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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.
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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