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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 let's start at the beginning where this project started. It started with conversation between myself and the creator of this project, the guy named Charlie Largent who actually created the storyboard for this. Now most animated projects that you create, especially storytelling projects, you really want to create a good storyboard and Charlie created a very good storyboard for this, it was almost identical to the original film. And I actually have this in that Exercise Files directory. In fact let's go ahead and open up Photoshop and open up that file. So I'm going to go out to my Desktop and in that Exercise Files directory, we have Monsterpiece and I have a directory out here called Storyboard.
So from there I can open Storyboard1 and Storyboard2.jpg. So once I open those you will see the storyboard files themselves. Now these were actually fairly small movies, these are actually at a 100% I believe. In fact, let's just see what these image sizes are. It's only 600x500, which is actually very small considering how many images are on here. But again he just wanted to email me a very quick sketch of what this film would be. So from this actually we created the whole film and if you notice a lot of this is very similar to the final film. There are a few differences here, one of the things is we added the cat in with the announcer here and there's a couple of other differences with the monster showing up in his underwear, which is something that we added later.
But generally the whole flow of the story and all the shots are pretty much there. So as you can see we start with the opening scene and Charlie's been nice enough to tell us what happens. We didn't quite have the dialogue at this point. But it pretty much tells us story through the pictures. And so this is basically the first storyboard here and then the second storyboard has pretty much that same look and feel. It's a smaller file. So we actually had a total of about 10 shots or something like that. So it wasn't that big, but it can certainly tell you how a storytelling project takes shape.
So from this storyboard what we had to do is we had to actually put this together to get a sense for how long this film will be. The dictate from the client was to make this approximately one minute long, as close to one-minute as we could make it. That's why it's called Minute Monsterpieces as we try and tell a monster story within a minute and that was kind of the theme of this. As I started bringing in this art from the client I needed to set up things like directories and that sort of things. And I'll tell you a little bit about our directory structure in the next lesson so let's move onto that.
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