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Diving Back Into Crazy Talk Animator 2 Character Creation

Happy Cat JAC by TET
It's been a while since I last posted to this blog, having been busy with moving house, organizing the new house and generally not doing anything in the way of my own animation projects to report on.

When I left you I had announced that I was going to dive back into character creation for Crazy Talk Animator 2 by resurrecting the Monkey character that I started and abandoned a year earlier due to technical issues.

I've now had time to re-read all the documentation on creating G2 characters for CTA2 and review the monkey character and... I just can't pick up from there again. I know, crazy right? The character is so near and yet so far from being finished.

The problem is I don't like the drawing style of the character. It's too neat and doesn't feel like something I've actually drawn - even though I did, just not in the conventional way. Every time I look at it I want to start again from scratch so I can get the drawing style right.

Since that's the case I decided to just start clean and try creating a new character instead. After the Monkey the only other multipurpose character I've really created is my Happy Cat JAC character, who has appeared in numerous paintings (see image above) I did when I was selling my art on ebay.

Two Template approaches
for a CTA2 quadruped
character by Ibis.

However creating animal characters that walk on all fours is not what CTA2's G2 characters were really designed for. Generally CTA2's designers had bipedal characters in mind.

However, I was browsing through Reallusion's CTA2 Forums, to see if I could learn any new tips for creating characters from other users, and came across a video by Ibis Fernandez (who I would describe as a leading CTA2 user) demonstrating two approaches to creating four legged animal characters for CTA2.

You can watch the full video and Ibis' methodology here. On the right is a still from the video showing his two different template approaches to quadrupeds.

The top version is the logical approach that I would have gone with had I not seen this video. The bottom template approach is to design the animal as a bipedal character and then create custom motions to make the character walk like a quadruped.

Using the 3D motion editor
to animate the character.
I think the second approach has quite a bit of potential so I thought I'd try it with my Happy Cat JAC character. Since I want this character to look more hand drawn my first step has been to draw the basic sketches for all my different character views in Manga Studio. Below is what I have so far.

Bipedal character template views of JAC
created in Manga Studio.
As you can see I still have my top and bottom views to complete. Once finished I then have the tedious task of importing this sketch into DrawPlus and 'inking' in all my lines so that each body part is on the correct template layer with the correct object name.

At this stage I don't plan to draw every single facial expression or every single paw movement. I plan to create just those that I actually need, then I'll see how I go when it comes time to create more.

But let's not get too far ahead of myself. Creating CTA2 G2 characters is a lot of work. As I've already demonstrated things can get over whelming and there's every likely hood I may give up. However I will continue to write updates here as long as I continue to make progress. Wish me luck.

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