Was this video useful to you?
Rate this video from 1 to 5.



Learn how to rig your character's art assets together using the deformation tools, and the difference between parented cut-out rig and Bone deformer.

About the Author

Christina Halstead

Christina Halstead

2D Animator and Character Designer

Burbank, USA


Video Transcript

Hi there, my name is Christina Halstead and this is a tutorial for Toon Boom Harmony Essentials. I'm going to give a brief overview of the difference between a cut-out rig and a deform rig and go into how to create deforms.

So here's a character, if you've been following my other tutorials. You'll see how I made this character. And what I'm going to show you now is a little bit about cut-outs, briefly.

So you can see I've highlighted his leg and you can see his pivot point right here. And his foot down here also has a pivot point by itself. If I wanted to make a hierarchy chain of a parent and child, where the foot is the child point to the leg, it's pretty simple actually. I would just take the foot and its peg...so right here I have, this is the foot's peg. And here's the foot art layer. You can tell the difference by the colour.

A peg will either be yellow or red, depending if it's going to be animated or not and the art layer is always pink.

So I've got the foot here and I'm going to go ahead and I'm going to drag it onto the leg layer. And then disapears. What it's done is it's gone into the leg layer and become part of the leg. So now, if I were to move the leg,...once it separates, there we go...you can see that the foot actually goes with it. And the difference being that over here you see this leg and this is unparented. The foot is unparented to the leg, so if I move the leg, it is going to move by itself without the foot. And you can see what that looks like right here.

So once again, the foot and the leg are kind of equal to each other and they're just going to move separately. Unless I select the over peg and then they both move together, but you don't want to animate with that. That would be for squash and stretch or adding a bit of bounce to it.

So back to this. You can see, like I said, everything is connected. And you can actually hit [B] to go up. So you can start at foot and go up to leg and go up to the over peg. So that's basically...oh look at that...how a cut-out would work.

What I'm going to show you is actually how to do deforms. So what I'm going to do is show you how to make one.

I'm going to go ahead and turn off all these layers. I'm going to turn on the tail layer. So deforms are basically bones, bones and articulations. And to create them, you go into what's called the Rigging tool. Which can be found in the Deformation toolbar. And just to be sure you have the Deformation toolbar. You can right-click on any of the, you know, grey areas and you'll see that you can select where your toolbars are. I discussed this earlier, in the Interface tutorial, but I can actually tell it where I want to put the deforms. So if I want to keep it up, turn it off, turn it on. These are all actually the same area, so I basically turned it off, instead of moved it. If I did want to move it to, let's say, any other area, that's how I would do it.

So, you have your deform right here. What I would do is select the tail, in this case the tail peg. You can tell by the colour, like I said. So you want to start at basically the base or the start, where it would meet the body. So you always want to go out toward the end of the extremity. Not always, but for most bone rigging systems that's the best way to get it to work.

So with the Rigging tool selected, you'll see the double circle here. That's basically where your off-set or your pivot point goes. So we're going to go ahead and click. And you'll see a little red and purple dot. If I click again on a different area, you'll see that I've made a bone basically. And this point is just a line. If I don't click again, it will just stay as a bone with a pivot point at the end. But if I do click again, I'll get an articulation.

Now since we're still in the rigging, rigging and basically set-up, I can go ahead if it's red; that tells me that I'm in the set-up mode. I can go ahead and pick this pivot point right here and I can move it around and set it up how I wish. The diamond shape, can be dragged out to increase the size of the articulation. And you can see that that is actually affecting the curve of the bone that's right there. So sharper angle, smaller circle. Well you know, the more gentle curve will happen, the bigger the circle. So move it down, so this curve is following the curve of the tail. That's how I drew it.

Generally speaking, it's probably best to start with a straight object. In this case, I had kind of a curled tail and I wouldn't be bending it too outrageously. I'm going to go ahead and move this down a little bit. But yeah generally, it's best to start with a more straight appendage. So now that it is set-up, I can go ahead and check it.

This is the Show All Manipulators. This will show the red ones, which are the set-up and the green ones, which is where the deformation is currently in the animation. And those show up as green. Now since I'm still in the Rigging mode, if I did any moving, it wouldn't do anything. So what I'm going to do is exit the Set-up Rigging Mode, by going to the Transform tool. And everything stayed green, because I still had Show Manipulators [on]. So I'll show that again without that on. So here it is in red with the Rigging tool and here it is green in the Transform tool. So now, if I go ahead and select anywhere along the bone line, you'll see that now, the artwork is following the bone. If I select the tip of the bone, or the pivot point, you can see that I can actually change the length of the bone as well. So if you just want to move the bone without changing the length, you always select the actual bone line.

You can see there's a little bit of breaking here. And this happens because the articulation can only bend so far before it starts cutting into itself. A way around that would be to drag the bone out, which would make that curve more gentle and less sharp and would take away that breaking point.

Now to reset your transformation, it would be this right here. I would reset it back to the way it was, which we can see here. It would look like this. This would be the red line right here. And since we're in the Transform tool, if I move this, it actually affects the original rest position, the red position. You can see how that's affecting the bone. So we'll go ahead and we'll hit the reset. And that puts it back. And that's basically how you make a simple bone system using just your art layer and the Rigging tool.

And just one more thing. You can see that you can find the two parts of the bone down here in the timeline. In this case, it's underneath, it's inside the peg, so that way the whole system moves. If I choose to move the peg system, the bones will move with it. And then of course you have the art layer. If I move that, which you would not want to do at this point, it moves, you know, it moves without the bones. So if you want to move the whole system, definitely pick the peg. And you can select the bones as well by tapping them in the Timeline view.