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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've got the first shot out of the way, let's go ahead and move on to the next scene and that scene is Shot07. It's the shot where we have the monster carrying the girl in the scene. In fact let's go ahead and play that for you. So you can see we have got a lot of things going on. We have got the monster who is running. We have got the girl screaming, waving her arms, bouncing around and then at the end we have got a real big zoom in into her mouth which also caused a little bit of problems for us.
I want to show you how this is setup so first of all let's go ahead and open the project so I'm going to go ahead and go to Open Project and we are in our Desktop/ Exercise Files/Monsterpiece/Afx- After Affects. Shot0703 is actually our final version of this shot. Now let's see what we have and then we will back up and show you how to get there so we have got actually a couple of compositions now. We created this using what are called sub-compositions so for example, we created the monster separately.
In fact I can go through these layers here in their main composition, which is Frankenstein07 Version 3. We have got obviously a background layer here. Then we have got a Frank layer or the monster layer and that's just him running through the scene. In fact he doesn't even have any arms but it's basically just him running through the scene. Then on top of that we put the bride and you know obviously his hands are attached to her and so we actually have 3 separate compositions so this is our girl. And in fact what we have done here is and if we look at the girl composition, that's what she looks like.
Frank he looks like this. This is just a run cycle and then with her arms just waving I believe, or is that just her arms? OK. Anyway so we have got a lot of different things in this composition so before we actually show you how to animate this let me show you a little bit about the Photoshop files that we got. And what we actually brought into After Effects. So I'm going to go ahead into Photoshop here and I'm going to open, let's start with the Desktop.
Let me go to Exercise Files/Monsterpiece and then what we got from the client is always in our from client directory and so we actually have two. We have 7 and 7 revised. We can just open 7 revised, which actually is the most current version. Because what 7 revised is I sent it back and had him break it up into layers. And so he just went through him and gave me bigger versions of the bride, for one thing, because she had to come close to the camera so I wanted a bigger version of her head, some mouths that were bigger that we actually wound up using and then of course the monster and the bride.
Now what he did here was he gave me a ton of layers. Now some of this I used, some of it I didn't. And you know it just depends on how you want to set it up but it's always nice to have more assets than you need so he just gave me everything he could possibly give me. So we have got a lot of stuff. We have got a bride tongue and so we have got all of these different pieces. Once I had that I actually created my own file. Before I open that file, let me show you what he did.
He actually created some nice groups here for this. What I did was I collapsed those groups when I created my actual file. Let's go ahead and open the actual Photoshop file that I used for production so actually I again go to my Desktop, Exercise Files/Monsterpiece and we keep all of our stuff in the Assets directory under PSD for Photoshop. So this particular file I saved as 07 Version 3. As you can tell we actually went through 3 versions of this shot before we got it right, which is fine.
That's part of production. So I'm reading in that thing, this file and when we open this file you will see some of the layers are turned on and turned off but in fact here we can turn on the bride face. We have got some big eyes here. So basically we have got a ton of things here that we may or may not use but I have actually turned them off at this point. That mouth, that big bride face here, along with her mouthes and noses and all that sort of stuff.
And then also basically bigger versions of the bride. So we have a whole big version of the bride, a little version of the bride and Frankenstein and all that. I kind of wanted that bigger version of the bride because she was going to become getting really close to the camera and I didn't know how big I could zoom her in before she started to break up. The great thing about this though is that if we look at the image of this, this is a 2K image. So actually I can zoom in to 640x480 which is our output resolution, and actually get pretty close to her so I actually didn't wind up needing the bigger version of the bride but it was always good to have.
Anyways so those are the basics of what we had in terms of assets so let's go on to the next lesson and I will show you how to set those up in After Effects and go ahead and separate on all the different elements into groups and start animating them.
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