Physics – Adobe Character Animator CC Tutorial

Physics – Adobe Character Animator CC Tutorial


Adding physics in Adobe Character Animator
CC creates interactive elements that can help add life into your scenes. Open the example Physics Beginner Lesson Character
Animator project file, and in the Project panel, inside the Completed folder, double-click
Scene 1 – Basic Physics. This should open the scene in Record mode. If you drag the red bar or the blue circle,
you’ll notice they’ll collide with each other, as well as the green boxes and purple
ramp. The objects bounce off the sides of the scene,
and letting go of the red bar returns it back to its original position. If you click the scene refresh icon in the
lower-right corner of the Scene panel, the simulation restarts, and you can briefly see
an orange triangle that falls through everything. Back to the Project panel, if we go into the
Unrigged folder and double-click Scene 1 – Basic Physics (Unrigged), we’ll see the same scene
without any of the physics working yet. To start rigging, double-click Puppet 1 – Basic
Physics (Unrigged), which opens this puppet in Rig mode. You can immediately see that all the parts
we want to work with are independent groups, with crown icons next to them. This allows them to act as multiple independent
elements, instead of moving together in unison. Click the top level puppet above your list
of layers, and you’ll see Physics already listed under the Behaviors in the right column. Any time you import a PSD or AI file into
Character Animator, Physics is one of the behaviors that will automatically get added
to your puppet. In the Puppet panel, select the Circle group,
and scroll down through the Tags area on the right. Under the Physics section, click Dynamic. This does two things. First, if the Attach Style was set to Weld
or Hinge, it automatically switches it to Free (we don’t need this to be attached
to anything else). Second, Collide also gets automatically tagged
(these two are commonly seen together). A Dynamic tag means this artwork will be subject
to the laws of gravity, and a Collide tag means it can bump into other collidable elements. We can also add a Draggable tag to let us
move it around with the mouse or fingers on a touch-enabled display. Let’s test things out so far. Return to Record mode by clicking it in the
top Workspaces bar, and you’ll notice the blue circle immediately falls and bounces
on the ground. But if we try to drag it, it stays in place
instead of bouncing around as expected. To fix this, we need to find the Dragger behavior
on the right and change two things: switch After Move to Return to Rest, and reduce the
Return Duration to 0. Click the scene refresh icon and now, the
circle can be dragged and bounced around the scene. Return to Rig mode, and shift-select all 4
squares. Clicking the Dynamic tag will set all of these
to a Free attach style and also add the Collide tag. Now click the Triangle. To make it fall but not collide with anything,
click the Dynamic tag, and then untag Collide. To make the purple platform stay in place
but still collide with objects, select Static Platform in the layers list, then only tag
it as Collide. Finally, select the Dynamic Platform group,
tag it as Dynamic, which should also auto-tag Collide, and add a Draggable tag as well. Then, scroll down to Behaviors in the right
column, click the + button, and add a new Physics behavior to it. When you add a Physics behavior to a group,
it will follow those rules instead of the global ones in the top level puppet. The only thing we’ll change here is under
Collision, setting Return Strength to 50%, so it will always try to snap back into its
original position. If you return to Record mode, now the scene
should be working just like the original example. Feel free to play around with the parameters
in the Physics behavior to change things like gravity, wind strength, friction, bounciness,
and more. Whether it’s a character falling into a
stack of boxes, a baseball being thrown, or an astronaut floating in outer space, physics
are a great way to add dynamic elements into your creations. The dangle tag in Adobe Character Animator
CC is a great way to add secondary animations to your character that sway and bounce along
with your character’s movements. Open the example Physics Beginner Lesson Character
Animator project file, and in the Project panel, inside the Completed folder, double-click
Scene 2 – Dangle Physics. This should open the scene in Record mode. As I move my head in the webcam, I’ll notice
a lot of extra movement to this character – her hat bounces, her hair swings back and
forth, and the drawstrings on her coat move as well. If I adjust the Stiffness parameter under
Dangle inside the Physics behavior on the right to 100% or higher, these elements become
a lot more rigid, but if I reduce stiffness to 1%, they get really long and springy. Back to the Project panel, if we go into the
Unrigged folder and double-click Scene 2 – Dangle Physics (Unrigged), we’ll see the same scene
without any of the physics working yet – we just get a flat character. To start rigging, double-click Puppet 2 – Dangle
Physics (Unrigged), which opens this puppet in Rig mode. To get a better view of my character, I’ll
drag over the zoom percentage to zoom in closer, and then hold down the spacebar while dragging
to pan over and get her centered. You can immediately see that this character
has a lot of independent groups with crown icons next to them, because we want these
