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joedonaldson

Ideal Starting Pose For AE Character Animation

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Hey All.

 

I will be starting a new project with a lot of small characters with a wide variety of movements.

 

The designs are built around the characters always staying fairly small in the composition and the style is pretty simplistic. Overall, fully rigging each character will be a bit excesive and the puppet tool will sufice for much of the movements.

 

I am working with an illustrator on them and my question is if there is an ideal starting position for the designs so that once puppet pined the movments arent restricted. For example if its a little character throwing a football if he is designed with his arm cocked ready to throw the ball straightening it after the fact will break the art.

 

The big concern is that these arent your standard "noodle armed" motion graphics characters where you dont have to worry about pinching in th elbows as much. I would like to keep as much inegrity of the original design as I can when manipulating them.

 

Any recommendations for a good general starting pose would be greatly appreciated.

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Also, I'm very familair with and use both Duik and PuppetTools3.0.

 

I have also done FraserDavidsons skillshare on character animation and am quite familairy with general character animation.

 

I typically use a marrionette build/rig and the concern here is the ideal way to design a character for use with the puppet tool to reduce clamping.

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Really hard to offer advice without seeing the original illustrations and how they vary from one to the next.

 

I sometimes rig the same character in different ways for different shots, or even switch rigs mid-shot for tricky things, but it sounds like you won't need that level of control. Maybe you need one 'general' rig and then a bunch of special ones for more unusual poses. If you're using IK then you may as well start with arms out to the sides and legs straight and parallel.

 

DUIK has recently released a new version with stretchy IK and some other improvements, by the way.

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Thaks for the reply Kitkats.

 

Pretty much what I expected. Its an odd request to say the least and I figure its kind of a shot in the dark, especially since I cant share artwork yet.

 

I kind of have a love hate relationship with the puppet tool. It always gets me almost exactly what I want hah. I think with a careful mix of swaping between rigs and using the IK in PuppetTools3.0 I should be fine.

 

I'll definitely have to check out the improvments to Duik. Its been awhile since I have updated it so I am kind of in the dark.

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It's going to depend a lot on illustration style and lighting. The first thing that'll be really noticeable is if you have the illustration drawn with lighting coming from a certain direction, and then you move the pose to a position where that lighting doesn't make sense anymore (for instance, from a straight arm to an arm bent in a V, which would reverse the lighting direction on the lower half of the arm).

 

Personally, if I was using a character through a number of shots, I would probably most want them with arms down, since odds are that's close to where their arms are going to be a lot of the time--if you start with them in a T-pose, putting the arms down might result in something a little unnatural, so get thing drawn close to the pose you'll use most often. It's hard to really be robust without some alternate frames, though.

 

But that really only goes for pretty detailed illustration. If it's really simple, flat illustration, a T-pose is probably fine.

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Thanks for the response Aaron.

 

Luckily in my case there is no lighting, hooray!

 

Overall its very flat. The animations will be simple, its mainy just the sheer number of animations. In the end I imagine itll be about 20 different movements and gestures.

 

I do know what you mean about starting in the T pose, works great for a character reaching upward but if you put the arms at the hips it gets a bit funky.

 

I should have some assets this week and Ill post some WIPS.

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You could parent the shoulder nulls of disembodied arms to the shoulders of an underlying torso object. This makes a lot more sense in ToonBoom where the edges, creases and overlap patches are a lot easier to deal with, but it gets around the inherent issues in an all-in-one approach. This way you can use an IK setup for the limbs separate from the rest of the body.

 

Otherwise I quite like the Overlap/Underlay thingy in the Puppet Tool, but you have to key its motion and amplitude depending on how much the armpit/crotch is messing about, and you can't define nice edges for the forearm to overlay the elbow when the arm bends.

There is a script for generating nulls to control Puppet Pins on aescripts.com, and that would be nice in terms of doing non-linear or radial movements, because puppet pins move in a linear, inorganic way.

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