5 Replies Latest reply on Mar 28, 2017 10:25 AM by El Wombat

    Recording grooving characters

    eviexm Level 1

      I'm very new to Character Animator (and After Effects) and the forum too - hello!


      I've only animated a few little things in CH so far, and it's definitely a winner on the fun side of things. (I have worked on a web series in Reallusion Crazy Talk Animator which is a powerful app, but also quite tedious.)

      I'm exceptionally fond of the Dangle behaviour. I tried Dangle to get some organic looking animations that would be quite intricate using keyframes.


      Recording seems to be a bit weird though. I moved my head to a beat, and the recording seems to have a delay at first. Sometimes it seems to jump (as you can see at the end of the Medusa video. CH also seems to often interpret my neutral expression as a smile.

      (Not sure, maybe I should work on my acting? )




      Grooving Forest - lots of heads and individual dangles


      Medusa - - just a transparent head with a dangling brain and individual dangles on the tentacles


      Grooving Scribble -  a test for an ambitious music video project. I'm trying to make some extremely simple characters that will "dance" in the background. The whole figure is just a "head".


      Jelly - trying to make an organic looking wobble loop (there was an AE tutorial on YT , and I wanted to know if I could get the same effect with CH)

      I had to cut some frames in order to get a decent looking loop, but it's still jumpy.



      Retro Lightbulb Ad - Experimenting with lip sync, but I had a bad cold and no voice. Tried some cycle layer stuff instead …


      Some of my characters exist in the real world as posable resin figures (Zozo is a 8cm ape like character) He doesn't have lip sync, but a few facial expressions done with cycle layers.


      Zozo Dark

        • 1. Re: Recording grooving characters
          oksamurai Employee Moderator

          Wow you've made a lot! Great stuff, very cool.


          • For recording I always give myself a few extra seconds at the beginning to have some wiggle room.
          • Have you tried slo-mo recording (the little 1x near the record button)? That might give you some nice results if not. I almost always record everything but the voice at .5x. This is particularly helpful for lining up with audio cues / music.
          • The jumpiness happens if CH loses your face. This could be from moving too fast, turning too far away, or leaving the camera area. One way to help reduce this is to up the "smoothness" under things like Face - 100% should mean slower easing movement but no jumps.
          • CH uses the "Set rest post" expression as your neutral state, so maybe try smiling when you set that and see if that helps stay as neutral. The other option is to de-tag Smile and make it a keyboard trigger instead.


          Hope that helps!

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Recording grooving characters
            eviexm Level 1

            Thank you oksamurai! Character Animator is fun to work with, I find it hard to actually stop …^^

            Thanks for the tips, they helped a lot. (I watched your YT tutorials practically as a marathon before I started working with CH, so I don't remember all of the tricks)


            I made some tests and found that recording worked quite well when I set playback to 0.75x (otherwise my music track was getting too slow).

            But I still have the feeling that there is a latency at the start of a recording.


            Smiling when setting the rest pose was the solution. Now my characters only smile when I show a lot of teeth.

            I also placed a stronger light at my workspace and moved the camera window to the middle of my screen to have better control.


            Ready to dig deeper into the depths of CH now…

            • 3. Re: Recording grooving characters
              El Wombat Level 2

              Hey welcome to this forum and thank you for those contributions it's amazing, wonderful stuff. I enjoy your style a lot, it's a great world of design of its own. Congratulations for what you are doing as a beginner of Ch, impressive and inspiring, keep it up!


              Dave / okaysamurai has given all the answers once more, so there is only one small detail I'd like to contribute: Different calibrations of the camera (i.e. "setting restpose" at different states of your "normal" face) give interesting results not only for the smile, but also for other stuff, for example the eyebrows.


              Say you have a character and you want it to have a frown for a rant, then you could calibrate the camera with the opposite, in this case: raise your eyebrows and set restpose then. Firstly, you can make a deeper frown than you would normally get, and, secondly, it's a huge relieve for your face muscles not having to frown so much and deep…

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Recording grooving characters
                eviexm Level 1

                Thank you for the nice feedback and tips, @El Wombat! Very glad you enjoy my little critters. I love creating funny, quirky characters, and CH helps me bring them to life without having to spend too much time with keyframes or drawing.

                (I watched every Adobe Live I could catch in the last couple of weeks, so that gave me a big inspirational kick, too)


                Setting the restpose seems to have a great potential, thanks for the extra input. Especially because I have a thing for grumpy looking characters …

                Still have to experiment with a lot of the functions of CH - there's so many possibilities!

                • 5. Re: Recording grooving characters
                  El Wombat Level 2

                  Cool, glad you may find it useful. Looking forward to seeing more of those quirky guys! Have fun! :-)