In this video, learn the production elements to watch for when you design a puppet based on photos of a human.
- Using photos can be a fast way to capture assets for a puppet. But there's still a lot of work to do, and you need to avoid certain problem areas. (upbeat music) Photos don't have to be just of a person. I've made puppets using photos of toys and props as well. And luckily, all the steps are the same. So the first thing you need to do is really play in your shoot. In early video, we talked about using storyboards, so definitely take a look at that. And make a complete list of all the assets that you're going to create.
And then when you're shooting your photos, make sure you're putting against a solid color background. It could even be white, as long as your prop or person isn't wearing white, okay? Make sure it pops out. That'll help you in Photoshop to pull the backgrounds away. You also need to track a number of things having to do with your camera. So, track the distance from your camera to your subject, and, I actually marked with an X underneath, so as I'm moving things or getting up, especially for person, I know exactly where to stand, or to have my model stand.
And I mark it down, in case you need to go back later, and do some more shooting, you have the proper distance. In fact when you're doing that, you also need to track all the other information like, where your lighting is, and what the levels of the lighting are. And you need to track the aperture of your camera. In fact, I even keep my settings on my camera all on manual. I don't use any automatic. But as far as tracking things, track as much as possible. Because what you don't want to have happen is go back and try to shoot something, and all the sudden the sizes aren't the same, when you try to composite them together, or the lighting doesn't match.
Things like that can really cause havoc to production and getting everything to look it was all shot at the same time. Another thing, when your model is acting and posing for you, have them try not to rotate their body. You know, moving the shoulder. Because if you're doing the arm, the way the arm connects to the body like this, it will look differently then if your body turns like this. Okay? So try to keep them stiff. One of the reasons you don't want to use automatic settings on your camera, such as aperture, is that colors are likely to change.
Even if everything's being shot at the same time and your lighting doesn't change, if the character puts their hand up in the foreground, it could try to balance to the color on the hand, and make the rest of the image a lot darker. That won't happen when you're on manual settings. Now if you do need to adjust the brightness or color or any photographic element of your pictures, do that as a batch process. So let's take a look at that real quick in Photoshop.
So here's a photo from a batch that I went back in to re-shoot, and it's too dark. So, I'm going to set my batch process, so in one step, two including the first one I'm showing you here, all my photos will be adjusted exactly the same way. So, I'm going to go to my actions, so I'm going to click on new action, down here, and I'll call this lighten. And then I'm going to click record. Now it's going to record every keystroke and everything I do. So I'm going to hit control L, or command L if you're on a Mac, for my levels and I'm going to adjust some of the levels here.
That's about, that looks pretty good. That's what I'm going to want. I'm going to click okay, and I'm done. So I'm going to go over here under actions and click stop. Now, I'm not going to save this image, and you'll see why in just a second. So I'm going to close this image, it'll ask if I want to save, I'm going to say no. So to batch process, everything in my folder, I'm going to go to file down to automate, and batch. I'm going to find my folder, here, sample batch, and, destination I want it to stay in the same place, and I want to save and close the image once its done.
Make sure that I'm going to play under set mark, and the action is lighting. See I've got different actions, I'm going to make sure it's lighting, that's what we just set up, and I'm going to click okay. What it's going to do, is open an image, it'll go through the settings, and it'll lighten it up. It'll go through the settings in every picture that I have in that folder and it's going to lighten them all up, exactly the same way. So you can see in here, these are the photos that we just did, and you can see they all look, the color doesn't shift at all, whatsoever between them.
And that was a really quick way to adjust all of my images. So once I get all the photos done, I'm going to go through and pull out the background. You can see this is transparent in this picture. This is one I had done a photographic character of myself. And you can see, the checkerboard pattern, means transparency, you're going to need that, and a couple things that you're going to want to do. You're going to want to make sure you've got a really clean mat, a really clean line. There's lots of different ways you could do it. You can just take your eraser and hand erase around it, and then get rid of the rest of the background, or you can use your magic wand.
Let's open up an image we'll do a couple quick tests to show you. So in order to pull a mat, you can't adjust your background, you can't pull a mat off of a background. So I copied it, so there's a few things I can do here. I can grab my magic wand, I can start grabbing the greens. Now notice it's not grabbing big areas, 'cause my tolerance is set really low, it's seven. Let's move up the tolerance to 35, and click in the green again, ah, much bigger areas.
And it won't be perfect, but it'll grab a lot. Now notice it's also getting rid of some of my pant legs. So one of the things that I can do down here, is I can go into mask mode, and you can paint in white or black, which extends or removes the mask. So black, adds to the mask. So I can just come in here and quickly paint over areas that my magic wand got rid of. Turn that back off, now you can see, that that looks a lot better, and I can just hit delete.
Control D or command D, gets rid of my selection. And I've got the background. Now again, you might want to zoom in really close, and make sure that it looks really nice and clean. Back out of all this, and I'll show you another quick way. Another trick, is your selection tool. And there's a magnetic lasso tool. And that will grab onto the line between distinct colors. So I can actually go around very quickly, and I don't have to be perfect with drawing my line, 'cause the softwares going to grab right onto the edge of the line.
Now, I drew a mat around the face. If I hit delete, the face disappears. Control Z, so what I'd have to do, is go under select, and inverse, now it gets rid of everything else. Control or command D, gets rid of my selection lines. Other things you want to make sure that you do, is have an overlap between different levels, whenever there's movement. So for instance, we know the head is going to be moving around. So I made the neck much longer. So no matter what happens as the neck moves around, you don't end up seeing a gap.
Do the same thing on legs. So notice I've got a pretty good overlap, and I usually, I try to do a curved line, when there is an overlap, and then, let's zoom in really close. Notice it's a really soft edge, it's somewhat transparent. And it really helps you blend the lines from when the characters leg or whatever, whether it's arm, leg, or neck are moving. One of the things that'll take you the longest, is when you pull out the eyeballs. Go back to our layers over here, and open up our head. So I turn off my right eye, and whenever it's marked as right, as we mentioned before, it's the characters right.
You need to paint out whatever is underneath it. So I just wanted a shadow area, so when the eye sits on it, you know, and when the eye blinks, whatever I have it do, everything's going to look good. Same thing when we're talking about eyebrows. I painted out the eyebrow, but notice, I have a really fuzzy edge around the eyebrow. That way, it blends in perfectly, especially as it moves.
Anger to happy, and you'll see it in the puppet. It blends perfectly, 'cause it's got a really soft edge to it. As you can see here on my eyebrows, and my mouth, 'cause the mouth is a large area in the lower jaw, It's all blurred around the edges of the mouth and around the eyebrows so that it matches perfectly on to the face and it's not distracting. Using photos can help you create interesting and detailed puppets. And when you know what to watch out for, and track all settings, your production will run really smoothly. (upbeat music)
- Creating a list of production needs
- How the varied styles of animation impact production
- Creating usable digital puppets
- Working with drawn characters, objects, and CG characters
- Adding value to the look of your production
- Exploring various audio recording options
- Organizing files for production, backup, and transport
- Using animation cycles
- Building and editing a scene
- Troubleshooting issues
- Tricks for enhancing your production
- Post-production and delivery