Adobe Character Animator Mini Session: Make a Basic Animation | Gina Mayes | Skillshare

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Adobe Character Animator Mini Session: Make a Basic Animation

teacher avatar Gina Mayes, Illustrator

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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 (27m)
    • 1. Adobe Ch Mini Session Intro

    • 2. Course requirements

    • 3. Preparing Your Art

    • 4. Basic Controls (Part 1)

    • 5. Basic Controls (Part 2)

    • 6. Rigging the Puppet

    • 7. Recording the Animation

    • 8. Export Animation

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About This Class

In this class you'll learn some key features about the Adobe Character Animator interface, how to rig your puppet and bring your characters to life.

This class is perfect for beginners, with no technical knowledge in animation/rigging but who are familiar with Illustrator and Photoshop. After Effects knowledge is a huge plus and will help you navegate this easily.

Meet Your Teacher

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Gina Mayes



Gina Mayes is an illustrator residing in Mansfield, TX (USA) and originary from Tamaulipas (Mexico). Her use of vibrant color palettes and fun, whimsical themes have been greatly influenced by the artisan work and folkloric art she grew up surrounded by.
She loves spending quality time with her husband and three children, drinking chai tea, enjoying a good book and drawing ... a lot.

Here are some quick links to my social media & blog sites:

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My Spoonflower profile

My Blog

My Shop

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1. Adobe Ch Mini Session Intro: Hi, guys. Welcome to my sculpture class to do. Oh, gosh, I didn't see you there and nice. Ready. Okay. Three To what? Our ship. Hi, guys. My name is Gena, and I am here to teach you how to create a animation using Adobe Character animator And this class, you will learn how to ring a puppet. Some basic key features about the interface and how to bring their character to lie. Let's get started. 2. Course requirements: the best part of Mother every character animator is that you don't even have to know anything about animation. If you don't know, physics are inverse schematics or rigging. If you have no idea whatsoever, that's okay, because you will not meet that you are going to be able to animate just using your face your facial expressions, because there is a face recognition self where that will help rig it and do the lip sync in all that using your face. So that is going to be the e CPC part of it. Automation. The animating part is nothing. The hard part is to be able Teoh to popular artwork in order for everything to work perfectly. And it has a lot to do with the naming convention and the layers in the structure and the Cherokee. So don't mess with any of that. I will give you instructions in the videos on how to swap your own hard work if you want to make your own puppets. If you want to start making your own characters, then you'll be able to do that and I will have a more advanced class that will go into really, really step by step detail on how to do that, but I could get a basic gist of it in this class, So you're going to be able to figure it out if you've done something like this before, or if you work in after, that's before. So here the software requirements for this class, you will need Adobe for the shop or Adobe illustrator if you want to make your own characters or artwork for the for the puppets. If not, if you don't have these up the software, just use the class files and you're gonna be OK. You will need a trial version of a W character and meter if you don't already have the clouds description. And but if you do have a co subscription, just go ahead and download it. And also don't look at the media encoder because that's going to help us render our video and export it to the final format, which is the video format. So go ahead this. Go ahead and get started and figure out what a puppet looks like 3. Preparing Your Art: I'm going to quickly show you how to use your own artwork. Here's a template that comes with Adobe character in a major, and I am going to included I linked to it. Um, basically, when you're going to do it's that you're going to use that as a placeholder, and then you are going Teoh. Swap each layer with your own artwork. If you see, by the way, something with the pulse sign that just means that it's an independent layer. It moves independently, so don't mess with that like it's there for a purpose. Don't change any of the names because it's very important these names astounds, so if it's is on, then the software will recognize it as your are as the arm. If you haven't named Red Eye are right. I. That means that the tracking will pick up that it's the right eye or the left eye and so on and so forth. So don't change the structure or the the layers don't change anything but the artwork. So you just click on the arms layer and then switch the arm and I'm here just drawing something, you know, basic. To give you an idea but you can go into for the shop or illustrator. It works the same with the vectors. So I know I'm doing this in photo show, but don't worry about it. It works exactly the same and else. Traitor, You just go in and select your layer and select the item within the layer and just replace it with your own artwork. So that's what you're gonna do. Like I said, it's hot of prep work. Uh, make sure