Character Animator Community Spotlight (Winter 2019)


Hey everyone – Happy New Year. This is Dave from the Adobe Character Animator team, and here’s a quick look at some of the
best Character Animator projects we’ve seen over the past few months. Nerdist
has been doing some excellent work with Character Animator recently, especially
around Halloween when they had their character Onyx interview horror icons
about their opinions on all the reboots and remakes happening to their franchises. One standout feature of this is their style. They’ve lowered the frame rate
here to 12 fps and are using the pose to pose parameter in the face behavior to
hold on to poses before transitioning into the next pose, following a more
traditionally animated approach that works exceptionally well. Character
Animator allowed them to get a large cast of characters rigged and performed
quickly and efficiently and the result is fantastic. Jax and the Boo Grr was
made by Warm Springs productions in Montana. And they usually work on reality
TV shows but decided they wanted to pursue an internal passion project which
was making a series of cartoon shorts. The only problem was no one on the team
really had a lot of character animation experience. So basically they binge
watched Character Animator tutorials and came up with five episodes about a town
where humans and monsters lived together. The main thing that stood out to me is
how you can tell their film experience plays into the cartoon. It’s really well
paced, the shots and perspectives are varied, and there’s a lot of well-timed
sound effects and musical effects that help build the emotion and atmosphere.
It’s great seeing Character Animator lower the barrier to entry for animation
and help this group of dedicated people bring their passion project to life.
Great work! Next up is a music video by a band called Bicicletas and an animator
named Pedro Maccarone from Tungsteno Films used Character Animator
throughout to animate an alien character and the various band members. The alien
in particular really caught my attention: his excellent lip sync, tons of different
hand positions, expressive arm movements, it’s a really well-done character. And
throughout the video Pedro mixes 3d and motion graphics to keep things visually
interesting, and Character Animator fits really nicely into this animated
adventure. Digital Puppets shows up yet again in our spotlight (for I think like
the 273rd time or something like that) with their series Bar Talk. This is a
hybrid live and pre- recorded show that follows two
bartenders, Jacob and Miller, who answer questions from viewers. Like who should
win in a fight: a monkey with a knife or a polar bear, or if Lightning McQueen
should buy life insurance or auto insurance. They also held an online
poll to see which patron with an outstanding bar tab they should track
down, which ended up being Luke Skywalker, so they integrated themselves into
footage from The Last Jedi to demand their money. It’s a really clever concept
and a great example of using viewer or fan interactions to drive the content of
a show. Really nicely done as usual. Jessie Jay Jones is a 2d animator and
cartoonist who livestreams a lot of his creative process on Twitch, and he uses a
variety of programs – including Adobe animate – but during his streams he takes
on the look of this animated monochromatic character. And it’s a great
character – the head has a really nice parallax quality to it, while the pen
moves on his drawing tablet, and his fingers tap away on the keyboard. This
character has shown up in many of his animations as well so it’s really cool
to see that carried through to the live stream persona as well. Jammy Man is an educational piece about picking up your trash that was created by Worker Studio,
who we’ve featured here before. This was done for a local PBS station and they’re
planning to do more installments in the future, mixing music and education. The
characters are beautifully rendered and animated, and the background and
foreground elements are really nicely done as well. Fun Fact: they used an old version of Character Animator with the walk
behavior’s head bang preset to get the rocking back and forth motion of the
musicians. I’m definitely looking forward to more songs and adventures from these
two in 2019. So how do you get across the idea that certain objects shouldn’t be
flushed down the toilet and still make it entertaining and visually appealing?
Well that’s exactly what the Progress Film Company did for Southern Water in
the UK with their video the Unflushables, marrying 1960 style TV puppetry with
Character Animator faces for the eyes and mouth, presumably motion tracked with After Effects. They did a great job with it and the end result is unique, funny,
and truly informative. I hope we see more inanimate objects brought to life using
this technique because it’s a really smart concept. Alright – that’s it for this installment. Thank you very much for watching, and if
you’d like to share things that you’ve made for possible inclusion in a future
episode, feel free to use hashtag Character Animator on social media,
that’s usually how myself and the team find these things. And if you run into
any trouble and need some support rigging your character or figuring out
triggers or recording or stuff like that, that’s place to get help is the official
Character Animator forums on Adobe’s website. That’s it for today – thank you
very much for watching, and have fun!

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