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Creating Animated Characters in After Effects
Illustration by John Hersey

Drawing hands and eyelids


From:

Creating Animated Characters in After Effects

with George Maestri

Video: Drawing hands and eyelids

Other important character parts to focus on are hands, and eyelids. Let's take a look at hands. Now, there are several ways to animate hands. In this case, I have chosen to do replacement hands. We could also do hands with separate joints, but a lot of times replacement hands can be drawn much more fluidly than having a hand with separate joints. So in this case, I have 5 different hands, and I have a couple of hands facing the camera, so such as this one with a finger straight out, and this one little bit more relaxed. And then I have a few more with the back of the hand to the camera, which is basically this one, a fist, and then one with an index finger pointing.
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  1. 1m 49s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. Using the exercise files
      32s
  2. 27m 15s
    1. Creating characters in Illustrator
      5m 51s
    2. Creating characters in Photoshop
      7m 9s
    3. Designing joints
      3m 40s
    4. Drawing mouths
      2m 12s
    5. Drawing hands and eyelids
      2m 48s
    6. Importing Illustrator files into After Effects
      3m 26s
    7. Importing Photoshop files into After Effects
      2m 9s
  3. 7m 51s
    1. Drawing in After Effects
      3m 57s
    2. Copying paths from Illustrator
      2m 19s
    3. Animating shapes
      1m 35s
  4. 21m 9s
    1. Understanding how layer hierarchies work
      3m 58s
    2. Understanding the importance of the pivot point
      5m 42s
    3. Assembling the upper body
      4m 47s
    4. Creating leg hierarchies for efficient walks
      4m 27s
    5. Organizing scenes with null layers
      2m 15s
  5. 22m 26s
    1. Adding puppet pins to a character
      6m 51s
    2. Controlling mesh density
      2m 15s
    3. Creating overlap pins
      4m 43s
    4. Creating starch pins
      3m 1s
    5. Using the Puppet tool with hierarchies
      5m 36s
  6. 19m 7s
    1. Replacement animation using time remapping
      6m 47s
    2. Mouth replacement
      6m 6s
    3. Creating blinks
      6m 14s
  7. 27m 23s
    1. Creating a head turn: Head shape
      6m 45s
    2. Creating a head turn: Ears
      8m 7s
    3. Creating a head turn: Facial features
      6m 41s
    4. Creating a head turn: Hair shape
      5m 50s
  8. 1h 3m
    1. The basics of expressions: Controlling the wrist
      5m 20s
    2. Moving hands from front to back with expressions
      9m 2s
    3. Using expressions to control pupils
      7m 44s
    4. Creating a master control node with Expression Controls
      6m 30s
    5. Creating blinks that move with a head turn
      9m 28s
    6. Controlling blinks using opacity
      6m 34s
    7. Attaching mouth shapes to a slider
      3m 39s
    8. Creating mouths that move with a head turn
      8m 31s
    9. Working with absolute values
      6m 12s
  9. 14m 28s
    1. Setting up null objects as bones
      5m 39s
    2. Attaching puppet pins to bones
      4m 57s
    3. Strategies for parenting legs and feet
      3m 52s
  10. 28m 32s
    1. Setting up a scene for animation
      6m 3s
    2. Blocking out the shot
      11m 0s
    3. Animating dialogue
      5m 39s
    4. Animating blinks
      5m 50s
  11. 18s
    1. Goodbye
      18s

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Creating Animated Characters in After Effects
3h 53m Intermediate Sep 08, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Importing Illustrator or Photoshop files into After Effects
  • Animating shapes
  • Organizing scenes with null layers
  • Working with the Puppet tool
  • Creating replacement animation using time remapping
  • Automating head turns
  • Creating a master control node with Expression Controls effects
  • Setting up a scene for animation
  • Animating dialogue
Subjects:
3D + Animation Character Animation
Software:
After Effects
Author:
George Maestri

Drawing hands and eyelids

Other important character parts to focus on are hands, and eyelids. Let's take a look at hands. Now, there are several ways to animate hands. In this case, I have chosen to do replacement hands. We could also do hands with separate joints, but a lot of times replacement hands can be drawn much more fluidly than having a hand with separate joints. So in this case, I have 5 different hands, and I have a couple of hands facing the camera, so such as this one with a finger straight out, and this one little bit more relaxed. And then I have a few more with the back of the hand to the camera, which is basically this one, a fist, and then one with an index finger pointing.

Now, when you draw hands, one of the most important things is to make sure that they have pretty good overlap, and this is true for anything that we're going to do with replacement animations. So, for example, if I select Right Hand O3, and lay it over, you can see how I've got it pretty much lined up along the back here. So I've got enough wrist, in this case, to tuck behind the cuff, and then I want to make sure that the back of the hand is pretty much the same shape. In terms of the hand with the back of the hand facing the camera, I want those to be pretty much the same, and then for the other hands where the front of the hand faces the camera, again, I want that to kind of match up.

So just like with mouths, you can draw as many as you want. Now the other part that we want to use for replacement animation would be eyelids, and with eyelids you just want to make sure that we have enough eyelids to animate the expressions that you want. So, for example, here I have Left Lid 01, and that's the eyelid that completely covers the eye. Now, make sure that it does cover the eye, and that basically we can just lay this over to make the eye blink. So, for example, if I did visibility, we can kind of see how we can almost animate a blink just by popping it on and off.

Now, in this case, I do have several other eyelids. I have one that's one-third closed, one that's two-thirds closed, and one that is completely closed. I can also add in lower lids if I want. And again, you can draw as many eyelids as you think you might need for animation. And again, just preparation; making sure you have what you need can be very important before you rig a character. So again, try and imagine all the different scenarios a character will be, and try and draw the body parts that will address those situations.

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