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Creating Animated Characters in After Effects
Illustration by John Hersey

Copying paths from Illustrator


From:

Creating Animated Characters in After Effects

with George Maestri

Video: Copying paths from Illustrator

Another way to get shapes into After Effects is to cut and paste them from Illustrator. Now, if you've imported your character from Illustrator, all you're going to get is the rasterizing; you're not going to get the actual shapes themselves. For example, I have this file here where the character was imported from After Effects. So if I zoom into the character's hair and select it, you can see that while the hair is rasterizing, it understands the curves are there, but I can't get to the shapes themselves.
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  1. 1m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 27m 15s
    1. Creating characters in Illustrator
      5m 51s
    2. Creating characters in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    3. Designing joints
      3m 40s
    4. Drawing mouths
      2m 12s
    5. Drawing hands and eyelids
      2m 48s
    6. Importing Illustrator files into After Effects
      3m 26s
    7. Importing Photoshop files into After Effects
      2m 9s
  3. 7m 51s
    1. Drawing in After Effects
      3m 57s
    2. Copying paths from Illustrator
      2m 19s
    3. Animating shapes
      1m 35s
  4. 21m 9s
    1. Understanding how layer hierarchies work
      3m 58s
    2. Understanding the importance of the pivot point
      5m 42s
    3. Assembling the upper body
      4m 47s
    4. Creating leg hierarchies for efficient walks
      4m 27s
    5. Organizing scenes with null layers
      2m 15s
  5. 22m 26s
    1. Adding puppet pins to a character
      6m 51s
    2. Controlling mesh density
      2m 15s
    3. Creating overlap pins
      4m 43s
    4. Creating starch pins
      3m 1s
    5. Using the Puppet tool with hierarchies
      5m 36s
  6. 19m 7s
    1. Replacement animation using time remapping
      6m 47s
    2. Mouth replacement
      6m 6s
    3. Creating blinks
      6m 14s
  7. 27m 23s
    1. Creating a head turn: Head shape
      6m 45s
    2. Creating a head turn: Ears
      8m 7s
    3. Creating a head turn: Facial features
      6m 41s
    4. Creating a head turn: Hair shape
      5m 50s
  8. 1h 3m
    1. The basics of expressions: Controlling the wrist
      5m 20s
    2. Moving hands from front to back with expressions
      9m 2s
    3. Using expressions to control pupils
      7m 44s
    4. Creating a master control node with Expression Controls
      6m 30s
    5. Creating blinks that move with a head turn
      9m 28s
    6. Controlling blinks using opacity
      6m 34s
    7. Attaching mouth shapes to a slider
      3m 39s
    8. Creating mouths that move with a head turn
      8m 31s
    9. Working with absolute values
      6m 12s
  9. 14m 28s
    1. Setting up null objects as bones
      5m 39s
    2. Attaching puppet pins to bones
      4m 57s
    3. Strategies for parenting legs and feet
      3m 52s
  10. 28m 32s
    1. Setting up a scene for animation
      6m 3s
    2. Blocking out the shot
      11m 0s
    3. Animating dialogue
      5m 39s
    4. Animating blinks
      5m 50s
  11. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Creating Animated Characters in After Effects
3h 53m Intermediate Sep 08, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Importing Illustrator or Photoshop files into After Effects
  • Animating shapes
  • Organizing scenes with null layers
  • Working with the Puppet tool
  • Creating replacement animation using time remapping
  • Automating head turns
  • Creating a master control node with Expression Controls effects
  • Setting up a scene for animation
  • Animating dialogue
Subjects:
3D + Animation Character Animation
Software:
After Effects
Author:
George Maestri

Copying paths from Illustrator

Another way to get shapes into After Effects is to cut and paste them from Illustrator. Now, if you've imported your character from Illustrator, all you're going to get is the rasterizing; you're not going to get the actual shapes themselves. For example, I have this file here where the character was imported from After Effects. So if I zoom into the character's hair and select it, you can see that while the hair is rasterizing, it understands the curves are there, but I can't get to the shapes themselves.

Well, I can actually fix this by going into Illustrator, and actually cutting and pasting the shape itself. So I am going to go into Illustrator here, and we're going to select the character's hair, and then I'm just going to do an Edit > Copy, and go back into After Effects. Now, before I paste, I need to create a Shape layer to paste it into. So, for example, if I wanted to paste, I actually couldn't, because there's no place to paste a shape. So I need to do Layer > New > Shape layer, and then there is one more thing I need to do.

I need to draw a dummy shape that I'm going to replace. If I pasted what I brought over from Illustrator right now, it would paste it as a mask, not a shape. So I'm just going to go ahead and select my Pen tool and draw a placeholder. So I'm just going to draw a big rectangle right here over the center of the screen. And now once I have that, I can go into Contents in my Shape layer, go into Shape 1, and select Path 1. Now once I do that, now I can do a paste, and when I do that, it pastes that over it, and it replaces it, and now I have my shape.

So I just select my Shape layer, and let's go ahead and just bring it up towards the head here, and zoom in. And now that I have it, I can go ahead and start modifying it. So all I have to do is select Path 1, and I can actually reshape this, and I have total control over my shape. So this is just one more way to get shapes into After Effects, and that's bringing them in from Illustrator.

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