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In this course, Trish and Chris Meyer introduce a series of creative tools inside Adobe After Effects. The centerpiece is Paint, where Trish demonstrates how to use the Brush, Eraser, and Clone Stamp tools to draw on a layer, remove portions of it, or repeat elements around a composition. These tools can be used for artistic purposes as well as to repair problem areas in footage. Chris shows off the Puppet tools for distorting layers, and the incredible Roto Brush, introduced in After Effects CS6, which allows you to separately define foreground and background elements so that you can replace backgrounds and selectively add special effects.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com library.
I am going to quickly clean up my display by closing the Smoother panel and if you like, you could go ahead and Close All to close your other compositions. There are two more Puppet Pin tools we haven't experimented with yet. One is called the Overlap tool. So if you have the files, go to the Comps folder and double-click 05-Puppet-overlap*starter. I'll click the Puppet effect to see my pins inside the User Interface panel and I'll show you a little bit of a problem with Puppet tool. Initially, this is flat artwork and After Effects does not know if any of these pixels are supposed to be in front or behind other pixels.
For example, if grab his pencil and drag it upwards, you will see that it crosses his neck, but if I drag it downwards, you will see it actually goes behind his hip and leg. Well, what if I wanted the opposite, what if I wanted to pass in front of his hip here? To do so, I need to give sections of this mesh priority in terms of how in front or how behind those pixels should be. I am going to undo to get back to my original position and just to cut down some of these odd distortion, I am going to select my Puppet Pin tool and add another Puppet Pin, right here at his bowtie, just to go ahead and cut down on the amount of distortion, while I am trying to do this bending and overlapping.
Now I am going to go back up to the Puppet tool and select the Puppet Overlap tool. This is how I set those in front or behind priorities. Puppet Overlap pins are completely different than the animation pins you have been creating so far. So to set priorities, you basically need to create a brand-new set of pins. After Effects is showing me the outline of the original undistorted character. Again, After Effects freezes the mesh based on the outline when you create your first pin, that's why it's showing me this for reference and I need to place my Overlap pins inside this original outline, not wherever the character is distorted to now.
In this case, I'll place it in the middle of this pencil. I'll click once and you will see a section of it has turned light white. Basically, those triangles of my mesh have been given an In Front priority, in this case 50%. If you've not set any Overlap pins, After Effects assumes that all of the mesh triangles are priority zero. So by making something in front 50% that means those pixels or mesh triangles should be in front of those that are zero.
However, only those mesh triangles that are highlighted, get this overlap value. To make sure the entire pencil as well as his arm all get the same priority, don't go creating more pins. That creates an unnecessary amount of work. I am going to undo, back to my original pin, make sure it's selected and scrub its Extent value. I am going to do so until the whole arm and pencil are encased. If I have a little bit trouble where it's creeping into his body one place, but not the other, you can actually move these pins after the fact and see what influence that has on the position of the Overlap pins.
I am going to go ahead back this off to were its just the arm and none of the body. I am going to return to the Selection tool to clean up my user interface and see just the rendered results. I still passed in front of the upper body like I did before, but now I passed in front of the hips and legs which is a change over the way it behaved before. And again so you can see the difference, I am going to put the pencil, in front of his thigh, go into the Timeline to the Overlap pins, twirl that open, twirl open Overlap 1 and change the In Front value.
If I change it to a negative value, less than zero, you will see that pencil and arm have popped behind his hips. I drag it to a positive value, it pops in front. If my extent was too small, you will see that I lose parts of the arm and pencil behind his body. That's why we had it set to the entire length of the arm and pencil, so that all of those triangles inside the mesh would now be rendered in front of those with priority zero. You can create multiple pins. For example, I'll drag this arm to where it's now overlapping the bowtie as well.
Let's say I want the bowtie to come in front of the arm, but I don't want to change the arm's behavior where it comes in front of other parts of the body. Well to do that, I can give the bowtie its own overlap pins. I'll reselect the Puppet Overlap tool, look for the outline of the original shape, click somewhere in the middle of the bowtie. I see that the last value for extent that I set is actually a bit too big, it's covering a part of his body as well and I back that down. I see that I am losing part of the tip of his bowtie.
I'll just pick up and move that pin, so it's more centered and balance the Extent value. What if I decided the tie should be behind the arm after all? Well, I just need to change its Overlap value. The arm's In Front value is 20%, so I need to set the Overlap value for the bowtie to say 10% and as soon as I do so, you will see the tie has now popped behind the arm. I am going to back to Selection tool so this renders more cleanly. Pen comes in front of the body, still goes in front of the thigh as well.
By setting up overlap regions on different parts of a character and animating the In Front values, you can go ahead and make different appendages pop in front of or behind the rest of the body. For example, you might go ahead and swing once in front of the body, animate back out here, reduce the In Front value and have it swing behind the body, come back out again. So the Overlap tool is really handy to create a lot more complex interaction inside one individual flat layer incased by the puppet's mesh.
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