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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
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Putting the girl in his arms


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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters

with George Maestri

Video: Putting the girl in his arms

So now, let's finish the run. Essentially, what we have is we have Frank doing his cycle and what we have to do now is attach the bride to him and make him run through the scene and of course, what he is doing is he is actually scaling up as he moves towards the screen. And this is also a little bit tricky because he is actually running in perspective so let me show you how we do this. I'm going to go ahead and open a project Shot 07_00C and here it is and it's basically just him running.
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  1. 2m 26s
    1. Welcome
      1m 30s
    2. How to use the exercise files
      56s
  2. 24m 25s
    1. Project overview
      3m 12s
    2. Original storyboard
      2m 36s
    3. Organizing production directories
      3m 56s
    4. Using a rough soundtrack for shot timing
      1m 58s
    5. Creating a Leica reel in Premiere Pro
      7m 17s
    6. Tracking projects
      3m 1s
    7. Creating art in Photoshop for After Effects
      2m 25s
  3. 47m 12s
    1. Segmenting Photoshop characters
      7m 54s
    2. Importing Photoshop files into After Effects
      3m 55s
    3. Linking character parts
      5m 25s
    4. Animating blinks using Opacity
      8m 19s
    5. Animating the arm
      9m 57s
    6. Animating the needle and thread and the monster's hand
      11m 42s
  4. 54m 9s
    1. Introduction to subcompositions
      5m 32s
    2. Setting up nested compositions
      4m 29s
    3. Animating a run cycle pt. 1: Basic leg motion
      8m 45s
    4. Animating a run cycle pt. 2: Overlap and follow-through
      5m 4s
    5. Putting the girl in his arms
      8m 24s
    6. Animating a screaming girl pt. 1: The arms
      9m 49s
    7. Animating a screaming girl pt. 2: The head
      12m 6s
  5. 32m 5s
    1. The basics of the Puppet tool
      5m 37s
    2. Creating bounce with the Puppet tool
      5m 55s
    3. Dig cycles pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 9s
    4. Dig cycles pt. 2: Shovel
      4m 54s
    5. Dig cycles pt. 3: Arms and body
      11m 3s
    6. Dig cycles pt. 4: Finalizing
      2m 27s
  6. 47m 32s
    1. Creating a monster pt. 1: Introduction
      2m 35s
    2. Creating a monster pt. 2
      10m 42s
    3. Creating a monster pt. 3
      12m 34s
    4. Creating a monster pt. 4
      4m 39s
    5. Creating a monster pt. 5: Finalizing
      4m 22s
    6. Creating smoke and bubble cycles
      7m 34s
    7. Creating a dry brush effect
      5m 6s
  7. 23m 9s
    1. The basics of lip syncing
      3m 8s
    2. Setting up mouths for animation with time mapping
      7m 21s
    3. Animating the lips
      6m 23s
    4. Animating the head and body
      6m 17s
  8. 14m 54s
    1. Rendering with After Effects
      4m 4s
    2. Editing with Premiere Pro
      4m 9s
    3. Final output and audio
      6m 41s
  9. 10s
    1. Goodbye
      10s

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After Effects CS3: Animating Characters
4h 6m Intermediate Jun 18, 2008

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Organizing with storyboards, rough soundtracks, and Leica reels Creating, importing, and linking segmented character parts from Photoshop Setting up nested compositions to animate a run cycle Creating smoke and bubble cycles, and other special effects Animating lips, heads, and bodies with time mapping Editing and creating final output with Premiere Pro
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Software:
After Effects
Author:
George Maestri

Putting the girl in his arms

So now, let's finish the run. Essentially, what we have is we have Frank doing his cycle and what we have to do now is attach the bride to him and make him run through the scene and of course, what he is doing is he is actually scaling up as he moves towards the screen. And this is also a little bit tricky because he is actually running in perspective so let me show you how we do this. I'm going to go ahead and open a project Shot 07_00C and here it is and it's basically just him running.

Now, the first thing we need to do is we need to attach the bride. We need to connect all of these things together. We have two compositions, one for the bride, one for Frankenstein, and we need to connect them together. So, the first thing I'm going to do is just select this Bride layer and then I'm just going to just parent that to Frank. So, that way when we move him around, she goes along for the ride and we can certainly move her around a little bit. And I think I want to rotate her a little bit because she is not quite in his arms the way I would like.

