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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters

Creating bounce with the Puppet tool


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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters

with George Maestri

Video: Creating bounce with the Puppet tool

Let's go ahead and use the Puppet tool now to animate the girl. So, let's go ahead and take a look at the scene here. We've got Frank. Scene Version 3 and he is running her through the scene. Now, she kind of looks like this cardboard cutout, so let's go ahead and add some puppet pins and start animating her. I'm going to go over into her composition and I'm going to select her layer here. Bride Torso One, let's make sure that's the right layer. OK. And then I'm just going go to Distort, Puppet, just add in that Puppet tool effect and let's start laying in some puppet pins. So I'm going to go up here to the Puppet Pin tool and we've got some options here. For one I can show the mesh as I start to draw it. So go ahead and click one here at the back, one at the ankle, you can see this mesh now, this is what it's actually using to distort. And let's set one right here at his hands where his hand hits the knee, one at the hips, and then one at the shoulders, one at the neck and then one here at the chest. So I've got like 7 of these puppet pins.
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  1. 2m 26s
    1. Welcome
      1m 30s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      56s
  2. 24m 25s
    1. Project overview
      3m 12s
    2. Original storyboard
      2m 36s
    3. Organizing production directories
      3m 56s
    4. Using a rough soundtrack for shot timing
      1m 58s
    5. Creating a Leica reel in Premiere Pro
      7m 17s
    6. Tracking projects
      3m 1s
    7. Creating art in Photoshop for After Effects
      2m 25s
  3. 47m 12s
    1. Segmenting Photoshop characters
      7m 54s
    2. Importing Photoshop files into After Effects
      3m 55s
    3. Linking character parts
      5m 25s
    4. Animating blinks using Opacity
      8m 19s
    5. Animating the arm
      9m 57s
    6. Animating the needle and thread and the monster's hand
      11m 42s
  4. 54m 9s
    1. Introduction to subcompositions
      5m 32s
    2. Setting up nested compositions
      4m 29s
    3. Animating a run cycle pt. 1: Basic leg motion
      8m 45s
    4. Animating a run cycle pt. 2: Overlap and follow-through
      5m 4s
    5. Putting the girl in his arms
      8m 24s
    6. Animating a screaming girl pt. 1: The arms
      9m 49s
    7. Animating a screaming girl pt. 2: The head
      12m 6s
  5. 32m 5s
    1. The basics of the Puppet tool
      5m 37s
    2. Creating bounce with the Puppet tool
      5m 55s
    3. Dig cycles pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 9s
    4. Dig cycles pt. 2: Shovel
      4m 54s
    5. Dig cycles pt. 3: Arms and body
      11m 3s
    6. Dig cycles pt. 4: Finalizing
      2m 27s
  6. 47m 32s
    1. Creating a monster pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 35s
    2. Creating a monster pt. 2
      10m 42s
    3. Creating a monster pt. 3
      12m 34s
    4. Creating a monster pt. 4
      4m 39s
    5. Creating a monster pt. 5: Finalizing
      4m 22s
    6. Creating smoke and bubble cycles
      7m 34s
    7. Creating a dry brush effect
      5m 6s
  7. 23m 9s
    1. The basics of lip syncing
      3m 8s
    2. Setting up mouths for animation with time mapping
      7m 21s
    3. Animating the lips
      6m 23s
    4. Animating the head and body
      6m 17s
  8. 14m 54s
    1. Rendering with After Effects
      4m 4s
    2. Editing with Premiere Pro
      4m 9s
    3. Final output and audio
      6m 41s
  9. 10s
    1. Goodbye
      10s

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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
4h 6m Intermediate Jun 18, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Filmmakers of all kinds are exploring new digital tools for creating animated content. After Effects CS3: Animating Characters follows the creation of a short animated film, from storyboard through final output, using After Effects CS3. George Maestri uses a one-minute monster movie to showcase the new Puppet tool, along with many other techniques for animating characters in After Effects. He covers lip syncing, creating segmented characters with movable joints, and employing special effects. George demonstrates in detail how to create individual scenes and shots, and offers insight into how to pull the pieces together to form a cohesive production. Familiarity with After Effects is recommended. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Organizing with storyboards, rough soundtracks, and Leica reels Creating, importing, and linking segmented character parts from Photoshop Setting up nested compositions to animate a run cycle Creating smoke and bubble cycles, and other special effects Animating lips, heads, and bodies with time mapping Editing and creating final output with Premiere Pro
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Software:
After Effects
Author:
George Maestri

