I've been having lots of adventures with my Anime Studio Debut program. For an animation program which cost me under $50 (student version) it is amazing. Here is a screenshot of some work I have been doing on my animated self-portrait as a galah, "I'm not a Budgie."
I have built a face and figure representing myself and have been experimenting on ways to use the "bone" morphing tool. What I really love about this tool is its complexity coupled with an ease of use which I think of as intuitive. For a sculptor/painter like myself it becomes just another tool. I feel that I am squeezing those pixels with pliers or sweeping them around with my brush and like with the use of a hammer, chisel or saw, the angle at which the tool is applied is of the utmost importance.
So this is my head and my body, a cross between the symbolic and representational. The grey lines are the "bone" areas of influence which I have set into my drawing. It is an interesting method of working because every "object" in the 240 frame "bone" animation has to be set up in frame 0. I am fairly meticulous when I do artwork - every idea must be executed exactly, but I am also very adventurous and willing to innovate as I progress. I suppose that a lot of it is a matter of experience and being able to look ahead, whatever... setting up the whole animation in the first frame was a challenge that I enjoyed.
This is how I set the "bones" in the face. I started my use of this program a couple of months ago by following some tutorials. I never follow them exactly because that bores me too much, but I tried some techniques and watched a lot of people explaining their methods. When I came to applying bones to this drawing there really was no guide available, so I just did it by feel and experimentation. I'm sure that most people use vaguely the same techniques, but I just couldn't find anything close so it was quicker to experiment. The main thing you have to remember with using "bones" is to have them properly sourced or "parented". In this structure most of the "bones" relate to the bone in the neck which, when manipulated, will move the whole head.
I found it necessary to use a mass of "bones" placed around the mouth to effectively compress and stretch the area as I have used it to lip-synch a short passage of spoken word in the Budgie Song. I have crossed the two long "bones" over the lower jaw area to help move the whole chin/lip zone and also have detailed related groups for the eyes and earrings. I filmed myself speaking the words in the song and worked out how to import the video into Anime Studio as a guide for the shapes and timing of lip synching. Anime Studio actually has an automated lip synching system, but from what I saw in tutorials, it would be too simple and coarse for my feral/obsessive way of working. I always have to re-invent the wheel...