Here we go, something like that. We will play a little bit more as we get to her. I just want to make sure that she is kind of in the scene the way that we want. Now, let's go ahead and take Frank and move him through the screen. In the original scene, he starts way off on the horizon and then he comes in so that her mouth fills the screen. So let's go ahead and first of all just start moving him and get kind of a rough motion path and then we will kind of put his running motion in there. So, first thing that I'm going to do is I'm just going to set some positions here for Position, Scale and Rotation, and I'm going to go ahead and scale him down.

I'm going to scale him down about 25% because he's going to start way off up here. So somewhere around there. Let's drag him down a little bit more. I'm trying to see where his foot is here. So somewhere around there we're going to start him. Now, this whole shot is 150 frames and he only runs until about Frame 64 because we have only looped his feet twice so we have an extra frame about frame 60 or so.

So he doesn't run for that long so he needs to be pretty much offscreen by Frame 70 or so, and then from Frame 70 or so up to Frame 150 is where her mouth comes into the screen. So I'm just going to scrub forward here and I'm just going to set a keyframe somewhere up around here say Frame 50 or 54, somewhere around there, Frank layer, move him in, and I'm going to scale him up quite a bit. I can go around 300% or so and again, I want to get him pretty much so that her mouth is ready to explode.

So, we can start going down the screen there. And you can see now we have kind of got him running pretty much through the scene here, in fact, if I zoom out just a little bit, we will kind of see what we have got here. He is coming in and then she's screaming. But this run doesn't look all that great. Because when you run, you do bounce up and down. So I'm going to zoom in just a bit here and move over so we can see the edge of this.

So, as he comes in, I'm going to start making him bounce up and down. So as he- Let's go ahead and start making him move up and down, so as he comes in, he comes down a little bit. So basically what happens is when he runs, he kind of tosses himself in the air so his high point is going to be right around here. So again, he is going to come up and then he is going to come down, going to come up.

Now, some of the scaling, I think I actually need to scale him down a little bit. Somewhere around there. Maybe even move him back a little bit, there we go. So you can see now we are getting kind of this nice bouncy motion. Again, he's going to go low and then he's going to go up, and he's going to go high. So again, you could see I'm getting this kind of bouncy motion as he comes through. This is not totally tweaked.

Then what we need to do just kind of bring him offscreen and start to bring her into center. Then, from here to the end of the scene, she needs to basically really, really zoom up. I think I zoomed up almost 2000%. Because we're going straight down her throat, maybe something like that.

This is totally rough. And again, what you want to do is you want to make sure you do a lot of RAM playbacks to make sure that you get the motion exactly right. Now, I'm going through this pretty quickly and I could probably go through and tweak just a little bit more, but you get to hang of it. Basically, what we are doing here is as he runs, we want him to bounce in time with those steps. Now, the girl here also needs to start bouncing as well.

So, one of the things I want to do is as he goes up, I'm going to select the bride and I'm going to bring her down a little bit. So let's take a look at what we have got here. In fact, I'm going to start here. So I'm going to select the Position. Let's just do Position, Scale and Rotation here. And so from here, I'm actually going to move her up. So as he moves up, she goes down; as he moves down, she kind of bounces up.

So again, we are going to make her kind of bouncing and again, I want to make sure that she doesn't go exactly with him, that she kind of lags behind him. So here I have got a keyframe here. I'm actually going to move her keyframe back a frame or two. So, that way, I have got a keyframe here. 1, 2. Let's just make that 2 frame lag behind him. So there goes up to the top. Now, because she is attached to him, we can actually cycle this.

You can actually just take these keyframes and copy and paste them. And again, I'm looking here at this frame of his position and I'm going a little bit behind that because she is going to drag behind him. But there is a point where she stops bouncing because we really need to get her into scene, right there is where we have got a little bit of a bump there but we can certainly smooth that out.

So, the most important thing is getting them going through the scene, we can certainly tweak that. So let's go ahead and just do a quick little playback there. This is not real time but you see how this works. Great. One of the things I also did with the mouth was I scaled the mouth and actually moved the mouth to make sure that it went completely black as we went into her mouth. So, we can do that in the next section which is animating the girl and her mouth.

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