Not sure how to do this (if possible): Heirarchy swap layer

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ladlon
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Not sure how to do this (if possible): Heirarchy swap layer

Post by ladlon » Sun Feb 02, 2020 9:13 pm

Hi. I'm hoping someone can point out if this sort of thing can be done (in Moho Pro 13), and if so, how...

What I am basically after is creating a multi-directional (facing) character rig, but rather than doing the standard (vector) way, of creating dials that control an action which morphs the character (and all attached features, like eyes, etc) from facing front to side, I want to see if it can be done a slightly different way...

The main difference, is that I want to have the dial SNAP the character from a front facing, to 3/4, to side (...as I plan to use rigid images, not vectors)... and (somehow) have all the other child elements (eyes, etc, and their rigging) shift/adjust to align with each direction.

It's basically a swap layer/element, but one where each direction also contains its own set of child elements (eyes, etc)... which I'm not sure is possible. I know you can obviously do (say) a swap layer for various hand poses, but I'm not aware/sure of the ability to have children layers attached to each of those.

So, either you'd have to have a swap layer that contains 3 complete character rigs in each direction... or have a swap layer that then somehow also controls the placement/alterations of the elements form a SINGLE rig.

I'm hoping someone can point me in the right direction. All the videos I see are based on fully vector characters, and therefore can just use actions to do this sort of thing. My version would be using rigid image (non-vector)... although I'm probably still having the eyes and maybe the mouth as vectors).
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MrMiracle77
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Re: Not sure how to do this (if possible): Heirarchy swap layer

Post by MrMiracle77 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:47 am

Any type of layer can be the child of a swap/switch layer. I do this all the time with heads, though each head has to have its own independent rigging, and I do have to make sure the face matches after the switch changes. There may be a way to script them together, but that's beyond my skill right now.
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Greenlaw
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Re: Not sure how to do this (if possible): Heirarchy swap layer

Post by Greenlaw » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:19 pm

I use drawing swaps in for nearly all the rigs I created for our Netflix shows. Technically, they're hybrid setups--they switch with limited animation to smooth the transitions. Here's a simplified description of the setup:

First, I split the head layers from the rest of the body, so the head and torso each have their own Switch groups. This way the head can rotate independently from the rest of the body.

The head is broken out in four drawing 'view' groups inside its switch layer:

1. The front and front 3QL and 3QR views are all one drawing inside the first group simply called Front. This setup is pretty simple because the front to 3Q is usually just slightly animating the face bone that has all the face elements attached, the hair, and the shape of the head to the 3Q pose. Note: Always start with the front pose. Trust me, this will save you from headaches later on in the process.

2. The side view drawings are different head drawings from the front and in groups called SideL and SideR. You can use many of the same bones in the main rig in this view but the eye bones may have and offset problem. I sometimes just use an additive key to re-position the eye to the proper location when the drawing switches (as part of the Smart Bone animation). Victor Paredes prefers to use eye bones that are completely outside of the rig, usually floating above the head, so having the exact placement of the eye bones for front and side views becomes a non-issue. I'm considering adopting this method since it removes the extra work.

The main reason I switch to a different drawing for this view has to do with the mouth. In The Croods TV show, we just allowed the head shape to mask the front mouth shape for the side view of the head so there was a black shape rather than a hole. That was simple and effective for the look of the cave drawings. But the art director on Boss Baby wanted to see the mouths actually 'cut out' from the head shapes. This required a different drawing setup with a hole cut out in the side view head drawing that can be filled by a different set of mouth drawings.

Since we used a Smart Bone to control the mouth shapes, the two different views of the mouth drawings stayed in sync if the head angle needed to change. (That was probably over-thinking things on my part; in practice, it's not really necessary.)

For the opposite side view, I can usually just flip the drawings or head bone. This is easy for symmetrical heads; if the character is designed with non-symmetrical parts, like the hair, I'll make different part drawings for the two side views.

3. Finally, there is the back and back 3QL and 3QR views.

When animating the turns, the groups switch but the rig continues to use bones for the head angle, and if Smart Bones are used, I make sure the controls are shared in each view so they stay in sync. This saves the animator from matching the pose after switching view angles.

The body turn has similar setup to the above, and I usually only turn the torso in the control. The limbs have their own turning controls, which can be swapped drawings using the same bones, or morphed drawings. It really depend on the character design.

If you study the characters in our Boss Baby show, you can see that they're all set up like this. Because the animation tends to be pretty snappy, you hardly notice the 'pop' in the transition. If you look at my 2019 demo reel, you can examine many of this setup in action: D.R. Greenlaw: My 2nd DreamWorks Animation Demo Reel (2019) The 'hero' rigs in BB (i.e., Boss and Timmy) actually have a bit more going on in their rigs but even they follow the basic setup described above.

Hope this helps.

Plug: I have more tricks that simplify turning setups but that requires a examples and much longer explanations. If you're interested, I'm planning long format 'Animaker' rigging and animation videos. These will likely be paid classes but I'll try to keep the cost very reasonable. Will post announcements when they're ready.
D.R. Greenlaw
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Greenlaw
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Re: Not sure how to do this (if possible): Heirarchy swap layer

Post by Greenlaw » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:46 pm

A while back, I needed to create a whole bunch of characters for a different show very quickly. I didn't have time to create complex rigs for each character so I wound up mimicking the setup generated by Moho's Character Wizard. With this setup, there are separate skeletons for each view, that get swapped in a switch. I didn't actually use CW for my rigs of course but I did find that creating separate skeletons for each view angle was a very fast way to create a lot of characters with 'turning' capabilities.

My setups weren't exactly like the CW setup. For example, the head group was as setup as described in the previous post, using four views vs CW's 8 views, with smooth transitions for front to 3Q views. But for the head backside view, I didn't bother to set up even a partial turn, and if we absolutely needed a 'smoother' turn in the head back views, I just added two more drawings...no biggie.

The only problem with this setup is that having separate skeletons for each view becomes more painful to animate because you need to keep matching the poses in each view. Because of this, I avoided using this approach after we finished this project.

But if I had to create a ton of characters very quickly again, I'd probably consider the same approach again with some adjustments to make animation a little easier.
D.R. Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Little Green Dog Channel on Vimeo | Greenlaw's Demo Reel 2019 Edtion
Lead Digital Animator, Dreamworks Animation

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Daxel
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Re: Not sure how to do this (if possible): Heirarchy swap layer

Post by Daxel » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:24 pm

Greenlaw wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:19 pm
Plug: I have more tricks that simplify turning setups but that requires a examples and much longer explanations. If you're interested, I'm planning long format 'Animaker' rigging and animation videos. These will likely be paid classes but I'll try to keep the cost very reasonable. Will post announcements when they're ready.
Very interested in those! Do you have an estimated date in mind?
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