Creating bounce with the Puppet tool

Let's go ahead and use the Puppet tool now to animate the girl. So, let's go ahead and take a look at the scene here. We've got Frank. Scene Version 3 and he is running her through the scene. Now, she kind of looks like this cardboard cutout, so let's go ahead and add some puppet pins and start animating her. I'm going to go over into her composition and I'm going to select her layer here. Bride Torso One, let's make sure that's the right layer. OK. And then I'm just going go to Distort, Puppet, just add in that Puppet tool effect and let's start laying in some puppet pins. So I'm going to go up here to the Puppet Pin tool and we've got some options here. For one I can show the mesh as I start to draw it. So go ahead and click one here at the back, one at the ankle, you can see this mesh now, this is what it's actually using to distort. And let's set one right here at his hands where his hand hits the knee, one at the hips, and then one at the shoulders, one at the neck and then one here at the chest. So I've got like 7 of these puppet pins.

I'm going to open up, expand my Puppet effect and expand the Deform effect. Now, when you animate a puppet pin, each puppet pin has just one variable and that's for Position. So I'm just going to expand all of these. You'll notice that when I put this in, it actually already put a keyframe in here. So, what I need to do is, I'm actually going to expand this just little bit so we can see this a little more here. I'm going to go ahead and select all 7 of these keys and I'm going to move them to zero.

And now, I want to- in fact let's go ahead and undock this. So I can actually see this in real time. So now what I want do is take this and make sure that her composition syncs up with this composition. So, what I want is I want to start playing with how she bounces. So, when he is at his high point, she is kind of like the opposite, so as he is moving up, she's moving down. So, all I have to do here is just start selecting and moving these puppet pins. So I'm going to go ahead and just start selecting these. So as he goes up, I want her to go down and I also want this to go down as well, the dress. And we can also probably do her hips a little bit, make her hips bounce just a bit, but I want to make sure that his hand doesn't go too far behind there.

So, these are the three points. 1, 2, 3. Maybe a little bit of ankle here, so let's do 4. So, I'm going to actually try and animate all of those points. You can see here, I've got keyframes for all of them and so now when he goes down here, she is going to go up, OK. And her hips are going to go up, this is going to go up, this may go back just a little bit, so you can see now, we are getting a really nice secondary motion and this is something you really can't get, with just swapping out bitmaps.

So, again, we're just going to continue and I kind of like just doing this a little bit free form because it gives a little bit more of a natural look to it. If I just copied and pasted keyframes it would be a little bit static looking or a lot like we are doing cycles. So, again I'm just going to move this up, move her hips up a little bit, move this up. So when this is here I can move these back down.

And so again, we are getting a nice bounce effect there. When it comes down again, her parts go up and so on. That's basically how it works. Very simple. And if we want to, we can take a look at this in real time here. So she has got a lot more bounce to her and it gives a lot more sense of motion.

So that's the basics of how to animate with the Puppet tool and let's go into this and take a look at it. So basically all we were doing is we're creating keyframes for each of these puppet pins and each puppet pin has its own position, it has its own curve, you can use whatever animation tools you want on each of these pins. Now, remember the pins actually are moving relative to the layer. So if I actually took this layer itself and moved it, these effects still work relative to the center anchor point of that layer.

OK. So, that makes it so everything is relative to the center point here. So, those are the basics of animating with the Puppet tool. So let's take a look at the final version of the scene as I animated it. I'm going to go ahead and open a project and that is Shot07_03 which is actually is my final. And you can see I have got- in fact let's turn on Frank here.

You can see we've got all the parts moving. So, let's go ahead and use the Puppet tool for some other things and we will move on from here.

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