How to Animate 2D Beards/Stubble.

So you’ve completely animated your character in toonboom, lipsync and all. Now draw stubble or a beard on your character but make sure it’s on a seperate layer. Make sure you pick the most neutral facial expression! Now you’ve drawn your beard/stubble isolate the layer, turn off all the layers other than the beard/stubble, and place a white background behind it. Make sure you make a note of the frame the stubble is on. Now go: file, export, images, select the frames you want, then where you would like to save the image and make sure you select a .tiff file type before you export. Now you’ve exported the beard, turn all the other layers back on and turn off the stubble layer. Export the whole sequence as a .tiff sequence exactly the same as you did with the beard: file, export, images, then choose where you want to save them, the only difference is this time make sure all layers are selected. Now go make a cup of tea while it renders.

Animating beards in Photoshop
Now open the stubble up in Photoshop. and make sure the animation wondow is open. Now try file: import, video to frames, and see if you can import the .tiff sequence to layers. The reason I sound so unsure about this is because my version of photoshop won’t let me. If your version won’t let you do the same, there’s another way. A box like the one below should open. Now browse and find the .tiff sequence, open them, and click ‘OK’.

If opening a video to frames dosen’t work then go: file, scripts, load files into stack.

So all your frames are in a stack on each layer. Now make the same number of frames as you have layers. Then click a frame and click what layers you want to be visable on the frame. Boring I know, but I couldnt find a faster way to do it with being able to import video.

Now you have all your .tiff sequence on the right frames let’s start working on the beard. Now make the beard levels opacity down to say 50% so that you can see the layer below (make sure it’s the neutural expression). Then cut out the beard. You want to make sure you cut out the beard preferably using the pen tool. I stupidly just used a rubber. You shall see the problems it cuased later. You also don’t want to completely get rid of the white this is why. When you try and warp the beard, rather than selecting the whole thing, it selects all the individual hairs to warp...

This is what it needs to look like.

Now it’s time to warp the beard. First, duplicate the beard layer so that you still have the orginal beard. Make sure you always have a layer with the original beard on, and always make sure you start with the original beard when doing a new lipsync or face angle. Go to: edit, puppet warp. Now your beard should look a bit like the first image below. Your aim is to try and reshape the beard in as few moves as possible to help limit the distortion. You can do this by pulling and manipulating those little yellow dots. If you want to get rid of one simply select it and press delete. If you want to select multiple points just select points while holding down shift, and if you want to twist points hold down alt, this is worth exprimenting with.

I’ve done the other frame to make up the head lift. Now I can see them play in concession if I click ‘Play’ in the animation window. But he still has a silly Santa beard. To get rid of the Santa beard change the blending options on all the beard layers to ‘Multiply’ (see image to the left). When animating the beard around the mouth with the warp tool make a point at each corner of the mouth, then try just using two points in the middle of the mouth. Try changing the tool settings at the top of the screen. Changing the density to fewer points can often help to keep the animation smooth.

Make and edit these points first.

Then you will need to add these points to neaten up the beard.

Below are the animated beards for the lipsync of the word, “nothing”.

And here they are with the beard layers multiplied.

How to Export the Beards
Straight out of Photoshop to be put into the finale edit.
Make sure all the layers you want visible are visible on the correct frames. Then you can simply export another .tiff sequence.

Make sure your settings are right for your film if doing it this way.

Now just have the beard layers turned on. If needed you can flatten all the frames in your animation window into layers. (This won’t get rid of the rest of your layers.)

Exporting the beard from Photoshop to Toon boom Animate.

Now one-by-one do colour range select on the beard layers to get rid of the white surrounding the stubble. (or if your smart

Make sure you have the .tiff settings as you need them. Now that you can just see all the isolated beards in the animation window, crop around them so that in Toon Boom the beards are easy to transform and arrange. OK, its time to export them so that they may be used in Toon Boom animate. Go file: export, render video.

To get the beard .tiff’s into Toon Boom Animate go: file, import, images. Then the image select window will open. Select the files you want and make sure you create a new layer - title it ‘Beard’ or anything you want to. Make sure, under alignment rules, you have ‘Pan’ selected; under ‘Transparancy’ select ‘Straight’. Then click ‘OK’.

Now drag the beard’s layer on to the your head layer, so that the beard follows the head. Now align the beard frames with the lip syncs. Once you have done this and checked. Whilst you have the beard selected, add an effect layer on to the beard, and select the effect of “blending”. Change the blending option to ‘Multiply’, to get rid of those rough little white edges. It should look like the image on the right. Play it and be proud of your work. To see mine watch the videoat this link http://www. v i m e o . c o m / 2 4 515 9 2 2

Lesson Adjourned.

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