After you have created all the deformation chains for your character, you will need to assemble these separate body parts into a puppet. Your pieces should be properly overlapping and not set apart.
To avoid problems such as having the head stretched by the neck deformers or a hand modified by the body deformers, you can use the Kinematic Output node to assemble your pieces without propagating the deformations down the hierarchy chains.
The Kinematic Output node lets you hook a separate element that you want to be linked to the deformation chain but not be part of the deformation, such as a hand to an arm or an arm to the body. These elements will follow the movement of the chain just like a regular cut-out character hierarchy piece without being influenced by the deformation of the arm. If you don't use the Kinematic Output, the piece's pivot will not follow the deformation.
When building a cut-out puppet with deformations, each part controlled by a deformation chain will automatically rotate from the chain root point, which acts like a pivot. Because it is unlikely that every piece of your character will be rigged with a deformation chain, you must set pivot points for the pieces that are not using deformations—see Setting the Pivots.
When assembling a puppet with deformers, there are some guidelines to keep in mind:
- You cannot parent deformers directly because deformers are not designed to be used on other deformers. To assemble deformers, you must insert a Kinematic Output node.
- Your peg must be placed above the deformer.
- Select the element to attach to the Kinematic Output node, such as the hand or head peg.
- From the top menu, select Insert > Kinematic Output.
The node appears in the Timeline view as a parent of your selection.
- In the Timeline view, drag and drop the Kinematic Output layer ONTO the deformation layer you want your limb or piece to follow. For example, onto the neck deformer if you want your head to follow it without being deformed or onto the arm deformer if you want your hand to follow.
- If your pieces are no longer ordered properly, use the Z-nudging feature to reorder them—see Nudging Parts Backwards and Forwards.
- It's good practice to rename the Kinematic Output layer to reflect which deformer it is assigned to as the Timeline view can become very large and layers can be positioned far apart. Select the Kinematic Output node and in the Layer Properties window, rename the node. You can also double-click on the layer's name.