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How to combine a time-remapped lip sync with animated tentacles

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Benjamin Arthur
How to combine a time-remapped lip sync with animated tentacles
on Aug 10, 2018 at 1:00:51 am

Hi, thanks for your time -

I'm working on an animated fish for a client that has six tentacles/whiskers that attach to the lips of the character. I've already designed the mouthshapes, and my usual method is to use time-remapping to animate the mouth to the dialogue. The client wants the tentacles to move fluidly along with the mouth, so they need to overlaid on top of the mouth shapes and move as the lips move. I don't want to have to keyframe the position/rotation for the six tentacles through the whole animation, as that would take forever, so I've been trying a variety of methods to simplify the process, but I've yet to figure out a solution.
Is there a way I could reference the location of a null within the precomposed time-remapped lip sync? I need some way to connect the keyframes I use for the lipsync to a lip location for each tentacle that updates as I manipulate the mouth. Ideally I'd like to then add a bouncy expression to the tentacle so there's a little drag/spring to the movement.

Thanks, I know this is a crazy one -


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Dave LaRonde
Re: How to combine a time-remapped lip sync with animated tentacles
on Aug 10, 2018 at 3:08:41 am

Yup. This is crazy.
First question: is anything in this project a 3D layer?

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Steve Bentley
Re: How to combine a time-remapped lip sync with animated tentacles
on Aug 10, 2018 at 7:08:54 am

Yes, if you add nulls to the lips at each spot you want a tentacle, that will move around as the lips move around (but anchored to the lips) you can use something like DUIK (free) to give you that gravity induced swinging tentacle thing. Once you set up the bones in each tentacle they should just look after themselves as the mouth moves.
While you could manage this in older versions of DUIK (15.52 and before) it would be much easier in the new version as it has a bunch of tools for things like tentacles and pony tails. I believe the new version needs AE 15.00 or later (2018)



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Benjamin Arthur
Re: How to combine a time-remapped lip sync with animated tentacles
on Aug 10, 2018 at 8:33:43 pm

I was looking at DUIK for possible ways to create the movement I wanted, but I found Rubberize It! by Ebberts and Zucker to be pretty fantastic at creating some nice bouncy physics with minimal effort. My challenge now is finding an easier way to place those 6 nulls than keyframing every position - I can't place the whiskers in the same comp that I'm using to time-remap my lip sync animation, since I'm using it in a non-liner fashion, they wouldn't move naturalistically. So I basically need to reference the location of a null within a time remapped comp, with respect to the time-remapped keyframes.


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Benjamin Arthur
Re: How to combine a time-remapped lip sync with animated tentacles
on Aug 10, 2018 at 8:23:58 pm

Definitely a challenge! No 3d layers, it's all 2d animation combining photoshop layers with hand-drawn animation. My current approach is creating visual tracking points on a second version of the referenced time-remapped mouth layer. I can then mirror the time remap keyframes, and then track each of the 6 dots individually to my whisker nulls.

It's not as elegant a solution as I'd like though, it would be much easier if I could somehow connect the location of a null outside the time remapped layer to the location of a null within it (with respect to the non-liner time remapped keyframes).


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Steve Bentley
Re: How to combine a time-remapped lip sync with animated tentacles
on Aug 10, 2018 at 11:21:30 pm

How are you animating the mouth shapes to begin with? You mention time remapping - do the mouth shapes just jump from one to another or is there actual "morphing" or tweening going on? Depending on the answer, you can place nulls inside the element (the lips precomp?) that are being animated and put an expression on a null in the outer most comp that will move exactly along with the null attached to the lips. Even if the art is in 3D space or there are time warps or the precomp is scaled or rotated, this can be compensated for in about 6 lines of an expression.
Let us know a few more details and we can steer you in the right direction.



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