Free Toon Boom Animate lesson on Hierarchical Character Rigging!

Toon Boom Rigging Tutorial



Click the image or here to begin downloading the video tutorial (150Mb) (by the time you read what its about below, it will probably done downloading) 

As many of you have figured out, I’ve become a huge fan of this program recently. It is made for animators. Real animators. I’ll discuss below. But if you haven’t downloaded their free learning edition of the program, do so now by clicking over yonder. It won’t expire, it just watermarks your final renders but otherwise its fully play-able. 

The free Toon Boom Animate tutorial advertised above is split into 3 parts. The first part is just a drawing refresher. You can find another lesson on this blog that goes over most of the same stuff, but this time I’m actually drawing something that I’ll be animating, so there’s some discussion about setting it up for animation that you might want to hear. Or if you just like watching someone draw, have fun.

If you’re in a hurry skip the 15 minutes of drawing, and get to the second part which is the real meat of the tutorial. And pay attention if you’re used to doing things in Flash. Setting up a character properly in Animate is a bit different, and totally worth the effort to learn how to do it right. Here’s what you can look forward to…

Once you have your hierarchy setup, like the hand is a child of the forearm, and thats a child of the top of the arm, you can… 

  1. Animate using Inverse Kinematics. If you aren’t familiar with IK, think of animating by pulling around the bones of a skeleton.Pull one part, what’s attached follows.
  2. Swap out artwork at anytime during your animation (while motion tweening or in the IK chain) . So lets say you have a walk cycle, well obviously your body parts will need to change out based on the movement of the character. The view of the hand isn’t the same coming toward the viewer as it is swinging away. Note: You cannot swap out symbols in Flash CS4 if they are on an IK chain
  3. Nudge your symbols backward and foward in z-space when they are chained up. Don’t overlook this. It might seem minor, but its a huge feature. At different times during a walk cycle a character’s arm might swing in front of the body, and then in back. So in Toon Boom Animate you can slightly nudge symbols forward or back to handle that. Note that in Flash CS4 if your symbols are on an IK chain if you send them back or forward they will be that way throughout the entire animation, so every past keyframe would get changed if you moved the arrangement.
  4. You can scale, skew, and stretch symbols over time in your animation. Sounds like a no brainer right. Scaling is pretty fundamental in animation…. do you see where this is heading…Flash CS4’s IK cannot scale over time.

You all know I love me some Flash for web development (and every else but character animation), but this is why I said that Toon Boom Animate is for real animators. You all will eat this program up.  

Oh and there is a 3rd part to this tutorial. After I rigged up everything, I did a 20 minute test animation to get that cowboy walking. It wouldn’t get me a job at Disney , but its what I did in real-time, and considering that, I think its pretty decent (yet I’m not showing it off , am I? ) 

Okay get downloading! Links again for non-explorers…

Get Toon Boom Animate!  

The tutorial mentioned above on Character Rigging & IK in Animate!  (150MB download)

Past free lessons…

Some stuff on the brush tools in Toon Boom Animate.

Lesson on importing vector art, drawing substitutions, cameras, effects and more in Animate.

7 thoughts on “Free Toon Boom Animate lesson on Hierarchical Character Rigging!

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