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Tutorial: RubberHose 2 Review

Jake Bartlett

Welcome to the our first ever Workflow Show!

We'll be taking an in-depth look at different tools, scripts, and software that can save you time and maybe even some headaches.Let's get to it! Today we're checking out RubberHose 2, which is the new and improved version of the original. RubberHose was a rigging game changer when it first came out, making it easy for people rig stylized characters.

Now the mad geniuses at BattleAxe are back with Version 2.0 and they've added A TON of new improvements to the Rubber Hose you know and love making it even better than before.

Jake is going to take you through those changes and talk about how they can improve your rigging workflow in After Effects.



Tutorial Full Transcript Below 👇:

Jake Bartlett (00:08):

Hey, this is Jake Bartlett for school of motion. And I am very excited today to be talking to you about rubber hose, a version two. Now, if you're not familiar with rubber hose, it's a rigging script for after effects that allows you to generate very easy to use limbs using shape layers inside of after effects Adam, over at battleax, who came up with this script is a mad genius and I'm blown away by all the things that he's been able to pack into rubber hose and version two is even more amazing. So today I'm kind of going to just walk you through some of the new features of version two. So you can get an idea of what they'll allow you to be able to do and how they'll speed up your workflow when doing character animation. So right down here, I have my rubber hose to script panel.

Jake Bartlett (00:50):

And as you can tell, it's very compact, which is great because you probably have lots of little script panels floating around your after effects, workspace, and version two is broken down into three different sections, build style, and manage. It's very nice and organized color-coded so it's easy to keep track of. So let's just start with build just like the name sounds. This is where you're going to actually generate your limbs. So you have this nice compact little panel to be able to name your limb. So I could type in the left arm here. You can choose your start and end point labels just like in version one. So shoulder wrist would be what I want. And then right here, we have the new rubber hose button. So if I click that the script runs its magic and just like version one, it generates a limb with two controllers that very easily allow me to pose my arm.

Jake Bartlett (01:40):

And in the effects controls panel, we have all the same controls that we're used to like hose length, the bend radius. So this is the same rubber hose that, you know, in love with some nicer looking controls that allow you to manage things a little bit easier. And I can even add my own controller pair labels here and add them into the list, take them out, rearrange them. It's a completely customizable little menu and that's super handy for customizing your own character rigging. We have two more options under build, but we'll come back to that in a little bit. Next, I want to go down to style. Now this style panel is brand new and it allows you to do some pretty incredible things right here. We have a list and each one of these is a preset that comes with rubber hose too. And the one that you're probably most interested in is this one right up at the top called tapered hose.

Jake Bartlett (02:24):

So if I click on that with my host selected, I will then click the apply style button. And just like that, my rubber hose is no longer single width it's tapered. And if I click on the actual hose, I can adjust the width and the taper amount. So this incredibly clever pre-set should really help cut down on the number of noodley looking arms on the internet. And it behaves just like any other rubber hose layer with the same amount of controls. I can change the bend radius to be completely curvy. It all functions exactly the same way, but it gives you the added controls of the taper amount and the stroke width. So that is an incredibly powerful addition to version two. And that is just the first dial in the list. There are so many clever presets in this list and you should definitely play around with all of them. This one kind of tapers out from the middle. And again, you have controls for the thickness. One of my favorite presets is called tight pants, and it's this very detailed limb that gives you a whole bunch of controls. Let me hide my overlays, but you see all of these sliders allow you to do things like control the width of the leg, the taper amount

Jake Bartlett (03:44):

You could control the length of the pants, so that they're actually shorts. The leg width is separate from everything else, cuff height, cuff width. It's pretty amazing. All of the controls that Adam has built into this single preset, again, all operating on a single rubber hose layer. And there are a whole bunch of different presets to play around with. So definitely check all of that out. Another great feature of this style panel is that if you create your own styled limb, you can save that as a preset. So let me go ahead and grab this leg, which I've kind of given a tube sock. And I modified the knob knee, which is one of the style presets that comes with rubber hose. And with any of those layers selected, I'm going to hold option and click on the copy style button, which when I hold option, we'll save a style file.

Jake Bartlett (04:33):

Then I can name this tube. Sock press save after effects will take a second to refresh my preset list. And then if I scroll down right there, tube socks. So if I click on this new limb, click on tube sock and apply the style. Now I have that style saved as a preset in my list. And what's great about this is that they're actually after effects presets. So if I open up my preset folder, I could then share this effects preset with anyone, and they could generate this style just as easily. So the style panel is an incredibly powerful new feature of rubber hose version to the next section is the manage panel. And this panel allows you to do some really nice management once you've styled your limb. So instead of every hose, having auto flop automatically built into it. Now you just click on this button right here to add in auto flop control.

