Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Deforming multiple shapes

From: After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet

Video: Deforming multiple shapes

I'd like to share with you a few more tricks and issues of using the Puppet Pin tool with layers that have complex Alpha channels. I've closed my other compositions and if you have access to the Exercise Files, open up 08-Multiple Shapes*starter. This line of text has what I would refer to ask a complex alpha. I'll turn on the Transparency grid so that you can picture it better. Each character has its own Alpha separated from the other characters. Also the letter "i" has separate Alphas defining the dot on the top and the body of the "i".

Deforming multiple shapes

I'd like to share with you a few more tricks and issues of using the Puppet Pin tool with layers that have complex Alpha channels. I've closed my other compositions and if you have access to the Exercise Files, open up 08-Multiple Shapes*starter. This line of text has what I would refer to ask a complex alpha. I'll turn on the Transparency grid so that you can picture it better. Each character has its own Alpha separated from the other characters. Also the letter "i" has separate Alphas defining the dot on the top and the body of the "i".

When you select a layer and then select the Puppet Pin tool, and I'm going to make sure the Mesh is turned on so you can see it, and use the default for Expansion and Triangles. After Effects only looks at the Alpha channel enclosed by where you click. It does not search for any other little snippets of Alpha channel that might exist elsewhere on that layer. Therefore, when I click the inside of the "r" only the "r" got the mesh. This sort of isolation can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what you intend to do.

Now another interesting thing about Puppet is the way that it renders the pixels that it deforms. Remember Puppet is an effect. If I go ahead and open up the Effect Controls panel for this text layer, you'll see I already have a Ramp and a Bevel Alpha effect applied followed by Puppet. If I click on one of these puppet pins and start dragging this character so that it overlaps, portions of the other unmeshed characters, and turn off the mesh for now, you'll see that the Ramp has been rendered, the Bevel has been rendered then the shape has been deformed by the Puppet effect.

If the Puppet effect appeared before these other effects, you would have a deformed shape for the "r" then the whole layer we get a Ramp and a Bevel Alpha. So if you're working with complex alphas like this and you're not quite getting the definition between shapes that you'd hope for, watch your effects stacking order over in the Effects Control panel and I'm going to undo to get this "r" back in this un-deformed position. There is a problem with this auto-meshing procedure if you want to deform an object that has multiple pieces of alpha, for example, this "i." If I was to click on the bottom of the "i" and turn on my mesh again, you'll see only the body of the "i" got the mesh, not the dot up top.

If I'm going to stretch one against the other, clicking on one point and stretching doesn't really work. It becomes separated because they're two separate meshed objects. I'll undo, click on the top of the "i" and I'm stretching just the "i" but not the dot on top. Well, there is a way around that to group pieces of Alpha channels on layers, and undo to get back to my unmeshed state for the "i" and then I'm going to choose the Masking tools.

A trick with the Puppet Pin tool is to enclose a portion of your layer inside a mask. Once you've done that, you can then click with the Puppet Pin tool somewhere inside the mask but outside the alpha of the character. When you do that, After Effects will create a mesh out of the masked shape, not the Alpha channel for the object you have clicked inside. Just go ahead and add a couple more pins here and now I can go ahead and move that "i" as a group.

You might be saying, "But Chris, what about my other pieces to this layer?" No problem. Go to your Masks in the Timeline panel and change its mode to None, that means don't actually cut out the visible pixels in this layer. And now I've got my deformable "i." I'll click my Puppet effect again, and I can start bending these around the other characters. Notice it goes in front of the "m" and behind the "r." Unlike a normal mesh, you cannot use the Overlap tool to make one mesh go in front of another.

Instead you have to reorder the meshes in the Timeline panel. Let's say you wanted to bend this entire word as it though on a sheet of rubber, rather than trying to bend each character individually. No problem. I'm going to delete my Puppet effect to get back to my starting point and delete the mask I created just for the "i" and instead mask the entire word or namely enclose it all inside the mask. I'll switch to my Puppet Pin tool, click inside the mask, not inside one of the characters and now I will get a mesh for my entire mask shape.

And I can have fun bending the entire text as a unit. And in this case, I might want to increase my number of triangles to get a little bit nicer resolution to my deformation. And as you saw my previous example, you can mix and match these techniques, individual shapes or shapes enclosed by masks even inside the same layer. So with those few nuggets of knowledge, how to manage your mesh, and how to manage the effects stack, you should be able to get even finer control over your puppet distortions.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet
 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects Apprentice 13: Paint, Roto, and Puppet.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.