Sorry to hear of your problems! I don’t have a direct answer - just a possible workaround. I personally normally export video files from CH an import them into AE. Dynamuc linking is cool, but sluggish on my laptop. I found for simple AE treatments this worked well for me. More reliable and better performance. Exporting to a format with alpha channel support is important though to get transparency support,
However for some cases it’s not as good and I do use dynamic linking. I just have not done it for a while now.
note - at the top of the page I think there are links to report bugs as distinct from asking for community help. If it used to work more reliably than it does now, that feels worth reporting.
Thanks so much for your response (sorry for the delay--it's been that kind of week). I really appreciate it. So, I'm a super novice when it comes to all of this (educator by trade and mostly youtube taught for CH and AE so I have tons of gaps and out of my element). Do you mind explaining more about "exporting with alpha channel support "(mostly exactly the steps you take/what you select)? In truth I think I need a different laptop that's more able to support these programs but unable to spend $1500 right now so hoping to make this work., especially as it used to Great to know about reporting bugs--thanks.
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I think everyone starts out the same. Character Animator is not trivial software, but once you get past a certain hump you can do some pretty cool things with it.
In Character Animator you can export to “Adobe Media Encoder” (or AME for short). Its in the menus, or control-M on Windows. It will prompt you for a filename to save to (H.264 - .mp4 will be the default file extension). Just accept the MP4 extension (you cannot change it). (That is non-obvious trick number 1!). Even thought you have to click a Save button, its just the default name AME will use - you can change it later in AME.
Once you click Save, AME will start up (give it a minute or so). It then adds the render job to the queue, but does not start it running. This gives you a chance to change export settings. For example, you can change the output format from H.264 (mp4) to something else. Or you can change the output resolution. On Windows, the only output encoder that comes with AME that supports transparencies that I know of is “QuickTime / Go Pro CineForm RGB With Alpha”. There is a filter you can use when browsing through the media encoders available - I use “alpha” (alpha channel is the “transparency” channel). But you can just pick “QuickTime” as the first column and “GoPro...With Alpha” as the second drop down list. Only “with alpha” supports transparencies.
Once you have changed the setting for your job in the queue, you can hit Enter or click the green triangle to start the render job. (It will do all the files in the queue, so you can queue up a render job for each scene in Character ANimator, then go off and do something else while its rendering. On my little laptop it chews up so much CPU I generally don’t try to do anything else on the laptop. So I might queue up say exports at a time then go do something else. Also, closing the Scene window makes the render job quite a lot faster.)
Sometimes I find the render jobs fail if I have changed directory where I export files to. In that case, exit Character Animator and AME and start them up again - it generally works the next time. It does not always happen, but sometimes.
You will then have .mov files in QuickTime format with transparency support. I think Apple (Mac) has another encoder that supports transparencies as well (but I have never tried it). You can import that into Adobe After Effects or Premier Pro and layer different videos on top of each other To get the final result you want.
This is terrific! Thanks so much. I really appreciate the time you took to write it all out for me-so very helpful. I'll give it a try today.
Can I ask what are the system specifications on your laptop? Mine was working okay--not great--before this latest upgrade and now after effects is grinding out so slowly it's unusable for me. I'm trying to avoid getting a new laptop but that might be in the cards. . . .
I have i7 with 16gb oif memory but not very good graphics card. Yes, latest release feels a lot slower at times. But there are some other issues with twisting I am hoping will be fixed, so I am investing my small spare time into remaining episode scripts and voice recordings before coming back to finish off animation. Hopefully if they get a patch or new release out they will also regain some of the old performance too. Otherwise I have a desktop I may move to (quad core, 32gb, grx 1080 gfx card). Much more snappy - if I can get the kids off it playing games!)