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Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Rigging, animation, import/export of characters, props and cameras comprehensive tool set for After Effects.
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hrundi
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:31 pm

Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by hrundi » Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:46 pm

Hi there! :-)

Lets say, I have a prerigged arm here in a comp, done with puppet-pins and with a controller.
Now, I want to stack this arm-comp on a body in a different comp.
Question: Is it possible to connect the prerigged armcomp to the body (in its comp) in order to fully (re)act as in a normal characters IK-Chain?
If so: How? :-)

Thx in advance, keep on animating
hrundi

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Duduf
Posts: 814
Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:59 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by Duduf » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:24 am

Hi!

Two ways:

one a bit experimental for now (but I'm working on it):

- Use the "extract controllers" tool for the arm precomp (using expressions will be better for performance and you don't really need master properties for this), and parent the extracted controllers to the rest of the body
Easy but I'm not sure extracting again all the controllers of the characters will work correctly for animation. I'm working on that too and it will be guaranteed to work in the next update ;)

- Add all the structures in the same comp (the one of the body) but keep the need precomposed if you need. Add anything "substructure" (like puppet tool and bones) inside these precomps, but when it comes to parenting to the structures, use the "parent across comps" tool to parent what you need to the structures. Then, run the auto-rig, use the connector, do anything you need in the main comp. Et voilà :)

Note that you could also simply use the "parent across comps" tool with an arm already rigged, you'll just need to parent the structure of the arm to the torso, and parent the controller to another one outside of the comp. That should work correctly too. This tool is very, very useful!

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Duduf
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:59 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by Duduf » Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:24 am

The doc for parent across comps is there: https://duik-docs.rainboxlab.org/parent ... tions.html

hrundi
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:31 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by hrundi » Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:22 pm

Hi Duduf and thank you VERY much,
Your tip#2 brings me on the road now. Amazing! :-)

A few questions regarding to the parenting-across-comps window:
There are not all project comps listed here (also, pressing the refresh-button doesnt bring them up)?
And what is this pipette-button for?

Thx in advance,
hrundi

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Duduf
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:59 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by Duduf » Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:13 pm

Yep, that's normal, you can only parent from one precomp to a containing comp or the opposite. That's because if you have several levels of nesting, and use the same precomp in several comps, Duik can't decide how to handle transformations "in between" the precomp and the containing(s) comp(s).
The simple workaround is to parent each level to the next intermediate sub or top level comp manually, all the way to the comp where is your parent layer, using null layers for example

hrundi
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:31 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by hrundi » Thu Apr 02, 2020 8:23 pm

I see, my fault - I had the wrong Arm-Precomp thrown in the final Comp to rig. Therefore, the final Comp wasnt shown in the Cross-Comp-Window. ;)

But - I ran into an other issue now.
After cross-connecting the structures of my precom-Arm to the structures of the arm in the final Comp (and further after auto-rig&IK), moving of the final-comp-controller results in distorted image in its preview (please see attached picture). :shock:
Any idea whats happening here?
Distort.jpg
Distort.jpg (50.99 KiB) Viewed 1481 times
thx in advance
hrundi

hrundi
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Apr 01, 2020 11:31 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by hrundi » Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:25 pm

Got it.
Using the advanced Puppet Pins instead of the legacy ones I was able to get rid of this issue.

:)

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Duduf
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2016 2:59 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by Duduf » Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:41 pm

That's strange anyway. Maybe the mesh needed to be expanded a little

drylightn
Posts: 3
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:16 pm

Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by drylightn » Mon May 18, 2020 9:33 pm

Duduf wrote:
Thu Apr 02, 2020 7:24 am
- Use the "extract controllers" tool for the arm precomp (using expressions will be better for performance and you don't really need master properties for this),
Hi! Just saw the comment above regarding performance. I am about to "reference" a character into several shots using the methods outlined above and I was just curious if I'm using the latest version of DuIK and the latest version of AFX 2020, is the expression method of extracting controllers still faster/better performance than using the master properties? I'd like the best performance, but i'm still confused about when to use the master properties vs the expression method?

thanks!

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Duduf
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Re: Character Rigging using Precomps (Across Comps)

Post by Duduf » Sat May 23, 2020 5:34 pm

Hi,

yes, performance is still better with expressions ; Master properties have been improved in Ae2020, but they're still not as fast as expressions.

My suggestion is to test both in an empty project: import your character, put it in an empty comp and extract controllers using MPs. If the performance is enough for you, go for it!
If you feel it's a bit too laggy, try again with expression and see if the difference is significative, then you'll be able to make your choice.

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