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Learn to create and animate highly controllable characters using After Effects. In this course, author George Maestri covers every step on the way, from designing the characters in Photoshop or Illustrator, or drawing them straight from After Effects; assembling characters with hierarchies; making realistic deformations with the Puppet tool; automating rigs with expressions; creating realistic head turns; and showing advanced techniques such as using null objects as bones. Finally, the course shows how to perform a basic animation with the character and ensure the rig works correctly.
Now, once you have a shape in After Effects, either drawn directly in After Effects, or brought over from Illustrator, there are some nice things you can do with it. One of the most important ones is that you can animate this. Now, this is kind of important for characters that need some sort of shape animation, so hairstyle that changes shape, hands that move back and forth, a belly that jiggles; that sort of thing. So let's take a look at this character's hair. I am going to go ahead and zoom in. So the very top layer in this is called Hair_Top, and this is that Shape layer that we created.
So if I want, I can actually start animating the path of this character's hair. So all I have to do is just set a keyframe here by clicking the stopwatch, and then just moving my timeframe forward a few frames, and then all I have to do is use my Select tool to reshape the character's hair. Once I do that, it's actually animating. So if you want his hairstyle to grow, you can do that. If you want a belly to jiggle, you can do that.
So it just sets keyframes for both of those, and now I'm animating both. This can come in very, very handy. We use it later in the course to actually change the shape of the character's hair as he does a head turn. You can also use this for the character's face, to change the shape of character's nose; many, many different ways to use this feature in animation, and in rigging a character.
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