Animating With Physics in Adobe Character Animator | David Miller | Skillshare

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Animating With Physics in 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

8 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Intro to Character Animator Physics

    • 2. Understanding Collision and Dynamic Tags

    • 3. Invisible Collisions

    • 4. Particles 1

    • 5. Particles 2

    • 6. Particles + Collision Together

    • 7. Magnets

    • 8. Outro to Character Animator Physics

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About This Class

This class covers adding physics to your animations in Adobe Character Animator.  This is a motion capture program that uses your web cam as an animation trigger, which saves you a lot of time setting keyframes and helps with creating more naturalistic movements, but there are a lot of other ways you can add motion and animation beyond moving your head side to side. 

These physics animations are one of the truly unique functions of Adobe Character Animator, and we’ll cover

  • collision
  • gravity
  • dangles and wind
  • squash
  • particles
  • magnets
  • ...and more!

See you in class!

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 to Character Animator Physics: hello out there. I'm David Miller, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and I want to welcome you to this class about physics and adobe character animator. This is a motion capture program that uses your webcam as an animation sugar, and it saves you a lot of time setting key frames and helps with creating more naturalistic movements. There are a lot of ways you can add motion animation beyond moving your head side to side in this program. The's physics animations are truly one of the unique functions of Adobe character animator , and we'll cover collision gravity, dangles, magnets and more. Your project for this class is to create a 12th animation video using gravity and travels and share it to the Skill share project page. Let's begin. 2. Understanding Collision and Dynamic Tags: So one of the cool things you can do in w character animator is used. Physics in your animations and physics are akin to the game. Angry birds where things bounce around and you fling things and they have their own weight and gravity. I want to show you how you could utilise it in this scenario. First with objects that are bouncing around my King Tut character. And then I'm going to show you how you can sort of remove those objects but still get the motion affecting our character. First things first. We need to pick our objects. I have a red ball, just a plain ordinary red ball. I'm going Teoh, a sign it collision and dynamic. That'll make it bounce off of things. I also have a yellow spiked ball, and I'm going to do the same thing with this collision and dynamic. Eventually, I'm going to assign collision to King Tut, but I want to show you what it looks like in a scene where collision and dynamic objects are against things that aren't tagged that at all. So I'm gonna take the red ball, throw it in. It's vibrating because I currently have it set as vector artwork, and I have a wiggle assigned to it. Drop the yellow ball in now the two objects air interacting. They both are tagged with collision and dynamic. I want to be able to throw them against each other and the scene walls, so I'm going to go over to the yellow ball, give it a Dragonball tag. Once again, I'll do the same with the red. So now I'm able to drag these objects around. And they're quite big in this scene, especially compared to our King Tut character. So I'm gonna scale them down a little bit just to make. It's easier to see what's really going on. Now. They're roughly the size of basketballs, in contrast to you, King Tut. At this stage, they're not very bouncy for balls. I can throw the red ball around, but it's not bouncing off of anything in the physics property is your controls for collision. You can take the weight down. You can increase the bounciness, give a little return strength, and when it hits this other object, it knocks it around, too. Now, doing this kind of animation with key frames or frame by frame animation be very difficult . It's much better to have a computer algorithm that mimics actual physics 3. Invisible Collisions: No, this is a lot of fun, but what if they were bouncing off of our actual character? Let's go over to King Tut. I'm choosing the character. I'm assigning him just collision because I want to show you what that looks like. So, as you can see, the objects will bounce off of him. Or they'll bounce off of his area wherever the character mesh out Linus. But they won't go through him. He's like a solid object that they can't penetrate. He's not bouncing because he does not have dynamic tag to him. That's the main difference between what's going on with King Tut and what's going on with these two other objects. When I assign dynamic to him, suddenly he'll be affected by the balls that are bouncing. So I've added the tag dynamic. One thing that's different about King Tut than the balls currently is I've already assigned physics to King Tut, so he has his own physics panel here. If I open up collision, I can see his weight. I can see friction and I can see bounciness. But it turned up the friction on him and because he has more weights and he has more friction. He's not liable to be knocked over completely. However, he still can be pushed aside and sort of bounce around. And if I animate his arms, moving while this is happening and look like he's ranting and raving, the balls themselves do not have physics behaviors assigned to them. If I look at my panel over here, there is a physics, but that's within the whole scene. I want to assign specific physics behaviors to the balls individually so I can adjust their parameters and not adjust the parameters on King Tut. Sign of behavior of physics Going to collision. Crank up the bounciness turned on the friction turned down the weight. Do the same with the yellow spike ball. Okay, I have things bouncing all over the place now really pushing my guy around. And if I select King Tut and I have him wave his arms around his things, they're bouncing against him. Turn off the dragger behaviors on the yellow ball and the Red Bowl. So the fun part is really getting these guys to bounce around. And as you can see in this recording, I did a little bit of animation with King tuts are my had been dragging around. But having these things, bouncing them side to side give him kind of like this manic energy like he's ranting and raving. I really think it's appropriate for the character. What's not appropriate for the character is the have two balls on the side of him. So to take those out of the picture now that I've got my recording simply going to rig mode , take the A pass iti to zero of both of them. Now you have yourself a fine animation of a character who has these very realistic physics movements. He has weight. He has bounced, but you don't see what's actually pushing him around. 