that whatever you do, please don't change the names because it's very, very important. Okay, so you're going to see things down to the ride. Ward says, Drinkable right hand, drinkable. Left hand fixed, right foot fixed. Left foot. Okay, so the drag a ble part, it's, um those are behaviors that you can add. And if basically, that's like your pinpointing where you can drive the arm or the leg and so on. You will see that later on in the lesson. But for now, we're gonna believe that us? Yes. And we're gonna mess with it fixed right foot fix. Let foot. That means that your feet are not going to move it all. You won't have this if you have, like a, um, walking cycle and things like I prefer now I don't want my feet to move. I want them sticking to the ground pre solidly. And so, just like from the knees up to. So I'm not going to most with those players right now, And you will see that in the interface once we open up a character I made or you'll see how this interacts whenever you are ringing the character. You will see this, uh, more clear, but you can. It's really cool that you can edit all this from the very beginning your photo shop, so that's pretty cool. 4. Basic Controls (Part 1): okay, we're gonna go over pretty quickly. Over the features are the basic features of Adobe character, animator and tools that you need for your basic animations. We're not gonna going debts over. Ah, hold of years. There's there are so many. But let's go over the basic things. Here's your camera and microphone, and if you click on it and it becomes blue, that means that the camera is turned on something with the audio. If you click on the microphone, my car, that means that it's enable. And here's your, um, face recognition. Um, software. If you see the red dots, that means that is picking up is tracking your face. So that's great so that you don't have to do the lip sync or the animation a manually here , your dragger controls, and we are going to go over those later on in the lesson. But here your behavior is basically here. Your controls that you are going to use mostly. Let's go in the pulpit and see this structure. Here you see your layers and misko hand select the top layer, and that's the character. You will see a yellow outline over all the character and That means that whatever I transform over here, it's going to affect the whole public if you see that. So here are my transformation controls the I can change the X and Y scale. I can rotate it. I can change the A pass it ius well and do even some blending modes for the layers. I can attach different, um, parts as well. If you are familiar with after effects, you have, like the latch tool. I think it's cool. Latch, um anyway, acts pretty much the same. If I wanted to attach, um, a body part or something, for example, the neck I want the head of be attaching to the neck It's toughly that I can really do things like that as well. If I go into each layer and, um, at those behaviors and settings, you have different settings like pinch if you, for example, for the elbow. If you want to do it manually and and make something act like a hinge and stuff like that, Um, and here are your tax. These are basically the names of your layers, and if you did this correct with you prepped your artwork correctly. That means that it automatically will track these. You don't have to. Uh, so, like the manually, it will automatically see. Okay, if you name something right eye and will appear over here and so on something with the body if you have your layers done correctly. If not, you can add handles and start tagging them like so I will show you later on where we're rigging how to do that properly. So you'll see it's praise E and self explanatory. And here you have your layers and hidden layers and swell. But basically, if you select the mouth it highlights, you'll see it highlighted in blue. Whatever you're selecting issued, um, appear over here. So these are attacked, basically. And the software, the face recognition will automatically track those. We have motion triggers over here. I am not going. Teoh go into in depth over these right now. We're not gonna use them. You have physics, and these are great. Whenever you have, like two objects colliding. Basically, you're giving them, uh, letting them know how to behave whenever something like an object hits another object in someone. So those are your basic controls? Here you have a keyboard triggers and um, right now, we don't have any triggers, but you can change different posts is and things like that cycle like layers you can do walk, um, cycles and things as well. There are so many possibilities. You can actually change outfits and things like that if you do it with the with the layers like that right now, I selected the briefs layer and the breathe behavior. Um, and I added it to the character, but it looks pretty wonky, so let's go ahead and use the controls for the brief behavior right there. So let's let's go ahead. Expand that, and you're going to see you have 40 breaths per minute. I'm gonna bring that down to 23 the maximum scale. What it is's how big the breaths are or how big does your chest expand? Basically, I brought it down quite significantly significantly, so you can see that that looks a little bit better. It's still not right, so let's go ahead and bring it down a little bit more because it's it's just looks really long. So let's let's do that and see how it looks. Looks better still, still not a subtle as a movement as I would like for a human. So let's move back back a little bit more and you complain with these settings. I mean, if you have a different character or like a character that was running in your and it's going to have, like, faster, you know, settings that you need to do, that's okay, You just play with it and figure out what's right for your character. 