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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.
At this point, we have the head pretty much turning, with the exception of the hair, so we are going to do that in this lesson. So if we take a look at this, you can see that this head is working pretty well, but we still need to add in the hair. So let's go ahead over to our Head composition here, and you can see we've got the nice head turn, and now let's go ahead and turn on the Hair. Now you will notice here that, well you know, it kind of fits, but it doesn't really turn, so we want this kind of duck tail that he has here to go from this side over to this side as he turns his head.
Now the easiest way to do that is to create a whole new set of hair using a shape, and so we're actually going to draw a new hair object, and just animate this shape. So the first thing we want to do is go ahead and position this over Frame 20, which is really where this is going to start. And now we have the Hair object, which is just a bitmap, and I need to go ahead and set Position, Scale, and Rotation keys here, and now we are going to flip the hair over on the other extreme. So that means I am going to have to unlock my scale, and type in -100, and what that does is it just mirrors that, or it flops it around. And then I'm going to position this where it needs to go.
In fact, I need to maybe rotate that little bit. And I just want to make sure this is positioned fairly well, because what I am going to do is just use this as a template. This is not really going to be the hair that's going to be final; it's just a template. I just want to make sure I have this pose, and this pose; everything in between doesn't really matter. So let's go ahead to Frame 20, and we are going to create a Shape layer. So at this point I am going to lock my Hair layer, and make sure everything is deselected, and then I am going to select my Pen tool.
Now at this point, it's going to tell me what my fill and my stroke is. Even though I have my Fill set at Black, which is the same color as the hair, I am going to set it to a different color. In fact, I am going to set it to red, that way I know exactly where my new hair is versus the hair that I am using as the template. We can always change this color later, but I am going to draw it in red, so I can see it very clearly. So I am going to go ahead and lay down a single point here, then I am going to click and drag. Again, I am trying to follow the curve of this; click and drag again, and this time, I am going to lay down a single point, a single point here. Then I am going to go ahead and click and drag to create that duck tail, another click and drag here, and then another single point here, and then I want to make sure I close this.
And so that's pretty close, and we can always modify that. In fact, if I want, I can go in to my Shape layer here, which is new, and go into my Contents, into my Shape, and I can change and affect my Path. The easiest way to do this is to go into Transform, and drop down the Opacity just a bit, so what I can do now is I can see where I am overlapping and where I am not. And that's going to help me draw my shape accurately to the original. So let's go back up here and click on Shape > Path 1 here, and then I am just going to arrange this so that it's pretty close to this hair do here.
So again, I just want to make sure that I get a reasonably close shape here. And as I do that, you can see how if I go way too far over, the Opacity is going to tell me where I am over and where I am under. So looks like I am pretty close, and so there we go. So now for this path here, I want to make sure I open this up and set a keyframe at the last frame, which was Frame 20 here. So now I am going to go over to Frame 0, and we are going to redraw that.
So I am just going to select each point here, and just reshape it. And again, this Opacity and the red layer really helps me see what I'm doing, and I am really just doing this as a guide. So I want to go ahead and lengthen that out little bit here, and again we are just trying to make this work pretty well, and there we go. Okay, so now I have this; you can see I have two keyframes, one for each side, and this will now automatically in-between.
So let's see this a little bit better. I am going to hide my original Hair layer, and now I am going to take my Shape layer, and you notice how I still have that color here. I am going to go ahead and turn my color to black, and then open this up, and scroll down, and turn off all my Opacity; make sure it's at 100%. And now you can see how the hair is actually following the head. So now I have the hair and everything else turning. When I go back over to my main Composition, you can see how I've got a good head turn. If you notice -- I go to the very end here, I will go to Frame 21, you'll notice how it disappears. And so what I'm going to do here is go back over here, and we have that same problem we had before: this ends at 20, but my slider is going up to 21.
So I just need to grab the end of this, and bring it up by one frame, and we are there. So now I've got a good head turn. So there we go. So what we did here was we traced over the original hair with an After Effects shape, and because we can animate shapes, we can animate the shape of the character's hair.
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