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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.
When using the Puppet tool, there may be times when you'll need to control the shape of the character's body parts. Typically, when you move a Puppet pin, it will just in-between everything; a lot of times you will get very flowing shapes. Now, there are times when you want the character shapes to be a little bit more rigid, and that's where we can use the Starch tool. So let's take a look at this character here. I'm going to go ahead and select his layer, and go into that Puppet tool, and let's go ahead and take a look at the arm.
So I am going to zoom in to the left arm. I am just going to select this Puppet pin at the left wrist, and go ahead and move it. When you move it, you notice how the in-between is very curvy. It's almost like rubber hose animation. It's not like a real joint, which bends very sharply at the elbow. Well, we can correct this using the Starch tool. So let's go ahead and undo this, and put that wrist back to normal. Let's go ahead and find the Starch tool here.
So we've got Puppet Starch tool. Let's go ahead and select that, and it's kind of like a little spray can. So I am going to go ahead and add that Puppet pin somewhere towards the base of the hand. Now, once I have that, you'll notice how in the Mesh, we have our Deform pins, but we also now have a category for Stiffness. This is very similar to the Overlap pins that we have. So we have an additional Starch pin. Now, notice how that Starch pin is Red.
The important thing about this is the Amount, and the Extent. Again, we can change the position of this, but we also can change the Amount, which is how much does this affect surrounding triangles, or surrounding parts of the character, and the Extent to which it works. The big number here is the Extent. So if I increase this -- let's go ahead and just type in 100 -- notice how now this Puppet pin is affecting this area.
Well, we actually want it to affect almost to the elbow, so let's go ahead and type in a bigger number. Let's say type in, say, 250. Now, what this does is it covers the entire hand, and most of the forearm, but it leaves a little bit of area around the elbow, so that it can bend. Now once we have that, we can start working with it, so all I have to do is select this pin, and now when you move, notice how this is a much sharper joint. That's because all this upper part of the forearm is starched.
In other words, it's very stiff. It doesn't bend, and it won't give you that rubber hose effect. So as you can see, the Starch tool is very good for making more realistic joints, particularly ones that are controlled by bones. So you'll probably be using these most in the arms and legs; also the head is a very good place to be using the Starch tool.
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