Character Sets


A brief explanation of why I choose to use characters sets, how they work, and how I feel they loosen up my workflow.

Enjoy! πŸ™‚


P.S. – Feel free to use the comments section below to let me know what other topics you would like to see covered in future. Thanks!




7 Responses to "Character Sets"
  1. Hi Ken,
    Since your method sounds nice and organized I am trying it out on my first test scene but I still have a couple of questions.
    You have a Face sub set inside another Face sub set. Why do you do that?
    In the first blocking/posing phase you have the tangents set to Linear, so the playback appears as an 2D `pose test`, that`s logical. So when you start the Spline phase do you change the tangent option to Plateau or something? Or do you keep the Linear and use the `tween machine` to create slow in’s and slow out’s?
    Finally with this workflow that you use doesn’t it oblige you to work very….how to say it….step by step. I mean, in the spline stage you have to ‘remember’ what set you have selected and only do breakdowns or tweak that set. For example, if I was making a breakdown of the left arm (left arm sub set selected) and I noticed I wanted to change something on the right arm I would have to remember to change to the right arm sub set| right? When you get into the ‘heat of the moment’ tweaking and creating breakdowns where you are moving multiple elements of the body on each breakdown, the idea of having to stop and change the sub set for each part of the body you want to tweak. Maybe you could explain that first breakdown/spline stage. For example, do you first ‘breakdown’ and work on the Torso sub set for the whole animation then go back and work on the arms then finally the Face and Mouth.

    Thanks for your help….

    All the best,

    • Hi Chris! Sorry for the delayed reply. You’re correct that this technique does require me to be in the proper set while making big timing edits, but as I get deeper in to spline polishing I tend to disregard the sets and work a little more free form. It really just helps me while blocking my performance (with one ALL set to easily see and move red markers on the timeline) and then go from stepped to spline (using subsets to get the first phase of offsetting of the overlap and timing). I do work in stepped exclusively while blocking, key everything on every new pose, and use tween machine to create breakdowns. Then I nail down my holds and convert to splines (“auto tangent”) This approach (using tween machine) works really well with character subsets to get quick and easy overlap and “lead and follow” in my breakdowns by simply using the sliders to favor previous or next poses in individual body parts. But once I get in to the “heat of the moment” I begin to ween myself off of the characters sets and work more organically and on a curve by curve basis. In that “heat of the moment” polishing I do begin with the torso, getting all of the force and weight right. I make sure the feet and legs look like they are driving that torso if that is necessary. Then I work on arms and hands. Then I spend time polishing the splines in the face. I do keep a separate “mouth” set active all the way until the end so I can keep a clean focus on the curves I need when I do my lip-synch pass – which I always save for last. This is all a bit confusing in writing, I know. I may do a follow-up video and get a bit more specific with regard to my step by step workflow using these tools. Glad it is a little helpful for you though, man!

  2. Hi ken, Hope you are doing well. How can you added new controls to existing subcharacter set, i tried to do it, but i can able to achieve only for Character set, not for subcharacter set. How did u create a dropdown menu for Face subcharacter set, could you please explain me. Thank you.

    • Hi! Yeah, it’s a little bit tricky.

      To add controls to a sub-character set you need to make sure the sub-character set is active in the little character set menu to the right of the timeline.

      Then, you choose the control you want to add and select the attributes you want to include from it in the channel box (like TranslateX, TranslateY, etc.) You need to be sure to select these, or it will give you an error saying there are no channels selected to add.

      Those newly added control attributes should now be yellow in the channel box – that’s how you know you were successful.

      To create a sub-menu in your sub-character set, you will basically add a sub-character set to your sub-character set (confusing, I know). With the sub-character set active in the character set menu (like “FACE”), select the controls you would like to move in to a new sub-set (like maybe just the mouth controls). Choose Create Sub-Character Set from the Character menu, and give it a new name (like “MOUTH”). And now you should have a drop-down menu coming from your sub-character set.

      Make sense?

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