Body Parts Shifting with Camera Movement


On a project I am working on, I noticed the arm of one of my characters seemed to be moving out of alignment with his body. Through close inspection, I discovered it was related to the camera movement. Whenever I move the camera, his arm becomes more and more disjointed.

No other body parts on this character or any other seem to be affected. The character is not linked to the camera in any way (camera on its own separate peg), so I don’t understand why this is happening. I tried removing all the key frames on the camera, making sure all other elements, characters were locked, and then resetting the camera key frames again. But the problem is still there. The character’s arm moves out of alignment. The camera is only panning left to right and right to left, it is not moving forwards or backwards in z space, nor top to bottom.

I tried deleting the whole character and bringing in his template again, but the problem is still there. I also noticed that sometimes when I bring in the template, his arm is out of joint as soon as I bring him in. But other times it is not. This inconsistent behaviour does not make sense. The character is rigged up fine as a template.

Can anyone explain this?

Thanks very much.


I can’t really give you an answer specifically. But I can make a few suggestions for steps to try to identify what might be causing your issue.

I suggest that you do some investigating of your initial character rig.

The first place to start is in the basic character set up in drawing view. If you switch to drawing view and turn on the light table (shortcut L) can you see your entire character?

Are all of the character’s body parts laid out and oriented so that the character looks complete? or are they scattered about and not related in drawing view? A cut out character should look pretty much the same in drawing view as in camera view even before any rigging.

Also are all the body parts scaled the same in drawing view? If not this can create issues after rigging. Many people try to scale and match body parts in camera view without regard to how the are drawn in drawing view, this can make a character seem to be rigged OK but in fact can be a source of significant problems later in animating.

If your character passes the above mentioned inspections in drawing view, then you next inspections need to be the rotational and scale pivot points in camera view. One body part at a time you need to use first the rotation tool and then the scale tool to check the location of these important pivot points. The default position of each body part’s rotation pivot and scale pivot is the center of the cell on which that part is drawn. During rigging you repositioned these defaults according to your character’s movement requirements. If for example, you set a pivot point and then made a change to the body part’s cell you may have created a problem that the pivot is no longer where you thought you set it.

A basic rule of cutouts is that you never modify the cell of any body part after rigging without re-checking your rig completely to deal with unintended changes in pivots. Another rule of key frame animation is that you never change any static parameters of any elements of the cut out after you start setting any keyframes. Another rule of cut outs is that you never scale individual body parts separately, you only scale the character at the master peg level when using it at the beginning of a scene. All body parts must be scaled in drawing view so that they are all the same scale prior to any rigging of the character. You can scale a body part during animation but only using the transform tool and never either of the select tools.

If you don’t find anything in your drawing view inspections, or in your pivot point inspections. (remember that rotational pivots are separate from scale pivots so each type must be examined for every body part.) then the next step should be to look for other settings that can effect a character. For example a keyframe set on a parent level of a rig can effect a child element unless the child is keyframed to counter that effect. So check to see if you have keyframes of a specific type on parents where that type of keyframe isn’t also set at the child level. Also be sure you didn’t accidentally move a body part element using the Scene Select tool when you meant to use the transform tool.

Lastly, if you removed keyframes individually from elements in your initial rig but you didn’t use the remove all keyframes command then there can be residual static perimeters that remain in place that will effect the rig. You may not realize that they still exist because you thought you removed all the keyframes but static parameters aren’t technically keyframes so they are hidden unless you know that they are there.

And one last tip never animate with any tool other than the transform tool don’t try to animate using the scale tool or the rotation tool. Those are only used to set pivot points for the rig, or to allow you to delete a rotation or scale keyframe on a specific frame without deleting other types of keyframes set for that same frame for that element. By the way if you’re deleting keyframes looking for a problem you must be careful to only delete those keys while using the transform tool, otherwise you won’t get all types of keys deleted. Also you may have accidentally set a motion keyframe when doing your rig by using the motion tool when you thought you were using the transform tool so look for that as well. If you suspect that is the case then select the motion tool and delete keyframes at the suspect frame and that will only remove any motion keyframes for that frame. Deleting with the transform tool won’t get those.

These suggestions should help you locate the problem. I can only go by what you wrote in your description but it sounds like a character rigging problem that is in your template. Which is why it won’t go away even when you try to start over. Hope this gives you some clues. -JK