In Toon Boom Animate and Animate Pro, the rigging process is where building a puppet can take several different directions. In this section, you will learn how to create a simple rig. Afterward, you will learn how to add pegs and create a hierarchy. Please open the scene provided with this tip before you start going through the steps. This tip is divided as follows:
To perform this exercise, you will need to download the following sample material provided with this article.
Downloads: Sample Material (ZIP)
The Rigging Basics topic is divided as follows:
Simple rigging is very fast and easy to do. It is built as follows:
The advantage of using this technique is that you are free to move any part around without being influenced by any parent layer.
However, since the parts are not parented to each other, the parts will move from point A to point B along a straight trajectory. The hand will not follow the arm's rotation. You will have to set more keyframes for the hand to move along a curved path.
When you want a part to follow another one, such as the forearm following the arm, you can attach the layers one to the other. For example, you can attach the forearm layer to the arm layer without having to encapsulate the forearm into the arm layer. They will still be parented, but you will be able to access the forearm directly without having to enter the arm layer.
The advantage of parenting layers is that the child layers will follow the parent smoothly without having to select them or create a series of keyframes.
The disadvantage of parenting layers is that you are not able to move the parent independently of its children, since the child layers receive all the transformation information from their parent.
Parenting layers such as the arms and legs and letting the torso and hips independent from those is often a good solution.
To attach one layer to another, you have to drag the desired layer onto the other one in the Timeline view.
Animate and Animate Pro offer powerful techniques to create hierarchies between your layers without having to encapsulate Symbols into each other. These techniques are a great improvement over the less efficient and time consuming method of creating parenting between your layers by inserting Symbols into other Symbols. Therefore, rigging with Symbols inside Symbols is NOT recommended.
When you are doing more advanced puppet rigging, you can use peg layers. Peg layers are trajectory layers that do not contain drawings. They are motion paths that you can use to control your entire puppet or advanced hierarchies. Parenting a drawing layer to a peg layer allows you to divide your motions on two separated levels. You can scale your body part directly on the drawing layer. This way, you do not affect any child layers that could be attached to that part. Then, you can perform your translation and rotation on the peg layer so that all the parts attached to that peg layer will follow the same trajectory.
You will start by attaching the facial features to the head.
The advantage of parenting the features to the head layer is that you can easily animate each facial feature, and they will all follow the head motion.
To parent the facial features to the head:
You can help yourself with the Network view which is useful when it is time to do advanced ordering and hierarchy.
To order your head layers in the Network view:
Now that the character's head is ready, you can move on to the body. You can do a simple rigging where all of the body parts are independent one from the other, or create some parenting between some of the layers.
Simple rigging consists of leaving the layers in the Timeline view without doing any kind of parenting. Later on, you will attach those layers to a master peg and organize them in the correct order.
Your drawings must be connected to a Composite module. A Composite module takes all the drawing layers connected in it and flattens them into a single image which allows you to organize your network and manipulate your puppet easily. It also allows you to apply effects on your complete character. The Composite module is useful when you have to deal with a lot of modules in the Network view. If you import your layers into the Timeline view, they will automatically be connected to the Composite module available in the Network view.
In Animate Pro, if your modules are not connected to your Composite module in the Network view, you can connect them all at once following the Timeline order.
To display the modules that are not connected to a Composite module in your Timeline view, you must enable the Advanced Display mode.
To connect your modules to a Composite module:
Animate and Animate Pro let you extend your rigging techniques beyond normal boundaries and sets new standards. You can create hierarchies without encapsulating your Symbols inside each other by creating a linked structure between your layers.
You should create a hierarchy on your arms and legs and keep the arms and legs separated from the body. This gives you more animation freedom. This way, when you need to scale or skew the torso, it will not affect the entire body.
To create a hierarchy in the Timeline view:
At this point, it is possible that your character's pieces may show up in the wrong order.
There are two ways to fix this. First, you can reorder your layers by dragging them to a higher or lower level in the Timeline view. The top layer is displayed in front of the others and the bottom one is displayed behind. Second, you can use the Z-axis nudging (forward and backward) for the extra views.
The layers should be ordered to match the view you will use the most often, generally the three-quarter front. Do not worry if the other views are still in the wrong order, you will order them in the next step. Do not move the drawings to other layers.
To order the layers:
The Network view allows you to reorder your layers without breaking any hierarchy. For example, if you want the Head layer to appear behind all of the facial features, in the Timeline view, you cannot simply move the layer down because you will break the parenting between the head layers. In the Network view, since you have a set of flexible connections, you can change the Composite module ordering without breaking the parenting between the modules.
The Composite module ordering corresponds to your Timeline ordering unless the Network view's organization is to complex to be displayed in a simple layout such as the Timeline's one. The element connect in the left-most port in the Composite module is displayed in front in the Camera view as the one connected in the right-most port is displayed behind.
To order your layers in the Network view:
If you created a hierarchy on your arms, legs or other body parts, it is possible that you will want a part, such as the hand, to appear in front of its parent. Yet, if you move the hand layer above the arm layer, you will break the hierarchy. To reorder a layer rigged in a hierarchy, nudge it backwards or forwards.
You will do the same for the layers that are not in the right order on the extra views. Do not place the drawing on another layer. You want to keep all your drawings of the body parts in the same layers like a box containing all of the hands or all of the shoes.
Animate allows you to move your elements in three dimensions:
In the same way you create multiplane backgrounds (depth), you can do a micro nudge of the part to be reordered and see it in front of the other elements, even if its layer is actually behind the other ones in the Timeline view. The Forward-Backward position can also be animated over time.
Repeat the following instructions for all the views.
To nudge your parts backward and forward:
When you animate your character, you will probably need to resize and reposition it to fit your scene. When you need to scale down or move your character, it is a good idea to hook (attach) the whole puppet to a trajectory.
Attaching your puppet to a peg will allow you to scale it and reposition it without having to do this to your different parts and pieces. Only one layer will contain the position information, this makes your animation easier to modify and control.
To add a Master peg:
Once all of your drawings are ordered and your master peg is added, you need to insert keyframes on each cell to create all of the function curves and block your pose in place.
To create the keyframes:
For more information about fixing joints and creating patches, refer to the Animate User Guide: