What exactly do you mean by "character rig"? Insofar as the term is used in CG, character rig does not apply to AFter Effects but rather to 3D animation modules in Programs like Maya, C4D, 3DS, Houdini, Blender ect....
So unless you are referring to something other than a character rig as it would be used in one of those programs I think you may be on the wrong track.
Thanks so much for your reply! I'm a bit new to AE - so I may not know how to even ask for what I am looking for.
I want to animate some simple figures that I do in AI. Not much more than stick figures. I do illustrations for childrens books & I'd like to animate them. Although it's very time consuming I have done a little of it with AE & the pin tool. But what I think I see around - at VideoHive etc. are body - spines(?) rigs - in purchaseable "AE Project" files. You can reuse and put difference art of your own onto these spines/rigs(?). I was going to buy one or two there but they are all so different that I wanted to learn how to use them first so I could know which ones would be useful. I hope I'm being clear about what I'm looking for. Thx for your patience & help!
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The puppet tool was introduced in CS3 and does not require rigging. Type "puppet pin" in the search help field at the top right corner of After Effects and you will be directed to some good tutorials.
If you want to break up your illustration into body parts then you might want to look at some character rigging tutorials. Dan Ebbert's site http://motionscript.com has a good section on inverse kinematics for this kind of animation.
There are also third-party solutions to help with character animation. Without more details about your intended workflow and an example of some of your artwork it's hard to point you in the right direction. I have seen some pretty amazing things done with the puppet pin tools and layered artwork. The only real catch to using puppet pin is that you need to animate the body movement of the character first then pre-compose to animate the position of the character in the scene. In other words he make your character walk without going anyplace by moving the arms and legs, then you pre-compose and move the pre-comp along the path to make them walk.
NO problem...I am sort of new to AE too and apprently after some searching there are some more advanced rigging scripts for AE but I have not been able to find anything yet that could be "skinned" to your own artwork although I'm sure there are ways.
I found this very cool looking plugin/script which is free Duik – DuDuF IK Tools – DuDuF R&D but I do not know if it's compatible with your version of AE. And I did see some posts in my google search that led me to believe it might be able to create actual reusable rigs & and there might be a few out there but I'm not sure. I've downloaded the plugin and am going to toy with it when i have some time. Thanks for making me a little more knowledgeable.
Gutter-Fish -I've heard about this DUIK. I'm just trying to sort through what to spend time learning! There seem to be so may choices. I used to use Flash - which was actually great for my super simple work. But it's been years and I'm unclear on whether that's a good way to go nowadays. I made a few book trailers by exporting bits of FL animation into iMovie & then I got somewhat familiar with AE.
Someone on another forum suggested Animae Studio and then export the animation to AE to assemble.
My head is spinning! What to learn! So maybe we should stay in touch just to let each other know what we are discovering. But I'll bet your work is more complex than mine ao you may need a different solution. Still - nice to compare notes!
And thanks for your reply. BTW - I just "followed you."
Rick- Thanks for your answer! I wonder if it would help if I posted my early attempts - which are mash-ups of Flash > AE - and iMovie. They're 90% Ken Burns effects in place of the actual animation I'd like to be doing with AE - or - the other solutions you mentioned. In some of those AE project files you can buy at Videohive, there are controllers that work with pre made spines -or frames of characters. Then it's as if you have an "animation kit." I wonder if this is even making sense to you. Apologies if it's not!
Anyway - that's what I'm trying to A. learn how to use, then - in a perfect world, I'd love to create my own library of moves & gestures and mouth & eye movements so that I could create my own simple/crude animated series out of my characters. So again, thanks for your help and advice!