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Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects

For those of you using After Effects, there's a really great tool that allows you to puppet a character and that's called the Puppet Pin tool. It's available in After Effects CS3 and above. We're using After Effects CS4, but they work identically. What it does is it allows you to take a piece of art and it allows you to deform it using what are called Puppet Pins. So let me show you how this works. I have a special project here called Bear_Puppet and it's just a little bit different from the one that we've been working with, in that I've merged all of the arm layers.

Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects

For those of you using After Effects, there's a really great tool that allows you to puppet a character and that's called the Puppet Pin tool. It's available in After Effects CS3 and above. We're using After Effects CS4, but they work identically. What it does is it allows you to take a piece of art and it allows you to deform it using what are called Puppet Pins. So let me show you how this works. I have a special project here called Bear_Puppet and it's just a little bit different from the one that we've been working with, in that I've merged all of the arm layers.

So, for example, this left arm here is all one piece. So there is no separate form and there is no separate hand. It's all one piece of art. But I can still deform it and animate it using the Puppet Pin tool. Let me show you how this works. So all I have to do is go here. This is where the Puppet Pin tool is, select it, and our cursor changes to a pushpin, and all I have to do is lay down the points where I want this object to deform.

So, for example, I'm going to go ahead and lay down one at the shoulder, one at the elbow, and one somewhere around the wrist. Then that's all I have to do. Now let's take a look at what happens in After Effects. When you go to your Timeline, you'll notice here, the Puppet effect has been added to this particular layer. Get this all in one window so we can see it. So in my left arm layer, under the Effects, I have a Puppet Pin, and if you expand this, you can see here each pin has its own track.

In fact, as I select these, you can see how they highlight. I can also highlight them using my Selection tool. Now all I have to do is just grab one of these points and move it. You can see how it very nicely deforms its mesh. So this can be a very nice way to do character animation and get something that's a little bit more fluid than you would get with just standard joints. Now the other thing about the Puppet Pin tool is that the object still can be affected. So, for example, I can take this arm and I can still rotate it, and then if I wanted to, I could go into my Puppet Pins and move them.

Then as I move them, I still have the master layer controls that I can use. So when you animate, you really need to decide where you're going to place your animation. Are you going to animate the layer or are you going to animate the Puppet Pins or are you going to animate both? In this particular case, something like the shoulder you'll probably animate by affecting the entire layer. Then anything underneath it, such as the elbow or the wrist, you would affect by using the Puppet Pins.

So what I like to do is I like to keep this top Puppet Pin stationary, so I can lock it down to its point of rotation for the master layer. Then the ones underneath, I can then use those for animation. So those are some tips and tricks for using the Puppet Pin tool and you can certainly use that tool as you start to work with characters and get them ready to animate.

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This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22233 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 2m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 16s
  2. 48m 21s
    1. Designing characters
      3m 22s
    2. Tracing characters
      4m 32s
    3. Creating joints that work
      3m 53s
    4. Working with outlines
      4m 0s
    5. Accessorizing your characters
      2m 21s
    6. Creating parts for replacement animation
      1m 41s
    7. Rigging hierarchies in After Effects
      5m 33s
    8. Rigging replacement animation in After Effects
      5m 52s
    9. Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects
      3m 16s
    10. Rigging Flash characters
      5m 50s
    11. Rigging replacement animation in Flash
      4m 25s
    12. Rigging with the Bone tool in Flash
      3m 36s
  3. 55m 29s
    1. The first law of motion
      3m 3s
    2. The second law of motion
      3m 45s
    3. The third law of motion
      3m 19s
    4. Using slow in and slow out
      5m 34s
    5. Arcs and smooth motion
      5m 4s
    6. Understanding overlap and follow-through
      5m 16s
    7. Animating overlap and follow-through
      5m 46s
    8. Understanding squash and stretch
      3m 10s
    9. Animating squash and stretch
      4m 40s
    10. Squashing and stretching characters
      5m 16s
    11. Understanding weight
      3m 27s
    12. Understanding anticipation
      4m 54s
    13. Animating anticipation and weight
      2m 15s
  4. 45m 50s
    1. Internal vs. external forces
      4m 45s
    2. Bringing characters to life
      4m 57s
    3. Animating blinks
      4m 37s
    4. Animating changes in eye direction
      2m 43s
    5. Animating head turns
      8m 1s
    6. Creating a strong line of action
      4m 16s
    7. Creating strong silhouettes
      2m 19s
    8. Pose-to-pose animation: Blocking
      4m 32s
    9. Pose-to-pose animation: Animating
      4m 21s
    10. Pose-to-pose animation: Finalizing
      5m 19s
  5. 46m 53s
    1. A walk in four poses
      2m 27s
    2. Motion of the head and body
      1m 32s
    3. Walk cycles and backgrounds
      1m 40s
    4. Skeleton motion and walking
      4m 2s
    5. Animating a walk: Contact position
      3m 0s
    6. Animating a walk: The feet
      9m 10s
    7. Animating a walk: The body
      5m 19s
    8. Animating a walk: The legs
      8m 21s
    9. Animating a walk: The upper body and arms
      3m 46s
    10. Animating a walk: The head
      2m 50s
    11. Animating a walk: Squash and stretch
      4m 46s
  6. 26m 52s
    1. A run in four poses
      4m 10s
    2. Animating a run: First pose
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a run: Second pose
      3m 45s
    4. Animating a run: Third pose
      3m 27s
    5. Animating a run: Fourth pose
      5m 1s
    6. Animating a run: Upper body
      5m 50s
  7. 37m 6s
    1. The basics of dialogue animation
      4m 35s
    2. Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes
      5m 33s
    3. Phonemes and lip-syncing
      8m 36s
    4. Animating dialogue: Animating the body
      6m 27s
    5. Animating dialogue: Assigning mouth shapes
      4m 10s
    6. Animating dialogue: Finalizing
      7m 45s
  8. 1h 27m
    1. Animating a scene
      2m 0s
    2. Setting up the scene in After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Animating the feet in After Effects
      10m 40s
    4. Animating the legs in After Effects
      4m 21s
    5. Animating the upper body in After Effects
      9m 44s
    6. Animating the mouth and blinks in After Effects
      7m 5s
    7. Setting up the scene in Flash
      4m 6s
    8. Animating the feet in Flash
      9m 0s
    9. Animating the body in Flash
      5m 23s
    10. Animating the legs in Flash
      7m 24s
    11. Animating the hands in Flash
      11m 54s
    12. Animating the mouth in Flash
      12m 26s
  9. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

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