below, and I'm just going to use the arrow keys with the move tool to get in the right spot. The right spots, in my view, is where, and the right spot isn't where the mouths align. It's where the eyes align. Of course, her head position and her job will change between each syllable, she says, but at some point, the eyes sharing a line with each other. So let's take a quick look. We turn a pass it back up on our neutral face, and there's some stuff that is off killed her down here when she moves. But we will alter that once we got everything taken care of. So now that face one is in right place, I'm going to during eyeball on, take capacity down on surprised and same thing. Move around with the arrow tools on the layer that's below. Tell that pupils align so that same process all the way down and I will speed this up for you guys because it could be kind of boring to watch. Okay, everything aligns finally turning back off on I'm going to use the crop tool. I'm gonna cut in some of this extra stuff because you couldn't tell. There's a lot of places where the photos doing a line right now. I definitely don't need all this empty heads base around my model. I really just want something like this, almost like a mug shot. And with all of this said and done, ready to put all of these on too, my puppets. 4. Working In Character Animator 1: well, this out Here's a puppet dragon drop you are. As you can see, there's still pretty large in comparison to what my puppet has. When you have everything checked, you can use free transform. There's no point in, uh, scaling up the canvas, meaning making the campus larger to fit these photos because we're making a video out of these, and it just isn't necessary to have, ah, huge face when you make a video. So I think something like this is exactly what I need it. Okay? And now that these air all their I can actually throw away all these other faces rather than erasing them one of the time and without having anything else turned on there, this one away, too. Let's save our puppet who formally looked like this. Now let's check it out. Whenever you save in photo shop, it's going to update your puppet and character animator, And now we have this face not animating the mouths because they don't have the microphone turned on. But with the microphone on, her facial expressions will mimic the words that I say, And if you want to record yourself talking, so one thing that seems to not be working right in. This is the neutral and the smile. Facial expressions. It's possible I named them the wrong thing. Let's double check our puppets. I'm gonna make a new puppet photo shop. Mouth neutral Smile. Not smiling. Just what I think I named mine. Uh, surprised and smile are reversed. My, you drill. Look, OK, and we're going to click. Set, rest, pose. My rest opposes wherever I'm sitting back in my chair. So if this is where rest poses and you see the webcam aimed at me up here, then we have to select our puppet set. Rest, pose The track marks appear on my face. Here we go. Now we don't have open face all the time anymore. 5. Working In Character Animator 2: So if you wanted to record your own audio, do you have your puppet? Say, this is the button to do it as long as you have your microphone on. Then during the recording process, both your head movements and the audio will go into your lip sync. If you had prepared audio that you wanted to match to your photographic puppet, let's stop this year. Go into timeline. So this compute lip sync from seen audio. So where do we get our seen audio? Well, if you had separate audio already saved on your computer, you get a file import and then you find it gonna use Vincent Price doing an old camera commercial because I find it hilarious to mix a, uh, old man's voice with a young woman's face. So we're gonna drop it into the scene and going to erase take one audio. That's me talking. Going to pick Vincent Price. I'm going to pick the puppet timeline. Compute lip sync from seen audio like it. It's going to take a few minutes, so I will see you then. Okay, so we have our face recorded with Vincent Price. Let's take a listen. Miraculous. This photo has such realistic there refuses. If you're looking into the picture rather than simply added, I just hold a photo squarely, incredibly, at a distance of 1.5 to 2 feet on Douala, the scene is a lie pretty cool. What if we wanted to add a few extra faces? Amounts here? Well, we can. We just need to turn off the microphone because any extra sound we introduce is going Teoh contaminate the words that are already they're from our old buddy Vincent Price. So do the screen recording. Miraculous. This photo has such realistic there, it appears as if you're looking into the picture rather than simply added miraculous. This photo has such realistic there, and you can see it copied my new face movements while keeping the lip sync. This track here is my redo, and this is my original recording. If you know what you want, uh, it's easier to do your recording of the face of beginning and then sync up the audio using computer lip sync. However, it really doesn't make a difference. In the case of Old Vincent Price, I'll show you another face. I did se model different pose and because I knew what he was saying. I was able to react to it as an actor would. Once you have a face that you're happy with, you can export as a PNG sequence and wave file. This will create scripts that you can open up in adobe after effects, and then you can create your finalized a video from that. If you wanted to make this less photographic and mawr just a simple head floating so you could paste it on another body. That's easy enough to do as well. We go back to photo shop and we use our selection tools like the quick selection tool, and we select the areas we want to erase conceivably around her entire head, and we simply delete them all. Now this particular scenario is a little more difficult because she has those stray hairs. We'd have to go and fine tune our selections using the Polina Lasso Tool, the lasso tool and the Magic Wand tool. I'm actually happy with the single photo look and having them float around. It kind of reminds me if I had actual prince of photos and was just shifting them around like a deck of cards. I'm gonna go ahead and export the PNG sequence in wave. Well, it's exporting. I'm gonna go ahead and open adobe aftereffects and I'll show you how it comes out as a script. 6. Rendering In After Effects: So now that we're in after effects, one of the main things to remember is that when you have a PNG sequence and wave file from character and matter, it is not something that you import this way. It's not footage yet. You import it as a script. So Newcomb from character animator recording, and then we need to find where we saved it. Married Vincent, too. Pick any of your PNG file click open, and it automatically creates a composition that is a certain side. This one's a lot larger than a traditional HD composition and also aspect ratios a little bit off. So if you want to have a regular HD size composition, you can create Newcomb 1920 picks by 10 80 pixels like that, and then you can drop your nested character. AM intercom Been there, reposition it however you like, and it is basically footage. If for some reason you needed to change the audio, um, or do any additional editing to it when you double click your composition and you see your PNG sequence here, you also see your wave file here and we'll go ahead and render this and see what it looks like reposition to the middle. Also throw a little background behind it. New, solid black repositioning in the back. Okay, export, add to render queue. We check our settings, everything looks good. This is the size we want to render to, and we'll rename it as test miraculous. This photo has such realistic dead refuses. If you're looking into the picture rather than simply added, I just hold a photo squarely in front of the at the distance of 1.5 to 2 feet and voila! The scene is alive. 7. Wrap Up + Project: Once you have your character animator process down. You can become mawr experimental and make the body alongside the face separate. The eyebrows from the face include blinking eyes on the I layers. It's a lot of fun, and your public can be reused with different audio again and again. Please post any projects you make to the skill share Project page and let us know what you think of the process. Also, check out my other skill share classes on photography and animation. Thanks for watching.