4. Particles 1: I want to show you a new behavior that character animator has added called particles. And to do so, I'm going to use this simple blue dot as a raindrop going and save that I'm going to go over a character animator. I have this rain cloud in a scene and I am going to important that raindrop give it a behavior of particles and then we're going to explore what you can actually do with these particles. So I'm gonna put the raindrop underneath my cloud cycle. The default is pointing shoot, and this simply spreads your item out in whatever direction your mouse's clicking. So I have my mouse held down and I have these gigantic raindrops coming out. That's not what I want. I want to have things that come out from underneath the rain cloud. So I'm going to shrink the scale of the particle. It's a little smaller, but as you can see, it's only coming out one at a time, from wherever I'm shifting the mouse. So when I moved to one side, I have what basically looks like bullets going out in that particular direction. I'm going to crank up the spread the randomness. And now I have some rain. As long as I have the mouse last movement be in a downward direction, that's what I'm going to get out of this. Whenever I move the mouse around, all the sudden the rain comes from many other directions, so that's point and shoot. We have a continuous mode where it's going to come out. Uh, without me doing any mouse clicking, we can change the number of particles we see per second. We can change the direction. Right now, they're supposed to be going straight down. We can change the velocity and we can change so that these particles fade within a designated lifespan. So take it down to something like one second, and now you can see the particles are fading for something like rain. That makes a lot of sense. Logically, there is a function here called snow, and what this does is create particles that fall from the top of your scene. So in the case of this one where I have my cloud cycle layer, I might actually want to reposition it. So it's up higher in the scene. If you have the snow sitting on the particles are going to generate from the top of the screen. And unfortunately, you can't just take this and shrink it down and put it behind the cloud like I could. Ah, when I had it set two point and shoot, However, I can change the direction slightly, as if there is the influence of wind and make their lifespan last two seconds. Slow the velocity down and increase the number of particles. You can have a pretty convincing rain or snow shower, utilizing this technique goingto have the lifespan give four seconds, and with fate opacity turned on, it means that I'm going to have a solid particle up here, and it's going to fade within that four second span that it takes to get to the bottom. Our third choice is Canon, and Canon is going to generate the particles from a specified origin, so that would be the ideal one. If I wanted to keep my cloud cycle layers. I just need to make sure that the origin of my rain drops are within that cloud. Currently, the origin is set to the absolute center of this composition, and it doesn't matter which way I move my mouse around. The particles are flowing from that one origin in the direction that they're set, which is currently at a 157 degree angle. So if I were to change the angle and a mitt up to 87 degrees, those particles, they're gonna rock it out. That way, if you crank the velocity, they're going to be able to travel further, much like the difference between throwing a rock with a handheld velocity and shooting that rock out of an actual canon with, you know, the velocity you get from the power of the cannon and gunpowder. 5. Particles 2: now that we've discussed particles a little bit, I want to go back to my slime lawyer character who has slime dripping down the sides of his head on his hands, and he has a couple layers that cycle off of his hands. But I want to use the particles effect Teoh have him fling slime around. That's something that I really can't do with the existing cycle layers. Even though I have a dangle on these dripping slime bits, they aren't going to be affected by physics the same way that particles would particles will throw whatever you call a particle all over the place. So I am going to take these layers of slime here. I'm going to shrink them down, position them behind his hand. I'm going to apply the particles effect, and it's going to be pointing Shoot. This means whenever you click the mouse, your hand will generate slime particles. And when you wave the hand around, depending on these spread and the randomness you have sets, these particles will fling in various directions. Now a couple things about my slime one. This is a three layer cycle that I created an illustrator and I originally created, these two look like droplets. As you can see, they have a point in the back part when my character flings has slime around. I really don't like the fact that the droplets kind of stay in this particular orientation . I feel like that isn't the look I'm going for, so I would be better off having my slime look just like blobs. And that would make sense for somebody who's made of slime. If they waive their hand around that, they would throw these blobs of slime in each direction. So we'll go back to illustrator. I'm going to refine my shapes a little bit. Save that. Another thing about my slime particles. I'm rendering these as vector so I can attach the Wigler behavior to it. So the slime not only gets flung around as a particular behavior, but it also has a little bit of a wiggle. And because it's three layers that air cycling, it's not the same exact slime being flung around all over the place. You're more than welcome. Teoh apply particles to cycling layers. Just make sure that when it gets flung in various directions, that it makes sense within the logic of the scene you're trying to create 6. Particles + Collision Together: having your particles actually bouncing collide off of other objects is