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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.
Let's take a look at another effect and that's kind of the Dry Brush effect that we had as he zips out which is right here. Let's just go ahead and open the file. We're going to open the project, it's in the same directory in your After Effects directory on your desktop in the Exercise Files folder called Shot02_00D. And let's bring that up. Now I'm going to turn this to quarter so that I can scrub a little bit more quickly, it's going to be little bit grainier but we really want to be able to scrub this. So let's take a look at how he zips out. First thing he does is he does an anticipation he goes backwards before he goes forwards and then he leans over classic snagglepuss and he's off. So let me show you how this was actually set up.
I'm going to scroll down here, and the two layers that are really critical here are layer 24 and 25, in fact let me turn those off. Layer 25 is his straight up and down torso, layer 24 is his bending at the waist torso. Let's take a look at how that transitions over, you can see that's where it pops over. And the thing was that he was bending over just so much right here that we had to just draw another torso in order to kind of make it work.
So what we did was we actually have two layers here named Frank torso so that's a little confusing. But if you look at him, this one here of him straight up down actually does have the Puppet tool on there and that actually gives him a nice way of bending. Once we go into this other part here, you can see we also have a Puppet tool, some Puppet Pins setup on this one and this one's actually a full body one and that gives us the ability to move his arms just a little bit and do a nice little anticipation before he moves off.
Now also notice that this frame where he starts to zip off where the beaker disappears, his foot disappears, his hand disappears, I think one of his eyes disappears but that's OK because once it zips off, it zips off in just a few frames so you are not really going to notice that that beaker disappears. Another thing we do when he zips off is actually I scale him wide. Again I want to get kind of a long blur effect. If he was at a 100% here, then it wouldn't fill up as much of the screen so by scaling him about 25% on the left or right axis, it will make it much stronger.
So all we have to do now is essentially just add some blur effects and do a little bit more. So essentially what I did here was blurring sharpen and I just added a Directional Blur. And then the direction I believe is 90 degrees. We need to animate that up so basically I'm just going to go set a key on Blur Length and then move forward a frame and then just blur the heck out of it. Now one of the things that I found with this was that as you blur it, it starts to get transparent and it doesn't quite read as well as it could.
So one of the things I did was I essentially just copied and pasted this layer. In fact I'm just going to turn that on, and I made a second layer here of just his torso with a little bit more stretch on it, just to give it a little bit more width and again I'm going to go ahead and put that Directional Blur on that one as well. Again 90 degrees and... I'm not sure how much that's going to be blurring but quite a bit.
If you blur it enough, you get that kind of nice Warner Brothers kind of double effect there. Now also the other thing that needs to blur is his face. So let's go ahead up to Frank Face and again, same thing, we are just going to go ahead add a directional blur effect, we can either add it here or there and again, 90 degrees. And in this case we're going to have to animate it. So I'm going to ahead set a key here for blur length of zero and then just amp it up.
Now the one thing as you're seeing these things behind here but that's actually just the background kind of showing through a little bit. When you have this sort of blur, it tends to smooth these fast motions out and make them read a lot better. Now we also added a little bit of blur here at the very end, in fact let's go over to the end here when Frank comes out, in fact I left that on and essentially we just added a little bit more blur on him as well just to give him more stretch and smoothness as he comes out.
So those are the basics of that Dry Brush effect. So let's go ahead and move on to some other stuff.
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