Join Angie Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Animating the Overlap tool, part of After Effects: 2D Character Animation.
Okay. So, we're now going to have a look at the overlap tool. And we're in Overlap.ap project which you can find in the puppet tools folder. And what we're going to do here is start to control how these arms move in front or behind the body. Now, you'll notice that one of them's moving behind, the other one is moving in front. But we're also getting this really mushy intersection that we need to fix. So, with the overlap tool, we can determine how After Effects deals with this instead of leaving it to do a best guess.
Now, what you want to do is, first of all, select the layer, and then, go up to the toolbar and click and hold on the puppet pin tool and you'll see that you'll have the choice of free tools. I want you to choose the puppet overlap tool. Now, the puppet overlap tool, when your layer is selected, will show you an outline of your original character, represented by this gray line here. Now, notice that my character has changed position from its original position. So, the pixels representing the character, if I just switch on my transparency grid, are actually outside of that outline.
Now, you want to be careful, if you want to control this arm. We want to put overlap tool point on it, so that we can control whether it moves behind or in front. But it's important that you don't click on the hand here in terms of its pixels, but over here. And this is its original position. So, what you want to do is click on the hand and that will place this white kind of a highlight over the hand. Now, at the moment, it's just over the hand. So, at the moment, we're only controlling the in front value, if you like, of the hand as far as that concerned. So, if we want to control more of the arms, so we're actually controlling up here as well, you can click and drag the point and move it or what you can do is you can adjust the extent settings.
And the extent settings will grow the area that is being controlled. So, even if I drag this down here to the hand, I can extend it up the arm, so that its whole arm is now moving in front of the body. So, basically, you're saying, do you want to move it in front or behind? We're saying in front. And the extent value is saying, well, how much of it do you want in front. And we want the whole arm. Now, if we select this one, so I'm going to click on here to create a new overlap tool. And you'll notice now that both hands are moving in front of the body and that's 'cause both have got an in front setting. So, if you want that, if you want them always to be in front, you can just leave it as that and both hands will always be in front of the body. But I might want this one to be behind the body. So, what I can do is change this one to minus 50. And now, that one will always be behind and that one will always be in front. Now, you can even animate between that, so you could say, okay. At this point, I want the hands to be behind.
And the thing that we're going to animate, if we go into our mesh settings, close up the form and open overlap, is the in front setting. So, we set a keyframe for in front. And then, we move to the point where we want it to change. Okay. So, let's keep it there. So, we'll add another keyframe there. And then, at this point, we'll maybe have it changing. So, it's important that you have it changing where there's a crossover. So, we'll may be moved to where there's a crossover point that we can use. So, around about there. And then, we'll change it to in front.
So, what we can do is just copy this key frame and paste it into this value. And do the same copy this keyframe, select this value, paste it in. So, we've now got the moving in front, and then behind. Okay, now, obviously you would keyframe it, so that it doesn't just suddenly jump like that. But you'll see how you can switch from one being in front, to one being behind. And create that kind of seesaw dance there, where he's moving one hand in front, the other hand behind.
So, that's the overlap tool and you can have lot's of fun animating that and creating different effects, by choosing how the layers overlap. You can, maybe, also choose the feet and decide how they overlap as they cross each other.
- Best practices for importing source files
- Sorting and interpreting footage
- Animating using traditional layer-style animation
- Creating a grouping structure for body parts
- Animating with the Puppet tool
- Creating stop-frame-style animation
- Setting up control layers
- Animating using time remapping
- Exporting files for Flash
- Making movies via the Render Queue