Harmony Stage provides you with the deformation technology to deform bitmap and vector drawings over a period of time. These deformers can be linked to create a hierarchy of deformation. This technology allows you to deform a character made out of one, or many, drawing or image layers and make it move as if it were a cut-out puppet. It also allows you to take an area in a single bitmap image and create animation by distortion.
Refer to the Deformation chapter in the Harmony User Guide to learn more details and for step-by-step explanation about deformation.
About the Deformation Effect
The Deformation Effect can be used to animate either bitmap or vector based graphics, it even works on gradients and textures. The Deformation Effect acts as a skeleton in which you can manoeuver different articulations or bend it into a fluid curve. It can prove useful in many situations including cut-out animation. When paired with your creativity, the Deformation Effect can produce some stunning results.
There are 2 main types of deformer:
All the Deformation Effect modules are available in the Module Library, under the Deformation tab.
The Bone Deformer allows you to create a basic or advanced skeleton structure in which the parent deformer will move the child deformers. The Bone Deformer is mostly used when animating the extremities of a character such as arms or legs and will add fluidity and a natural feel to the animation. The Bone effect can be manipulated to rotate a limb at an articulation joint and to also shorten or elongate the extremities of a limb. Every Bone module within a skeleton chain is linked together by an Articulation module.
The Curve Deformer has a hierarchy similar to that of the Bones Deformer and provides you with complete flexibility. For example, when editing curves, you can deform a straight line into an arc or a zig-zag with only a few clicks. Curve Deformers are mostly used to animate elements that do not have joints, for example hair or facial features. However, in some cases they can be used to animate limbs to create a specific animation genre, similar to the early rubber hose style of animation with typically simple, flowing curves, without articulation (no hinged wrists or elbows).
This section explains the essential items you need to know before starting to work with Deformation Effects:
There are some preferences that you must set in order to work efficiently with the deformation effects.
Setting up the performance preferences:
To be able to manipulate the deformer outside of the Setup Mode, you must enable the Deformation Controls.
You can also select all the modules from your Network view and select View > Show > Controls from the top menu.
To display the selected deformation controls:
To display the selected deformation controls and hide all the others:
To display all the deformer controls at the same time:
This section explains how you can quickly use the Rigging tool to create a basic Bone and Articulation or Curve rig. Before you can create a Basic Deformation rig, you must set up the performance preferences which are necessary to allow the system to process of the deformation effect efficiently.
To create a basic deformation rig:
This will automatically create a Deformation Group connected to the top node of the selected element. This group includes all the necessary deformation modules as well as the Bones, Articulations or Curves you created.
Note that this Network structure is the result of a simple rigging which was a created with the Create Posed Deformer in Create Deformation Above/Under preference disabled.
Artwork from Stella and Sam courtesy of ©2011 Stella and Sam Productions Inc.