5. Basic Controls (Part 2): Okay, here are more controls for you to play with. Here are your drug or controls, and we're going to test those here shortly like this. Like so. Basically, whenever you have a drug object, you can either return to rest for holding place and holding place. Whenever you said select that, Basically, you move it. You drug it with the mouse, and whenever you let go, it stays in place. So if you want to do oppose, it will stay like that unless you go back. And so, like, um, return to rest, and then if you let go, it just goes back to the last post. So that's pretty neat. And your eye gaze. We're not gonna worry about that because right now it is using the behavior is being tracked by the face recognition by the camera. So that's pretty neat. But you can switch to some manual inputs right here, like the strength of the camera. This might help you achieve a more natural animation, and you just have to play with the settings. Something with the face You can, um, change and troublesome. Um, you can change different settings like eyebrows straight. How How big or exaggerate you wanted. There's just different things that you can play here, and I encourage you to try them out. And, you know, see what works for your particular character. Because there, you know, if you have a clown, you're my one exaggerated features and so on. And here you have physics. Right now, we're not gonna go into detail over those because those are great. For whenever you have objects colliding and you're basically telling your character how, um, it's going to interact in the grand, you know, the physics gravity whenever something hits your character, how if you if it's going to bounds, how much they're distortion, etcetera. So those are a little more advanced settings that we're not gonna worry about right now, but near there for you to play with whenever we have a chance, I highly encourage you to try try them out. Here's your basic transforms, and these are the most common is that you are going to use. You are moving them basically in the X and Y axis. So left and right, open down so on. And those are the anchors. Um, and those are based on the origin off your character whenever you see the word origin, that means that's like that the main or the center of your character and where you wanted position. Based on that, you can, uh, move the anchors and then you can actually scale them. Gowns can love you can change the rotation of your character and spring me. I mean, you just play with these settings, and it's pretty fun. Here you have the capacity you can do group of passage e and triggers, so triggers are pre programmed keys. To interact with your character, you can change something with a key keyboard trigger. 6. Rigging the Puppet: Okay, This is like the super speedy version of it, But I'm gonna show your real quick the basic gist of it That's important to file an the my puppet Kristen puppet from Photoshopped and double click on it to left. It will appear. And so now we're in their rig tab, by the way. So the orange n basically, it's the center of your character. And right here when everything's highlighted yellow one or click on the top layer And that means that everything would do any behavior would put will be affecting the whole body. Okay, so you gotta be careful with that. The right eyebrow right here was quick on that. If you see right here, it's highlighted to the right on the face of control. So that means that the software is recognizing exactly where it iss. It's tagging, um, automatically based on how you gained it, the naming convention. So right here. If you see the left dies, not quite center. So we're just gonna center it, make sure that everything is being recognise correctly by the software, the nose, the mouth. And if I expend us, you will see like the difference. Lip sync layers in this artwork that I created, um, for each expression. But you don't have to worry about those because lip sing does that automatically for you, so you don't have to worry about right now. So arms, torso, legs Okay, looks pretty good. So this is like that top layer and start ringing so that we can start animating pretty quick. We're going to drop handles right here, click on the handle tool and drop a pin. And what it is is that you're telling You're gonna click on the stick figure, and you're talking the image and telling them, telling the state for your or this after where each body part iss. So drop a pin and click on it on the indistinct figure, so it will recognize. OK, well, here's my waist right There's my waist. There's my hips and so on, and so far you keep dropping pins and kids the handles and keep tying them. And so Kirk trying mater will know exactly where ankle is, and all this is going to help you whenever you are doing walk cycles and, um, other inverse schematic sort of thing. So this is just a very basic rig. You're just help tying each buy parts pretty easy. Okay, so here's your hand tool. This, um, tool the handle till that we just used. And this is the stick to is pretty important. It helps you not been something for simple. I don't want the head right here bending for some reason whenever I am animating, because it would look pretty weird if the head starts changing proportions. I