Possible Layering issue/new to smart bones

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the_gill_boy
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Possible Layering issue/new to smart bones

Post by the_gill_boy » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:29 pm

Greetings,
I have been using AS on and off for quite a while but recently, in the course of my new project, I discovered smart bones, (I know I'm late to the game). Those things are amazing! After watching tons of videos online about how to use them I began setting up my character, and everything was going great until I got to the eyes. So I watched more videos, but the problem I found with most of these Youtube tutorials is, they show you how to make a simple eye rig/control bone but never how it fits in with the whole of the puppet.

The issue I am having is, I am trying to create a control bone/smart bone/anything that can move the pupils of my character in unison. I have tried problem-solving this in AS but nothing seems to work and If I take apart the face the way it is set up now the smart bone blink dial I have set up no longer works... I am not sure if the issue stems from my poor understanding of smart bones and control bones, or problematic layering. I have attached an image file of my character and the layers. Maybe someone can spot something I've done wrong. This is the most complex rig I've made to date so I figured I was bound to run into a stumbling block at some point.

Thanks in advance for any and all help/suggestions!

p.s. I'm using AS Pro 11 if that helps or is pertinent.


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Greenlaw
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Re: Possible Layering issue/new to smart bones

Post by Greenlaw » Thu Sep 19, 2019 2:19 am

I wouldn't bother using a Smart Bone for the eye movement. IMO, eye movement is better controlled by manually moving a bone. While it's technically possible to link the eye movement to a couple of Smart Bones or a 'joystick' setup, TBH, this effort unnecessarily complicates the rig and it doesn't make animating a character's eye position any easier.

Where a Smart Bone control is really helpful is when you set it up to open and close the eyelids. Or maybe dilating/contracting the pupil. Or to dramatically change the eye's shape (i.e., cartoon 'surprise' eyes.) A Smart Bone Action is useful for linking animation keys that you plan to use repeatedly to a single animated control. This is especially useful for complicated animations where the keyframes may be spread over several layers. For really simple stuff, it's probably not worth the time to set it up.

On a related note, one trick I picked up from studying Victor Paredes' rigs is to place the eye bones outside of the rig. You can do this by Layer Binding the eyes, or if you also want control over eye rotation, etc., use a constraint to move/rotate. This offset control is useful where the eye might not be in the same location when you turn the head and switch to a different drawing. Having the bone set away from the head introduces a 'disconnect' (like when drawing with a tablet) but this somehow seems less jarring when the offset is consistently applied to the eyes for all of character's head drawings. Another advantage with the offset is that you can animate the eye bones without interference from the bone clutter that may exist inside the head area.

Hope this helps.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
D.R. Greenlaw
Artist/Partner - Little Green Dog | Little Green Dog Channel on Vimeo | Greenlaw's Demo Reel 2019 Edtion
Lead Digital Animator, Dreamworks Animation

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the_gill_boy
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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:38 am

Re: Possible Layering issue/new to smart bones

Post by the_gill_boy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:45 am

Hi,
Thank you for your reply.

I believe I understand what you mean, for this character I used the smart bones to 1) make a blink dial (as you mentioned) and 2) cause the muscles to flex when bent as he is a "wrestler" type character.

I am totally fine with using any method to move the eyes as long as I can move them in unison. I tried creating a bone outside of the rig as you suggested to bind the pupil layers to, however for some reason all binding options are gone from those layers. I'm thinking it is because the pupils are in an eye folder which itself is in a head folder which is bound to the head bone. This is a bit convoluted, so I hope I am explaining it right, but is it possible to bind a layer/object that is in a subfolder to something that is already bound? Or must I remove everything from the folders?

The picture I attached in my initial post will show you how my layers are set up.

Thank you again for your time!
the_gill_boy
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:38 am

Re: Possible Layering issue/new to smart bones

Post by the_gill_boy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:06 am

Okay,
Addendum...I went back into the rig and tore the face apart and put it back together from the ground up and I believe I found my problem, and that I can now implement your solution. Fingers crossed.

Many thanks!
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synthsin75
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Re: Possible Layering issue/new to smart bones

Post by synthsin75 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:21 am

the_gill_boy wrote:
Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:45 am
I'm thinking it is because the pupils are in an eye folder which itself is in a head folder which is bound to the head bone.
Yep, that would do it. Any layer that is controlled by a bone stops nested bone control from propagating any further into the stack. In that case, you would want to unbind the group and bind all the sublayers individually, except for the eyes, which would be bound to an eye bone, like Denis described.
the_gill_boy
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Re: Possible Layering issue/new to smart bones

Post by the_gill_boy » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:32 am

Awesome, I believe I have it now! Thank you!
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