Jake Bartlett (05:23):

You see that shows up a, creates a new layer, and you can rotate it to adjust where the auto flop is. You've got the fall off control just like before. And once it's set up, you can turn it off, grab your hose controller and see that the auto flop is working. This is also where you could duplicate any hose. So if I click on the duplicate button that duplicates all of the layers necessary, and then I could rename it by saying our arm instead rename. And now I have two hoses. I'll get rid of those. There's this new feature called the center point layer, which again, if I select any part of that hose and click that button, it gives me a new controller right here in the center of that limb, which allows me to parent objects to the center of that limb. So instead of just being able to attach a foot or a hand to the end of the limb, I can now stick something on the elbow or the knee.

Jake Bartlett (06:17):

This can be extremely useful for attaching things to limbs or even applying textures. On top of them. There are a few other buttons in this panel that are very similar to version one, like showing or hiding controllers, selecting layers in a group, as well as these two new buttons right here that allow you to bake the animation into key frames so that all of the crazy math that's generating all of the limbs movement and allowing rubber hose to behave properly can be calculated all at once and converted into key frames so that after effects doesn't have to process that math all the time. You won't be able to adjust the animation once you bake those key frames, but you can adjust the styling of the hose. And if you ever need to get back to being able to adjust your animation, you just convert your key frames back to math. So it's totally non-destructive. So let me get rid of this limb real quick. And I'll just quickly show you this character that I rigged completely with rubber hose version to everything, but the hands and feet were generated using rubber hose version two, even the torso is a hose and that button on the hot dog is part of that same hose. So I've got two arms, the head and then two feet.

Jake Bartlett (07:26):

And I've also added this master Nall that controls the entire body so that I can pose that easily, but rubber hose very quickly and easily allow me to create this very flexible character completely in after effects. For the next example, I'm going to jump over to my next character rig. This is my hipster man designed by the amazingly talented Alex Pope. And this is a character design that you get to work with in rigging academy, which is pretty much the holy grail of 2d rigging in after effects. You should definitely go check that out. If I come back to my build panel, the second button here is called a rubber rig, and this is a brand new rigging system for version two that allows you to rig any type of layer. It doesn't have to be a shape layer. So if I grabbed my characters controllers, I can move this around and you see that his arms and his legs behave pretty much the way that you would expect.

Jake Bartlett (08:20):

And these were rigged that using the new rubber rig system. Now you'll notice that his arms are rigid. They're not curved at all. And that is one limitation of this rigging system. You can't adjust the bend radius because the way that the limb is being generated is purely based on the scale property. So I can bring this out and stretch it and bring it back in. And it kind of collapses. And I even have the realism controls that allow me to adjust that shrink and stretch just like a regular rubber hose, but I can't get this to bend. So while it is a great rigging system, it isn't perfect for every situation for this character. It works great because I think having rigid arms and legs fits the character design. What's great about having this type of rating system within rubber hose. Is that again, the controls behave very similar to the regular rubber hose. So if you're used to using rubber hose, it will feel very natural to you. And many of the same features still apply like auto flop. So I could create an auto flop layer, adjust it,

Jake Bartlett (09:22):

And just like that. My character's arm flops once it hits that threshold. So very familiar controls, but completely new rigging system. Then I'll jump to my last rig here. Again, another character that you can work with in rigging academy. And I rigged this character using the third option, which is called rubber pin. Now this is the most complex of the three rigging systems and it uses the puppet tool. So if I grabbed this character's arm and bring it up, you see that it bends just like a rubber hose. So instead of having rigid arms, they're much more noodley and bendable and I've already set up auto flop. So if I bring this arm up, you see that right there, the bend direction changes as I passed the auto flop point. And it's super simple to set up, you just set three puppet pins on your artwork layer, select them, and then click the rubber rig button.

Jake Bartlett (10:12):

You're again, giving controls that you're already familiar with. If you've used rubber hose in the past and just like rubber rig, it allows you to rig your characters using any type of artwork. Now, there are some limitations to this process as well in the same way that rubber reg doesn't allow you to do curved arms, rubber pin, doesn't allow you to do straight arms. The nice thing is you have both options, so you can use different rigging systems depending on what your character requires. And what's so great about having all these rigging options in one plugin is that all the controls are very similar, very familiar. If you've already used rubber hose, and that allows you to work more quickly, which is a great thing. Now, rubber hose, isn't always going to be able to cover all of your rigging needs for every character. Even though my hot dog character was 90% created using the script, I still wanted to add a few more controls like this master position control. And I did the same thing on this orange character. I've got the master position Nall as well as a belly rotation control for his torso.

Jake Bartlett (11:14):

Another thing I did for all of my rigs is zeroed out the position of all my controllers using [inaudible], but as you can see, that lives very comfortably next to rubber hose, and I can use them side-by-side super efficiently. So it's okay if you don't use one tool for your entire process, but rubber hose too, can do a lot of the lake work for you. So that's my quick review of rubber hose. Version two. You should definitely check it out and can find the link to the script on this page and be sure to share any work that you've created using rubber hose version two. Okay. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time.

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