Related to this thread, I also had similar difficulties.
First, these are my knowledge, let me know if there’s something wrong.
So I have 2 questions. 1st is a problem I have. I have a project, I made a character template, consist of body and head. The drawing is not complete yet, but I want to animate it first. After the animation finished, then came the rest of the drawing (eyes and mouth). This before I know the object is an instance not direct link of template. So after I edit the template I need to create another object, copy the animation (luckily it’s quite simple animation).
The problem is, I can’t change the “new” eyes and mouth. In the Drawing Substitution window, when I slide, the preview changes, but the drawing in scene does not. Any idea what’s wrong with this, and how to fix it?
2nd question, if I want to make some animation series (more than 1 project), what’s the best use for above situation, in which I need to animate first but the drawing is yet finished. Templates or Symbols, or combination of both? If both, how? Because I wanted the drawing to be available too in other projects.
Well first off, I just want to caution you about doing animation before your artwork is finished. The thing is, if you’re working with a relatively simple rig, then this works out okay. But if, as you’re creating your artwork, you are changing the structure of the rig (the hierarchy), then you will have difficulty transferring animation over.
If the structure of the rig is exactly the same, and it’s only the drawings that change, you can update the drawings by dragging the new template on top of the existing one in the scene. By default, when you do this, it only copies drawings that don’t exist.
For example, let’s say I’m animating in an unfinished rig. I have hands 1, 2, and 3 that I was provided with. I make a new hand, 4. Then my rigger gives me a new rig, and that rig has hands 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. When I drag the new template on, it looks in the scene, sees that drawing 4 already exists, so it only copies over drawing 5. Even though the 4 in the template is a different hand, it doesn’t know this.
So you can hold down Ctrl as you drag your template in, which brings up the Drag Special options, and you can choose Always Create Drawings. But if you do this, it will make all the drawings that are imported into new drawings on those drawing layers. If this is what you want, then you can go ahead and do this. You could always go back and delete drawings that you don’t want, to remove them from the library.
Okay, so all that being said, when a lot of studios work, they work with a progressive rig. What I mean by that is, when they start on Episode 1 of a show, they’ll have their first character rig done. But as the animators are working, they might be adding hands, or mouths, or eyes. So when Episode 1 is over, the rigger will add those extra hands, mouths, and eyes back into the master rig, so they’ll use a new rig for Episode 2, and so on.
The reason we don’t have a direct link between the template in the scene, and the one in the library, is that then if a character rigger goes in and makes changes to the structure, it would break the animation in the scene and it would need to be redone.
Hope this helps!