Moving limbs between layers

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badders
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Moving limbs between layers

Post by badders » Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:39 pm

Hi -

Very new to all this so excuse me if I'm asking stupid questions...

I have a character and background scene created from PSD image files (not vector images), and I want part of the character to move behind a second layer while the rest of the body stays in front of it.

The character is a bird sitting on a perch, and all elements of the character bone set are in front of the perch, which is fine, except for the tail which needs to be behind when it dips below the horizontal line of the perch. I've tried moving the perch into the 'rig', placing it below the body and feet but above the tail, but even with perch 'locked' (using a script) and the layer's animation disabled it still moves with the rest of the rig. If I take the tail out of the rig and place it below the (unrigged) perch layer I then lose the ability to keep the tail synced to the rest of the body rig.

It may be that I need to change a layer setting somewhere OR use some sort of (variable) mask, but after searching through heaps of tutorials and the manual I've been unable to find out how to do this.

OH: I toyed with the idea of adding a second tail layer and switching visibility on and off but it's a clumsy and complicated workaround for what seems (?) a very simple layering effect. Hopefully there's an easy solution I'm missing?! Any help greatly appreciated...
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alanthebox
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Re: Moving limbs between layers

Post by alanthebox » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:59 pm

I think this problem has many solutions, so, I can only give my personal approach (I'm sure there are better ones out there!).

Are you using the Pro version of Moho? If so, I would most likely put the perch below the main bird rig, and then right click on the bird rig and create a reference layer. Drag this layer underneath the perch and hide all but the tail (assuming the tail is already its own layer). Then, I would just toggle the visibility between the two tail layers based on whether or not the tail should be in front of or behind the perch. The reference layer you create will inherit the animation you apply to the original bird rig. So, if you continue to make adjustments to the initial rig, the reference layer will reflect that.

If you are using Debut, you can still emulate the reference layer. After all your animation is complete, you could just duplicate the bird rig, drag the duplicate under the perch and hide all layers but the tail. And then toggle the visibility of the two tails. The only drawback is that you can no longer edit the animation of the original bird rig (as they would be considered totally separate objects at this point).

I hope this makes sense!
Daxel
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Re: Moving limbs between layers

Post by Daxel » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:21 pm

Welcome to the forum!
Another solution is to left the perch layer inside the rig like you did but avoid the perch from being affected by the bones. To achieve this, select the perch layer and click on Bone - Release Layer And points (this Bone menu is on the upper left side of the screen). Now the perch layer and its points will no longer be affected by any bones.
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Víctor Paredes
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Re: Moving limbs between layers

Post by Víctor Paredes » Wed Apr 22, 2020 6:21 pm

badders wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:39 pm
I've tried moving the perch into the 'rig', placing it below the body and feet but above the tail, but even with perch 'locked' (using a script) and the layer's animation disabled it still moves with the rest of the rig.
This is my favorite solution for most of the cases. But, If I'm right about your project, the perch is moving because it's following the bones from the rig.
To avoid this, just create a new bone in the rig with no parent and no strength (so it won't affect the character), then select the perch layer and bind it to that bone using the Bind layer tool.
Now the perch will only move if you move that specific bone.
Víctor Paredes
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badders
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Re: Moving limbs between layers

Post by badders » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:31 pm

Thanks for feedback so far.
No suggestion has YET worked but I'm going to try going through them again later after deleting and reimporting the 'perch' layer - I think it might be that it's somehow linked to one of the other layers (invisibly) when I exported the original PSD, so starting again should tell me whether that's the problem. A couple of queries though:
@alanthebox: I couldn't find reference layer dialogue or any mention of reference layers in my help files. Is it a new 'moho' feature? (I'm running a previously neglected version of Anime Pro 10).
@Daxel: Have tried this, but as soon as I add the perch to the rig it 'jumps' from its original position, and then even with layer and points released it continues to move as though part of rig. This is why I'm wondering if it's (invisibly) linked to another layer in the rig because of the original PSD file export... (?)
@Victor: Variation of the reply above, which again leads me to wonder if the original file export created a strange link.

I will keep at it and if all else fails will try the 'emulated' reference rig suggested as a last step. I was going to try it anyway, but only as a last resort because the other options (editing on the fly) are preferable. I'll let you know how I get on!
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Víctor Paredes
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Re: Moving limbs between layers

Post by Víctor Paredes » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:45 pm

badders wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:31 pm
Have tried this, but as soon as I add the perch to the rig it 'jumps' from its original position, and then even with layer and points released it continues to move as though part of rig. This is why I'm wondering if it's (invisibly) linked to another layer in the rig because of the original PSD file export... (?)
@Victor: Variation of the reply above, which again leads me to wonder if the original file export created a strange link.
I'm not sure if I understand the issue, but here is my guess:
If a group/bone is scaled, moved, rotated or affected by any other transformation, then all its content will also follow those transformations.
So, if your character is, for instance, scaled at 50% and then you insert any layer into it, that layer will also be shown as scaled at 50%.
The solution for this is simply re adjust the size of it in frame zero (and it is easier if you keep a copy of the layer outside, so you have a reference of the original position).
Víctor Paredes
Former Moho Product Manager
Rigger and animator in Cartoon Saloon - 'Wolfwalkers' & 'My father's dragon'
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Daxel
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Re: Moving limbs between layers

Post by Daxel » Thu Apr 23, 2020 6:40 pm

badders wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:31 pm

@Daxel: Have tried this, but as soon as I add the perch to the rig it 'jumps' from its original position, and then even with layer and points released it continues to move as though part of rig. This is why I'm wondering if it's (invisibly) linked to another layer in the rig because of the original PSD file export... (?)
Yes, if the perch jumps from its original position is probably what Victor said, you have some changes aplied to the bone group layer. Every layer in Moho have layer parameters that you can change and animate with the Transform Layer Tool, even those layers that can have layers inside (like group layers, bone layers or switch layers). So when you change the position parameters of a bone layer, for example, that moves all the layers inside.
To see if the bone layer has any change in those parameters, click on the bone layer, then select the Transform Layer Tool and look at the paremeters that are shown on the top bar. The X and Y position, the scale, etc. You have buttons there to reset those values, and then your bird should change it's position. In general, I think is better to avoid messing with those parameters, specially when there are other layers inside, to avoid this kind of confusion. When you want to move an entire character that has many drawings inside, you can just move the root bone of that character instead.
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