Harmony Essentials 14: Is it possible to create deformation chain with custom constraints/hierarchy?

I’m having trouble deforming some text. I’m pretty new to Toon Boom so I’m probably just unaware how to do it correctly, so any help/advice would be much appreciated.

I want to be able to deform this text in such a way that the top and bottom are constrained/parented to the center.

If you refer to the included images, I want to be able to “curl” that closing bracket highlighted in pink by moving the upper and lower deformer pegs. So far, I’m only able to set it up as shown in the first picture. A parent deformer peg on the bottom, with a child joint in the middle and a child peg at the top. I can use the upper most child peg to curl the upper part of the bracket, however the parent node on the bottom moves the whole deformer chain (as opposed to moving just the bottom portion). I’ve tried creating the parent deformer peg in the middle and making separate child pegs on the top and bottom, but I can’t seem to get it to work correctly. I don’t really care much about parenting/the hierarchy in this context and realize I could probably create two separate deformer chains (one for the top and one for the bottom) but I’m really hoping that’s not necessary and that there’s a more intuitive way of doing this.

The second picture I’m hoping shows or kinda gives an idea of what I’m trying to do (within the context of how I think Toon Boom works). Essentially, I want to be able to bend/deform the upper and lower portions of the bracket around the center or better yet, simply be able to freely deform this object (like the puppet pin tool from After Effects) and the third picture shows the problem with trying to do it that way.

The fourth picture shows the problem with trying to make the base parent peg in the center and then trying to parent the upper and lower pegs to it separately.

If any more clarification or details are needed, I’m more than willing to provide them, thanks!

Current Set Up w: Markup.jpg

Attempt 2.png

Problem with Attempt 2.png

Attempt 1.png

Mmmmhh, the setup you’re trying is tricky because it involves two chains on the same object with the same father, I would recommend checking the areas of deformation of everybone and try them not to overlap.

However, I think that bones might not be the best deformer for that situation, I think that either a Curve or an Envelope could get you better results.

Thank you so much! It looks like a Curve deformer would be the perfect solution except for one thing…

I don’t have a curve deformer as an option! :cry: Same with envelope deformers

It’s probably because I’m using Essentials or because it’s version 14. So under Tool Properties for the Rigging tool I only have the options Bones and Game Bones sigh

Awh… those are available only in premium,

Have you tried morphing?

https://docs.toonboom.com/help/harmony-14/premium/getting-started-guide/morphing.html

I think that, in your case, the best is either morphing or go frame by frame, I could be wrong though, I’m not really sure if there’s a practical way to manage multiple chains into one drawing with Essentials, in Premium you have the node view and that gives you a lot more flexibility.

I recommend you to try to fiddle the area options in the bones Layer Properties, and then try morphing or frame by frame if you’re not able to get a good result.

I just checked, morphing isn’t an option either unfortunately. Looks like Essentials is pretty watered down :\ (still helpful and fun to mess with nonetheless however)

It looks like frame by frame may be the only option which is just not the workflow I’m looking for at all. I’m not that the best at drawing and I’m lazy, so I’m all about letting the computer and software do as much of the work as possible and tween. Not to mention since this is more for motion graphics as opposed to a traditional animation, I don’t really want a hand drawn look. I like being able to manually reset the values/coordinates of keyframed elements which wouldn’t be an option doing it manually frame by frame

I might just bite the bullet and upgrade to Harmony Advanced when I can afford it. I want to get some experience with a node based system and be able to access Harmony’s additional features. One of the reasons I initially got Essentials was to get in on Toon Boom’s upgrade path. Now that After Effects stopped working on my machine I’m planning on replacing it, hopefully with Harmony, but so far it hasn’t been going that well. However, I do have their most basic version of Harmony and of course I’m still in the very early stages of learning it so I’m still hopeful

Damn, sorry, Essentials sure is limited, not made for professional work.

You should check the features you’d receive in Advanced, since there are some important tools exclusive to Premium, like the node system you mentioned. I’m not sure if morphing is available in Advanced. Maybe the best thing you can do is to check the Advanced trial before so you know what you’re getting.

As far as I know, the main differences between Advanced and premium are the node system, the two additional deformers (curve and envelope) and a better 3D functionality. Maybe the best strategy for you is upgrade to Advanced and learn a little more.