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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.
Let's go ahead and finish our blinks. At this point, we have the blinks moving with the head turn. So I have three sets of lids here. Let's go ahead and zoom in, and see where we are at. I have got three sets of lids. So let's turn these all off. I have LIDS 03, which is one-third closed; LIDS 02, two-thirds closed; LIDS 01, completely closed. Now, I want to control these with a slider, so that they turn on and off.
For now, let's just work with LIDS 03, and then we will come back to these. So I am going to go ahead and turn these off, and let's just play with this lid. Now, the easiest way to turn these on and off is to play with opacity. If I open up the LIDS 03 layer, you'll see I have an Opacity control. Now, if I turn that completely off, it disappears; turn it completely on, it's there. So let's go ahead and tie this value to a slider. I am going to scroll up here to my HEAD CONTROL layer, and let's add in that slider.
So I am going to go Effect > Expression Controls > Slider Control, and it adds a new slider under our HEAD TURN slider. So just go ahead and right-click, rename this, and we are going to call it BLINK. You'll see we have a slider for that. Now if I scroll down here, we also need to add an expression to Opacity. So I am going to select Opacity on LIDS 03, Add Expression. Now, what is this expression? Well, we need to set a range on this BLINK slider for the opacity to turn on and off.
So what I am going to do here is that when this BLINK slider is at 0, everything is off. The eyes are wide open. When the slider is anywhere from 1 to 10, the first lid is on. When it's anywhere from 11 to 20, the second lid is on, and so on. So every 10 units, a successive lid turns on. So we can do this -- first thing we need to do is we need to get the value of that slider into our Opacity channel. So I am just going to use my Pick Whip, drag up to the top here, and just highlight my BLINK slider.
When I do that, it just adds that slider in. If I run the slider, you can see I can actually use that as an Opacity control. But that's not really what I want to do. We'll make sure this is at 0 here, and let's go ahead and add in the rest of expression to make this conditional. So I am going to go ahead and open up this window, so I have room to type, click in there. So first thing we need to do is we need to place the value of that slider into a variable. I am just going to use the letter a for my variable.
You can use any variable name you want. So a is going to equal the value of that slider, which is really what all of this means. Then at the end of that, I am going to put a semicolon, which again just says this is the end of a command, and we have a new command coming. At this point I need to enter the test. In other words, I need to test what a is equal to in order to determine whether or not I want to turn on my opacity, or keep it off. So I am going to use what's called an if Statement.
So I am going to type "if", and then I need to add in a condition. Well, what is the condition? Well, I want a to be greater than 0, because 0 is off, and a to be less than or equal to 10. So I have two conditions that need to be met. So I'm going to add in two parentheses, because I am going to have a double condition here, so I need two parentheses. The first one is, is a greater than 0? So, if a is greater than 0, and, so two ampersands, another parenthesis, a is less than or equal to 10, and then close all of my parentheses, so that would be two parentheses.
So if a is greater than 0 and a is less than 10, then the value is 100. Anything else, type in the word else, 0. So let's go through this one more time. If a is greater than 0, and a is less than or equal to 10, then opacity is 100. If not, opacity is 0. So click outside of this, hopefully you won't get an error, and now we should have a slider that turns it on and off. So if I turn this above 1, there we go! It turns on.
Once it goes above 10, it turns off again. So now we have the magic expression that we can use for all the other lids. So I am going to go ahead and turn on LIDS 02, and instead of doing all of this typing, let's go ahead and select this expression, right-click, Copy, and then I'm going to open up LIDS 02, open up Transform > Opacity, make sure Opacity is selected, Add Expression, and then all you have to do is right-click and Paste.
Now, if I open this up you will see it's added in the exact same expression. But this is the second one in the sequence, so I don't want it to go from 0 to 10; I want it to go from 10 to 20. So all I have to do is just type in a is greater than 10 and less than or equal to 20 and that should work. Let's try this. Scroll up to my BLINK slider. There we go! Off between 1 and 10, 10 to 20; perfect! We can do the same thing for the last one.
Scroll down to LIDS 01; make sure that's visible, go down to Opacity, add in the expression, right-click, Paste. Okay, for this one -- last one was 10 to 20. This one would be 20 to 30. Now, you can use this for lids, but you can use this for almost any sort of replacement animation. So now I've got a slider that blinks my eyes, and eyes that can turn with the head while blinking.
Really all we have done is just animated the opacity, and just did a test on that slider using an if statement. So you can use this for anything. You can also use this for mouths. You would have more expressions, but it would work pretty much the same for any sort of replacement animation.
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