elements to move on their own, without pushing or pulling on other parts of the face. Let’s start by selecting the Smallhair1
group, which is one of the triangle hair pieces on her forehead. The green circle that appears in the middle
is called the origin handle. This is where the artwork will pivot from
and where it’s attached to other parts. In the case of this hair, we want it to swing
from its roots where it would be connected to the head, so we can drag the origin handle
towards the top of the shape. When we do this, we can see the underlying
artwork it’s attaching to show up as green – in this case, the character’s head. Now select the Dangle tool from the far right
of the bottom toolbar, and add a new dangle handle at the bottom of the hair. You can think of dangle handles as small metal
balls, which help determine where gravity will be pulling down on the artwork – in
this case, the tip of the hair. Let’s do the exact same thing to the other
two Smallhair triangles. Select one, move the origin handle to the
top, and then add a Dangle handle at the bottom. Then repeat the process for the last one. Because these elements have similar shapes
and rigging, they’ll all tend to move in similar ways. This same technique can be applied to the
rest of the character. For the two Longhair groups, move the origins
to the top so they attach to the head, and add Dangle handles at the bottom towards the
tip. For the two Drawstring groups inside the Body
group, move the origins to the top behind the neck layer and add Dangle handles at the
bottom. The Backhair group is treated a little differently,
because this is one large group that has multiple strands combined together instead of a long,
narrow piece. In this case, move the origin to around the
forehead, then use the Stick tool to draw a stick directly across it, and tag that as
Fixed. This way, the top part of the hair will stick
in place instead of coming unhinged and having the sides swing out. Then I can add multiple Dangle handles below
to have gravity pull down on several parts of this larger artwork. Finally, sometimes you might want one element
to move a little differently than the others, like this hat. So I can select it, scroll down to the Behaviors
on the right, click the + button, and select Physics. Now the changes I make here will only affect
the hat – in this case, I’ll just change the Dangle stiffness to 50% to give it a little
more bounce. If I return to Record mode, I should see all
the parts I’ve added dangle handles to now reacting to my movements. Playing around with the Physics behavior parameters
like gravity, wind, and stiffness can make these reactions more or less subtle, so experiment
with these in your own characters and see what looks best to you. Adding particles in Adobe Character Animator
CC allows you to create interesting weather systems like rain and snow, or projectile
elements like cannonballs. Open the example Physics Beginner Lesson Character
Animator project file, and in the Project panel, inside the Completed folder, double-click
Scene 3 – Particle Physics. This should open the scene in Record mode. Blue circles immediately start raining down
from the top of the scene. As you move your head, the Umbrella character
bumps into them, sending them bouncing onto the floor where they eventually fade away
after a few seconds. Meanwhile, holding down the left mouse button
shoots a larger droplet out of the green pipe in the upper-right corner, which bounces off
the umbrella and through the blue circle particles. Back to the Project panel, if we go into the
Unrigged folder and double-click Scene 3 – Particle Physics (Unrigged), we’ll see the same scene
without any of the physics working yet. To start rigging, double-click Puppet 3 – Particle
Physics (Unrigged), which opens this puppet in Rig mode. Getting started with particles is easy. Shift-select Ball1 and Ball2, scroll down
to Behaviors on the right, click the + button, and select Particles. I’m going to set the Particle Mode to Snow,
which starts the simulation with the particles falling from the sky. Then I’ll drop the Particles Per Second
to 5, change the velocity to 250 pixels per second, and Spread to 50%. These look good to me, but you can adjust
these parameters to whatever you want. I’ll make sure to check the box next to
Collide – you don’t need any additional physics tags for particles. I’ll also check Fade Particle Opacity so
they gracefully disappear. Because I want these two particle systems
to be slightly different, I might then only select Ball2 and change a few things, like
Randomness and Particles Per Second. Then, to make sure the Umbrella will do its
job and keep the rain out, I’ll select its group and simply give it a Collide tag. Finally, to make the larger droplet into a
cannon, I’ll select the Droppy group, add another Particle behavior to it, change the
mode to Cannon, and make sure to check Collide. I can also experiment with the parameters
below. I’m going to start with only 1 Particle
Per Second and the Direction shooting out to the left, at about 270 degrees. If I return to Record mode, now the circles
fall down and bump into each other, the umbrella moves with my head and collides with the rain,
and the larger droplet can be shot out of the pipe. Colliding particles can add some fun effects
into your scene, and even small parameter adjustments can lead to completely different
looking simulations. See what works for your character and scenes,
and have fun.