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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.
So, now that we know the basics of the Puppet tool, let's use it to do something a little bit more complex, and that's this scene. I'm going to go ahead and scrub this for you. It's the digging scene. Now, this is probably the most complex animation we did on this because this dig is a little bit complex in terms of how it's planned out, in terms of animation. In fact, if you want, we can open up the final version of this. It's in our Desktop\ Exercise Files\Monsterpiece\After Effects\Shot-03_01, which is our final version, and then I'm going to create some interim versions as we go along to show you kind of the step by step of how we actually do one of these dig cycles.
Let's just kind of break down the shot. What I did was I created that dig cycle, which is essentially the characters just digging and then I cycled it just by copying keyframes. So, it made one dig and then you just copy it and off it goes. And then, once we cycle that, we bring this composition into our main composition. And so what I do is I have an overlay for the ground. In fact, let's just go from the back to the front. So we have a background. We have the actual grave itself and then we have an overlay.
And then, they basically just cycle and all we do is just animate them moving down as they dig. Very, very simple. So now, with digging, we've got a couple of issues here. First of all, if you notice, let's go ahead and zoom in just a little bit here. If I take a look at Dr. Frankenstein here, the guy in blue, we have a lot of Puppet tool going on here. Now, look at these arms. What we did was we used the Puppet tool for the arms, for the torso, and a lot of other things and also on Fritz, we did pretty much the same thing. His arm kind of bent using that Puppet tool.
And so on. So, we are going to go ahead and animate Frank on the next lesson.
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