Well more time spent looking at after effects and a few tutorials- and beginning to remember my way around it(sigh of relief- was worried it was so long but seem to be picking stuff up quick).
Its a rabbit hole alright
and I can see how people get sucked into the motion graphics side-
a lot of the motion animation is so easy and when you see all you can do -the possibilities are exciting-
add to that the gazillion motion animation plugins there seem to be.......
that plus illustrator and its kinda sexy.
Looked at a couple of peoples lip synch how tos- looks like time remapping a comp of all the mouth shapes is the consensus.
Thoughts- need to find a more complex version/solution as the examples I saw had 1 emotional state for the mouth- is it more like an array of shapes you need or some kind of warping on top?.
Again I can see there's a bunch of plugins made but I believe you need to know the (or a) hard way/brute force solution (and the problems) etc in the base software before running to a pre made solution.
Also looked at a couple of the null linked to pin puppet tool ones- and
they appeared to use the same bit of expression to link the motion.
Initial thoughts of puppet tool before trying- probably short thick shapes (legs) it wouldn't cope very well- possibly why people tend to long thin or wibbly wobbly pipe arms and legs.
So thought I'd try it minus the linkage to hierarchy of nulls just to feel how it is managing the unlinked pins.
Answer- on the one hand its 'easy' because you can cut and paste the anim for whole blocks of all the pins, also because pins have basically motion paths and paths are what AE does well its sort of good.
But you need ways to manage groups of them at a time, (ie combined motion of 2 or more for a rotation)
they don't scale (just a position- you'd need the combined movement of 3 or more in a given spot to fake scaling)
and they don't move out of their plane into the z axis (it seems).
Tried a test guy with the puppet tool -long legged - thinking it would be a better case.
Thoughts- I wonder if the range of motion people animate to in it is limited to the subset that the puppet arm or leg behaves/keeps a nice shape. ie In some shapes/pin position it looks ugly/misbehaves- and so people avoid those and so it affects the range of motion and so the animation- the character is affected.
Downloaded trial of Toon Boom, 21 days to go.
Watched the Foundry's Flix software video- man they make good software.