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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 some more special effects that we use to Minute Monsterpieces. Shot I'm going to use is Shot 02, which is basically where we introduce Dr. Frankenstein and his assistant Fritz. And there is a couple of nice little effects in here. One is this bubbling beaker here, you can see the bubbles kind of and the sparks kind of fly out of it. And then we have another little effect here towards the end, let me go over here, and that's where Dr. Frankenstein kind of zips out and we kind of wanted to get a nice little dry brush effect on that.
So let's go ahead and start with the bubbles and we will show you how to do that. I'm going to open a project file. Let's go start from the Desktop/Exercise Files/ Monsterpiece/After Effects/02_00A and here is our shot. Now in this one I have kind of turned off all the bubbles. As you can see here, all the animation is there. In fact this animation was done pretty much the same way we did the dig animation with- the rigs were very similar.
We have basically Puppet tools in the arms, but the arms themselves are separate. But let's go ahead and get on to the bubbles, actually the bubbles and the beaker itself are in a separate layer here, right there is a layer for the bubbles. And let's go ahead here and I have actually a bunch of little bubbles here, but let's just focus on one set of these, so I can show you how one is animated in cycle and then you can just repeat that for the rest of the bubbles.
So let's start by just making this a simple bubble cycle here. Now when it bubbles, what it does is it comes out small, grows and then it kind of dissipates. So essentially what we have to do here is just animate a little bit of Scale, Position and so on and Opacity as well. So this will go ahead and start at 0 Opacity and we are just going to go ahead and put that bubble right there in the mouth of that beaker. Then over the course of say two frames or so, we are going to go ahead and reveal that. But we don't want to reveal that at 100% Scale, so I'm going to scale this down a little bit.
Scale it down to maybe about 50% and then just bring that out there. Essentially it comes up. I'm going to zoom in here, so I have little bit more space. We are going to go probably 6 to 8 frames, so I'm just going to go about 6 frames out, bring it all the way up. Somewhere like that and what we want to do is as it comes up to this point, we want to grow the bubble, so essentially the bubble gets bigger.
As it comes up. Over the course of about 3 frames, we basically fade out the bubble to 0 and shrink it down as we do that and also bring it up just a little bit higher right there. OK? But right here, I want this bubble to be at a 100%, so I want to make sure that Opacity is set, there we go. Now I have the animation, so I can just duplicate that layer and just modify the keyframes.
So if I want, and this is basically how I did it, was I just hit Ctrl+C or Apple+C and V for paste and now I have got two layers with that same bubble on it, but obviously this second layer I want the keyframes to be offset a little bit. And I want the bubble to go in a different place, so what I'm going to do here is on layer Bubble 4, I'm just going to go ahead and move this second bubble kind of out of the way and also move this keyframe.
Essentially, I have got this kind of going in two different paths and now that goes that way, that goes that way. And I just can duplicate those layers as much as I want and once I have them duplicated then what I can do is I can start cycling and so I just select all the keys in one of these layers and I can paste. Copy and paste, one of my favorite tools. So again I can just - and essentially what happens is as it comes down, you can also see as it animates back down, the Opacity is 0 so you don't really see it. So essentially that cycles.
The sparks are pretty much animated the same way except we add in a little bit of Rotation, so let's go ahead and do in one of the sparks here. We scale it down so that it kind of fits the opening of that beaker and we are going to set some keys for Position, Scale and Rotation as well as Opacity. And then I'm going to animate the Opacity down and then over the course of two frames, I'm going to go ahead and make it visible and kind of bring it up out of the mouth of that beaker.
And then go about 6 frames out and then animate it up and animate it to somewhere around 100%. You don't have to do a 100%. The other thing I like to do is I like to rotate it so as it comes up, because this has this pointy edge, it's nice to actually rotate that as it comes up. And then you go 1, 2, about 3 frames out and you continue the rotation, but then you fade it out to 0.
And for these actually I like to scale them up and again right here I need a key to bring it up to 100%. So if you bring it up over 100%, it'll look like it's kind of sparking, it's kind of exploding, and you can also animate it down if you want. It doesn't really matter. And then again, what we can do is we can go few frames out and cycle it. Just by copying and pasting those keyframes.
Now at this point it has to be at 0 and also we have to make sure that a Position key here- If you notice here I have got this Position key, it's kind of hanging open, so I need to make sure I close that out. So I'm just going to copy and paste that keyframe and I'm going to do the same on the cycle, because what you have to do is when you start cycling, you got to make sure that you have got your end position locked down. So that way you don't have one thing cycling at a different rate than another. And so now once we kind of have that cycle there, you can see how now the bubbles are starting to come out and what we did for the actual animation let's go ahead and open- I'm not going to save this.
But I'm actually going to open Shot02_00B and let's go to the bubble cycle here. There we go. So I have got a couple of these different sparks here and essentially we're just bringing them up and doing the same thing. And so then when we bring them into the shot itself, so there is your bubble cycle. So let's go ahead and work on the next shot Motion Blur Dry Brush effect.
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