don't want that part right there to Ben, and I put the stick right across the head and I see how that looks. We're going to click on the puppet, and we're gonna drag it down to the timeline We're here. Let go and then click on set rest posts and that will default your your posts and but tells it were to start right here. I don't like the way the head the hair is looking because it looks pretty stiff whenever I moved side to side. So we're going to dio uh, dangle points right there, right there. And I think down here a swell. Okay, so the dangle tool is going to let it moving a pendulum sort of style. Let's see how that looks. So If I'm a scientist side, it's going to start looking a little bit more natural. Light hair sort of, but big tells it kind of bounce a little bit better. And so that looks all about more natural. And there's you can play with the configurations and different settings, and it's going to look a lot more natural. The more you I work on it right here. This is the drug tool that I have, um, dragging drug or handles in the rig right here. Those are drug a ble. So what I did right here. ISS I added Clinton to drag toe the drug er right there. You cook on that and then you pinpoint where you want to draw from. So I'm saying right here I went to drug from the wrists, but then I don't want it to look robbery. So I'm adding, were here some stick mystic tool, and I'm going to make sort of like bones. Basically, I want a forearm and I want the upper arm and I want to bend redder than at the elbow point like a hinge, you know, sort of like a bone. Like what? The way human body iss So I want that whenever I select the hand and drag it away from the body, I want that to bend exactly, um, at the elbow. So just like a more normal, organic looking animation would be. So let's try that it's going to take a minute. It is still rendering right here. There is Okay, so I am going to see, See that it acts like a hinge, and it's it's connected in an inverse schematic sort of way. I really liked, though, and whenever I would go of the of the, um, hand, it returns to its rest post, and it's Here's a drummer, um, the handle tool. And if I said, like, told in place, whenever I drag that and let go of it instead of returning to the rest post is going to stay wherever I let go of it right there, like so you can do, Post says. If you'd like, and it's just going to stay there unless I go back and so, like return to rest and then I drug it again and let go of it, and it's going to return to his rest post 7. Recording the Animation: Okay, so now you have a basic understanding. I am going to show you how to record. So let's go ahead and import a background so that it's not old black. Drug it down to the time. Right? And now you see that you have your nifty background. But the pope, it is in the middle of everything is kind of floating and some the way. So let's go ahead and select the puppet. I'm gonna show you how to, uh, use your transform controls to be able to do that. So, like that, pop it in the timeline, and then let's go ahead and move the position. The white position ferret IHS. See, that's much better. Okay, so now you have that done. Let's go ahead and double your camera. If you don't have it on already and just play with the puppet, make sure you're tracking is doing fine that nothing creases going on that the eyebrows and the, um, the ice. Everything is within its place. Nothing is acting up. And so we're gonna start recording right here. We should your obvious on and start recording and just basically have fun, you know, do your crazy shenanigans here. Don't worry too much If it's if you have a take and then it's not the best of takes and your want to redo all you have to do to redo the take this to select it on the timeline. Don't here and just, uh, cook the lead and then start over. So don't worry. Don't commit too much to your takes If you want to re record, you can do that any time. So I'm just going to show you like I'm pretty satisfied with this one. And so I am going to export this for here. Beyond media encounter. There are other options are here. I'm just gonna clue and say there are other options. Kind of like the old way. It used to be to export to other wave and the PNG sequence. But I have been union court coder. It's like so much better and easier, faster. So let's just go ahead and show you that just for the sake of the time's sake 8. Export Animation: All right. So we have made it Teoh during meeting coder, and here you're going to select your file, and then I'm going to show you don't have to invest with any of the settings right now, but let me show you that there are some optimization is for Twitter for me. Um, you to play spoken someone If you need to make any adjustments, you conduce found that right there. And where to output your file. I'm not going to mess with that. I'm standing. Go ahead, render And we'll, uh, there it iss. It's rendering my video to its final format. So that's it? That's that's your animation being rendered right now. So congratulations on that. And one of the really cool features of the latest version of character animator is that you no longer have to go to after thoughts in order to render your files. So it used to be that if you will have to go through after effects now you can bypass that and go directly and select export in character meter, and then he takes you. You can do it in media encoder, and then that's it. You're done. It's pretty easy. I feel free to ask any questions and I'll walk you through in us best I can