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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 go ahead and finish up this shot. This shot actually took a long time to animate. It's one of the more complex shots so that's one of the reasons why I wanted to show it to you. So let's take a look at that. OK we added in additional sparks and everything. Now all we have to do is make the monster appear with his boxer shorts. Now that was something that we actually didn't have in the original but we thought it was kind of cute to just kind of toss that in so it's just another little gag. Now how we did that was we essentially just created another Photoshop file which had essentially the Monster in the exact same pose pretty much and just with his boxers on and so we just brought that in and created a separate composition.
And the only thing we did in this composition was actually just add in this little mouth motion here, he had two mouths. One was kind of a smiling mouth, the other one was a surprised mouth and so we essentially just put those in. And then I just dragged in that whole composition as another layer. Now all we have to do is fade in this. So let's go ahead, I think somewhere around Frame 100, let's go ahead and bring that in. We have two layers here, we have monster and monster with boxers.
So in the monster layer, layer 15, let's go ahead and set a keyfame for 100. In the other layer, the one with the boxers, let's go ahead and set a keyframe for 0 and we are talking about Opacity here. And then essentially over the next say 2 or 3 frames, we will fade 1 to 10 and 1 to 10. To essentially- bam! OK so it comes on but we also need to add something a little bit more to make him pop.
So what we did was actually this nice little trick here, all we did was on the very top layer we created a new layer. Actually we created a solid and we just made it a white solid and then we drew a mask. So we go into the white solid and we use our mask. Well in fact we are just going to do an elliptical. Ellipse tool and just kind of draw out the ellipse that we want and move it into place.
So now we have this mask and we can also feather this mask a little bit and there is kind of our little pop. And then right before he changes, we want to start this animating so actually I'm going to go into the Transform section of this layer and again we are going to set keys for our Position, Scale, Rotation, Opacity. Turn the Opacity all the way down. I'm going to scale it down just a little bit and again just reposition- in fact if I want to, right there is my anchor point so let's go ahead and just center that along that anchor point so that way when it scales, it will scale evenly.
And then as he pops, so he goes 1, 2 ,this is basically where we expand it, turn up the Opacity. In fact I might want to move all of these back by a frame or two. Let's see. And then we just bring it back down to where it was. So essentially right here I like to actually just keep it growing and then just fade that down to 0 so it kind of gives that nice pop effect. OK.
And that's basically all we did. I think actually I did add in another of those little lightning bolts when it came in so let's go ahead and do that. I believe it's lightning 3 was what I actually added in. So as that comes in... we just ah- in fact I just need to move these over here. So as it comes in, pop! There we go and then there we go. OK. So that's essentially that shot. Now we have found a couple of other little special effects that we did, some actually use the Puppet tool, some are Motion Blur effects. So let's go ahead and go through some of those as well.
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