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Hints for working with Animated Characters?

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karen lewis
Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Aug 31, 2012 at 8:37:43 pm

Any hints for how to efficiently organize a project that works with animated characters? There are several characters - and a lot of layers involved.

We've got nested compositions, but it would be really helpful to be able to manipulate a character against it's actual background and see it in relation to the other characters.

Will be grateful for your suggestions!


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Aug 31, 2012 at 8:46:12 pm

Where are the characters coming from? Are they layers in AE, or are they coming from a 3D package?

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media
http://www.bourkemedia.com


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Sep 4, 2012 at 2:19:47 am

I echo Joe's sentiments. You haven't given us much information.

Without even thinking about it, I can think of a half-dozen different digital forms animated characters could take, and we have no idea about yours.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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karen lewis
Re: Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Sep 4, 2012 at 5:46:54 am

Thanks, all -

Characters are layered, hand-drawn photoshop files imported, parented and animated as 2D puppets in AE using duik tools.

I'm juggling multiple layers for each character (not to mention backgrounds, sets, and objects - also all 2D). Wondering if there are productive ways to organize multiple characters in a single scene to facilitate animation and previewing without dealing with a bajillion layers at once.

Is there a way to manipulate each character as a separate, nested composition, yet preview them in scene and in relation to one another and the final soundtrack without switching back and forth?

Hoping not to re-invent the wheel here! Grateful for comments.


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Stephen Smith
Re: Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Sep 5, 2012 at 3:18:52 pm

Karen,
Sounds like you are having a lot of fun. You'll need to post your video on the COW once you are done. I just finished a similar project in AE, you can check it out here: Book Trailer.

When I work in any program I like to keep things organized. In the Project Window I create Folders. I call once Folder Graphics, that is where I place the photoshop files. I create a Comp folder. If I'm working with video I create a MOV folder and etc. Since you have a lot of characters be sure the keep your Graphics folder well organized. Make sure each element has its own folder. You may want to put all of the character folders in one folder called characters and then have a folder for all of the back ground elements. Doing this takes extra work but it makes if much easier to find things once you get deep into the project. I find being organized saves me a lot of time when editing and doing motion graphics.

I'm sure you already know but just in case, you can set the Ram Preview to skip frames so you can do a Ram preview faster so you can see if the animations are feeling right. Plus the changing of preview quality helps as well. I really love what they did in CS6 for doing Ram Previews.

Not sure if this is what you where looking for but I hope it helps and best of luck.

Stephen Smith
Utah Video Productions

Check out my Motion Training DVD

Check out my Vimeo page


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Andrey Sibiryakov
Re: Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Sep 5, 2012 at 3:22:57 pm

You can link all your puppet's body parts to nulls on a final precomp,
you know, by using a pickwip and locking layer properties.
Other stuff such as rotation or time remapped movement can be linked to variety of sliders.


This is the way I'm doing my organization work.


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Robert Headrick
Re: Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Sep 14, 2012 at 3:10:38 pm

One thing that might help you would be to use multiple viewer windows. You can have your main window be the nested composition that you're currently working in, then go to View --> New Viewer. Choose one of the viewers and set it to your master comp that includes background, other characters, scenery, etc, and toggle the viewer lock so that that particular window stays locked on that comp. Then just make sure that your other viewer is left unlocked, and you can now switch between various precomped layers and edit them in one viewer, while your other viewer will always show you your finished, master comp.


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karen lewis
Re: Hints for working with Animated Characters?
on Sep 14, 2012 at 4:42:48 pm

Thanks! That's very helpful.

I've got folders to keep files organized and null objects as controllers - the extra viewer might just be the ticket.


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