Rigging, pegs, drawing layer pegs, etc.

I just got done watching the Breakdown and Rigging video tutorials for Animate Pro. Then I went to check the manual, actually the Harmony manual as it is pretty much the same, and found some differences in how it is recommended to rig a character.

For one, from the manual, it seems that a lot of the rigging is done directly on the drawing layers with some suggestions of using pegs here and there. On the videos it suggests almost every drawing to have it’s own peg. I know there is a lot of latitude and personal preference involved in how you rig your character, sort of six-of-one, half-a-dozen-of-another.

But the thing I thought was interesting was the use of drawing layers as pegs. One of the main reasons being that you cannot have more than one position for the pivot point on a peg. And if you make one puppet that contains several poses for your character–side, front, three-quarter, etc.–you have to use a drawing layer as a peg so you can move the pivot around for each pose. Is that right?

Believe it or not, I have yet to create my first multi-pose puppet so I wanted to make sure I understood the technique and got it right before diving in. Once I get the hang of that I may even venture out and make one using deformers in Harmony. That should be fun!

Hi Zeb

In the absence of anyone knowledgeable commenting on this…

I think it’'s pretty much as you say. For example, all the leg drawings for “pose one” will have the same drawing pivot point and all the leg drawings for “pose two” will have the same pivot point but it will likely differ from the pivot point for the “pose one” drawings. Plus the drawings could also belong to a parent with one or more pivot points (depending on whether the parent is a peg or a drawing layer).

I gave up on this area last summer after getting seriously confused. However, last week I started again with profile-only silouette characters. Doesn’t seem any easier.


Thanks for the input, Bob! It seems like TB needs to invent a Peg that has moveable pivots. That would be cool! I just want to get this down as I feel somewhat limited with my characters being generally all three-quarters. Many times I want to turn them but I just don’t because it would mean too much work–ha!

Right now I am working on rigging 6 characters that I did previously for a project but it was all rigged in TB Studio. I have all the original art so I just need to adjust it and once in Harmony my plan is to rig one character and then use it as a template to do all the other characters, replacing various body parts–they are all similarly designed kids. This should be fun!

Hey Zeb

I’ve built my first silouette character, three part arms and three part legs in hierarchy form, each top level parent linked to the body. I’ve only used one “real” peg which includes everything. I haven’t added any specific drawings as “pegs”, for example, the foot links to the lower leg layer and the lower leg layer links to the upper leg layer.

The advantage of the rig is that it’s relatively easy to de-bug and doesn’t look the wiring diagram for the space shuttle.

I’ve been playing about with manpulation and it’s been a pretty steep learning curve. It’s taken me a couple of hours to create a single-cycle, walk on 12s.

I’d be very interested in hearing how you get on with your own trials, since it looks like you could well be leadin the way in this community.


I doubt that I’m leading anything, Bob ::slight_smile: I’m still trying to figure it out for myself. My character has the same body for all poses and the arms and legs are all the same as well they just shift or flip depending on the view. The main thing that changes is the head, eyes, and eyebrows. So all I need is the extra drawings for each of those.

As for rigging the arms, I tried the bit about making a clone for the forearm and hand and sandwiching the the color layer above the drawing layer with the parent layer inbetween. It worked but I had to disable the transform tool on the two clones and add a peg to animate.

On the hands, I did the same thing although I found that if I went from one exposure to the next–different hand positions–I had to do it for each layer separately–I didn’t like that.

So I tried rigging the arms with deformers which were divided into two parts–sleeve and arm, the arm being the layer that had the deformer. Worked okay but when I bend the forearm up and over the sleeve it cut into the it. So forget that. So I am now working on a simple classical join between the upper arm and forearm and that’s working okay–it’s a lot simpler. I still want to try having the upper arm and forearm a single layer like my friend did in this post:


That also seems to be the way Mukpuddy does arms and legs on their Sparkle Friends series and, I believe Kick Buttowski is done this way as well. So I will keep experimenting till I get the look that I want and it is easy to manipulate.

You know, it’s just one of these things that I think gets more complicated the more functionality that we add. :-X

To me, the easiest way of rigging multiple views of a character is to have them all separated. Then you can use pegs for all the drawing layers, and you can use the Rotate Tool to set the pivot point as one stationary pivot point for the whole peg layer. When you then have to swap a view, you can simply cut and paste the new rig into your timeline, and delete the exposure off the first rig.

I didn’t used to be a fan of that way, but now I kind of prefer it to the other way because it really simplifies the whole pivot equation, and also the library, in terms of the number of drawings on a drawing layer. When you have all the hands for all the views on one layer, that library can get big.

But I totally see why many people are fans of having everything on one timeline, becasue that way you can inbetween easily. If you’re working on separated views, then you have to do a bit more manual keyframing whenever you switch a view to make it seamless.

Sorry it’s not really a definitive “Do This!” but more of a discussion opener…