for cutout animators

Hi there… I need to ask you a question regarding the method of patching the joints in cutout style… I use the technique that was suggested in the video tutorials, but in some cases it is a very painful and time-consuming process… I know that animation itself is time-consuming, but um just wondering if there might be an easier and faster method?? It should also be applicable to any kind of drawings, bcz I found it difficult to apply the method in the tutorials to some of drawings and it was very difficult and the results were not that good

I tried other methods such as using the glue module, and stretching and skewing the arms or legs, but all of them did not give me the desired results

Rather than wading through the video tutorials to see the method they used can you just describe what method are you using?

I create an articulation using a circular shape whether hand-drawn or using the ellipse tool… then I set the pivot to the center of this circle… this patches the joint gap but it creates problems with certain puppets… here is an image of a warrior puppet um experimenting with it… in this one I used the circular shape
p.s. I didnt draw this puppet… I just downloaded it from the internet to experiment with it :D… this is the original image:

this is my version:

notice how the circle joint is causing an unnatural bulge

Then I edited the circle joint to a half-circular one… the result is better but still not the desired

here it is:

thanks in advance

Well, it’s pretty tricky doing the joints for such a realistic character with all that detail–muscles, clothing, armbands, etc. For one thing, the character has a vest that the upper arm can attach to and be placed behind in z depth. The forearm has all that wrapping and leather pieces. I’d make them so that they start right below the elbow joint so that you’re able to rotate it.

The bottom line with the upper arm is that you’re probably going to have to make different drawings for both the arm and the vest/chest/armpit areas that can be swapped to accommodate whatever position the arm needs to be. I work mainly with cartoon cutout characters so the limbs are simple shapes. But with a character that is more realistic you’re going to have to do a bit more drawing. You could even consider making the entire arm–upper arm and forearm–as one drawing, in various positions–straight, 45º, 90º, etc.

Another workaround solution would be to add a short sleeve to the characters costume thus hiding the joint altogether and making it easier to rotate the arm without so much work. Those are just some ideas. Hope they are a help!

thanks Zebtoonz… it was really helpful… I would like to ask you another question regarding the details of that drawing and the likes
would you recommend drawing it simply, animating it, and then adding most of the details traditionally after finishing the animation?? or would it be easier to draw it as it is going to be and making substitutions for the limbs??
thanks in again… I really appreciate your help

Well, if it were me, I’d try to figure out a way to do it cutout style. I just don’t have the patience nor skill to do frame by frame and I think you can get what you want just by adding drawings to your parts that can be swapped.

Take a look at this clip for Guild Wars. Some of it is 3D starting around the middle of the clip but the first half is 2D cutout.

I have the patience to do it frame by frame but I don’t have the skill :smiley:
Maybe the drawing substitutions are better than the frame by frame :slight_smile:
I really appreciate your help

how marvelous… this trailer is a piece of art :slight_smile:

I think, and correct me if um wrong :D, that u tried Harmony… If yes, I wanna ask you, as a cutout animator, would you prefer using the ordinary cutout method or the deformation tools available in the harmony???

Yes, I use Harmony. As for which method I prefer to use for rigging and animating is hard to say. I use deformers, simple joints with no patch, swapping drawings, etc. It kind of depends on the character rig and how I want to do it.

In my recent animation The Good Neighbor, the rigging is like this:

Main character: Each arm and hand is one piece, the legs are simple two pieces with the feet separate. I learned from a tutorial that one method of doing a walk cycle was to have the feet separate and you get their position right first and then connect the legs afterwards. It works well.

Beggar: Each arm and hand is one piece, each leg including the foot is one piece with swappable poses for the various positions of a walk cycle.

Businessman: The arms and legs are rigged with deformers. The hands and feet are separate and parented to the limb.

Lady with dog: The arms are rigged with deformers with hands separate. Each leg and foot is one piece with swappable poses for the walk cycle.

So it depends on the character and how it will move and my personal preference. Having said that, I very much enjoy having the deformers and all the other features that Harmony has which enable me the latitude I need for my work. I may not use every thing but it’s all there if ever I do.

thank you Zebtoonz… you were very helpful… the thing is I didn’t try Harmony, but from the tutorials I liked what I saw… so I was considering buying a copy and I wanted to know if it worth the money or should I stick with the Animate Pro :smiley:
by the way I liked The Good Neighbor :slight_smile:

Personally, I’d get Harmony! I may not use all the features–need to learn how–LOL!–but I like having all options available to me. Plus I am using software that is compatible with any studio that uses it should I ever freelance for one of them. There’s just nothing like having the best!

Glad you liked Good Neighbor! I had fun working on it.

this is what I was thinking… I’d get Harmony to have all its features even if I didn’t use them now… one day I’ll do for sure :slight_smile:

I think I fixed it… I made a patch on a separate drawing layer, animated the arm, and I morphed the drawing on the patch layer
maybe I will do a short tutorial on how I did it :smiley:

I’d like to see what you came up with. I can’t quite understand what you are saying so a video would help. Glad you got it sorted out!

This is a simple photo tutorial on how I fixed this problem… of course, I will make a video tutorial on this, but I thought of doing this quick one until I finish the video one.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Pic 3

Pic 4

Pic 5

What is not mentioned here is that I do a morph from the patch drawing (shown in Pic 1) to the other one which is shown in Pic 4. I then fix my hint points to refine the morph. Finally, I would convert the morph into drawings and fix the small problems that might appear on some layers.

This may seem more difficult than the circular joint for me; however, this is not the case for me. When I was using the circular joint method, I used to suffer and spend a lot of times moving contour points to fix my drawings for me to be able to rotate them around that circular joint. In addition, after this suffer-time, the drawing would look unrealistic and require a lot of frame-by-frame editing.

For me, this method is very much better cause the frame-by-frame editing is limited, and it is also an easily applicable method to almost any character.

Hope you find this useful until I upload the video tutorial.

This looks more complicated than it should be, especially for the front view pose. The body of the guy, the suit, can be done with a black outline all the way around including where the arm attaches. And the arm–at least the upper arm–can have a black outline all the way around it too. Then, just put a small color patch on it’s own layer the same color as the suit and parented to the suit. Nudge it forward so that the patch sits on top, the arm below, and the suit at the bottom. As the arm is rotated the patch covers the upper end of the arm.

Better yet, you could do it without the patch just using the Cutter and Color Override modules like Lilly has done for the head rig in her latest Toon Boom Tips.

Yea, this might be a little bit complicated, especially for a simple drawing like this. Your method would be more suitable and faster with such simple drawings. But the method I am suggesting here works well with complicated drawings such as the one I showed you before. I tried this method with that drawing and it worked very fine. Unfortunately, I forgot to save this one :D. But maybe I’ll do the video tutorial with that drawing or at least a similar one.

Thanks Lilly for sharing your thoughts. Could you please explain more the technique you mentioned in the last paragraph??? :slight_smile:

I think I got it… thanks again Lilly

A tutorial on this issue would be very helpful and really appreciated, Lilly.

Thanks in advance