very simple to do. I'm going to throw in this character. He's my little floating God character. I got him from a comic book. There he is, in the tagging area of rig mode. I'm going to tag him as both a collectible and dynamic character already done for my raindrop character in the particles I'm going to check Collide. That's all you need to do. You do not need to tag those any other way, and then I'm going to set it to be a snow so we can see rain poured down and bounce off of this other character. Now it's a little bit off on this character because his mesh actually covers something that's outside of here, which is his seif. I know this because when I head over to rig mode and I look at the character, they see this whole huge section over here, and that's down to something that's on his, uh, that's not even really part of his body. It's this part down here. It says Saif hand, and you can see where there is a big blue box. Delete that and Now I get what I want. I have droplets bouncing off of my character might be a little bit difficult to see, so I'll make those particles slightly larger and in the figs menu. If you mess with things like bounciness and wait, you can get a cool variation on the type of snow or rain that you have coming down and affecting your character. As my guy travels around the scene, he definitely has really interesting interaction with these particles. Of course, I've got a dangle on him, so he's going sideways in all sorts of fun directions. But doesn't matter where he's positioned. Those blobs of rain are going to bounce right off of him. 7. Magnets: and what a magnet does is allow your character to interact with an object. So this object has to be on your original artwork, and my characters generally are the cartoon characters. As you see them, they walk and they talk in one particular direction. If you want things for them to interact with, like this red ball or this sandwich, they have to be somewhere within your artwork. My character is Mags, and she has her body, her head and ahead turn. You don't see. I'm going to twirl up so we don't see Mags. Then we have sandwich, which I've misspelled, and a ball thes. Two objects here do not appear in this scenario because I have a trigger that turns them on and off. So in my triggers panel s triggers a sandwich to appear and it makes it disappear when I hit s be makes the ball appear and this ball I have set up so it's incredibly bouncy and has weight of only 79. That's what makes it bounce in place. So it be the ball is gonna bounce because it's bounciness is set 200 b ball disappears. Now let's go back in a rig mode and see how we set up our magnets, because what I want to have happened is for her hand her right hand to be able to pick up this ball and throw it and bounce it around. So to do something like that, you have to have both objects tagged with magnets, and that's kind of a given. If I go into her body and her right arm in her hands, I can see that not only is this hand drag a ble, but it's got a magnet on it. All. My arms air drag a belie always attached drag bowl to the wrist. But the magnet is its own tag placed like so and then in this little area here, tagging is magnet, and the hand is the only thing that has a physics tag in this arm, and it's tagged with magnets, not tagged with these other things. The object that you want to have your person grab has to be tagged, dynamic and collide, So I switched to the ball. You'll see the ball has the magnet tag on it and collide. Dynamic has to happen. The sandwich dynamic and collide. That's what makes these objects able to interact with the thing over here. So we're back into record mode. Hit the balls there. I have arm reached down and snatch it. It's attached to her hand. Pretty cool, right? But there's a little bit more to this Gonna let go for a second check. Over here, the strength of the attachment is down 26% and the ranges within 24 pixels. If I have the strength all the way up and try to have her throw the ball, it's not gonna happen. It is really magnetized to her hand with it down at 24 14 or 20%. All of a sudden, the ball is not permanently fixed on two. The hand and I can have her bounce bounce it around. This isn't just useful for a ball. What if I wanted my character have a yo yo? Have it go up and down. What if I wanted a character had a boomerang, have it go all over the scene. What if I wanted to have a character who had a psychic power and some sort of energy bubble float around off of them instead of having it magnetized to the hand. I'd have it magnetized to the head or something on there on, then. Haven't whip around. What if you just wanted to have something that really flew around all over the place? Like, let's say a spaceship and you wanted to have instead of a human is your central figure. You wanted to have a planet. So you want to have, like, a spaceship, zoom all over the place or have an X wing attack? The death star That could happen to one of the things you could do his head back in the rig mode. Well, if you wanted your magnet to be affected by something invisible, all you have to do is going to rig mode. And if this is the magnetize er and this is the magnetic object, I just pick my central object. That's going to be controlling the movement of the magnet. And I take it's a pass it down to zero like so that I could do that with the entire right arm. One making all this if I wanted Mags herself to be invisible. Zero initialize the ball. I have my invisible girl grabbing the ball, and now she's bouncing it all over the place. If working with an invisible controller is kind of difficult for you to comprehend, simply do recording of your character when they are visible, throwing the ball around and then head over to rig mode. Turn down the rapacity and you're recording will stay the same, but you won't have your figure there. 8. Outro to Character Animator Physics: So now it's time for your project, creating a 12th example of physics in action with your own character. Animator puppet. You can use any of the techniques outlined in this course particles magnets, collisions, whichever is suitable for your characters. Record a 12th scene of physics in motion. Export this as an MP four video using file and export and upload this video as a private link on YouTube or Vimeo. And let me know of any questions or struggles you had in working with the physics in the Dhobi character animator. Thanks for watching and be sure to check out my other skill share tutorials on character animator Talk to you next time.