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Adobe Illustrator CC - Advanced Training

How to use the Puppet Warp Tool in Adobe Illustrator CC

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, welcome to this video about the Puppet Warp Tool in Adobe Illustrator. It's used for a couple of good things. One of them is this, where we get to kind of manipulate Type and bend it around so it fits into shapes, but also make monsters dance. Very, very important and useful technique. All right, maybe he wants to wave too. Let's go and do the tutorial. Yay! Let's get started. 

Open up the 'Puppet Pin' file from your 'Exercise Files'. We're going to select on something. Now for this to work, it needs to be a vector file. Most things in Illustrator are. If you want to do it with say, JPEG, pixels, or raster images, you can do in Photoshop, there's a Puppet Pin Tool there as well. There's one in After Effects as well if you want to animate it. This is the tool we want, the Puppet Pin Tool. You click on him once, you need at least two. In this case, probably a few of them. You'll need to probably experiment with him because once you put them in, if I grab the tail, and wiggle it, it's cool, huh. I love-- I don't know. Pretty cool. Organic, okay. You can see, he's kind of—

See the waves moving. It's meant to be water. You see that wiggling around. If you don't want that to happen you might go-- okay, I'm going to undo that. Then I'm going to put in a pin there, and maybe a pin there. The more pins you have the kind of more it doesn't want to move around that. You get more control, you can see, it's not moving the whale, and over here, the tail is not moving that. So just play around with what you need. How many pins you need, if you want to get rid of pins, say you don't want too many, click on them, delete on your keyboard. 

Other things you can do is-- we're just going to pin this guy, so you need to select him first. I'm going to grab my 'Puppet Pin Tool'. One of the things, is you do get artefacts, it's just part of this process. You might have to tidy them up afterwards with the Direct Selection Tool. I'm just pinning it at a few places, and you can see, down here, see this line here has kind of come apart. That's kind of pointing a little bit. There's no real way of kind of fixing that on the fly. Just get the things where you want it. Change your adjustments, and you might have to go and do some fixing up afterwards. It's just a really good way of like, kind of recurling this. 

Say I don't want that kind of perfect circle look, I'm kind of just adjusting this. Other options is, with him selected-- there's this kind of dotted line around the outside. If you click, hold, and drag that, it's the rotation rather than the movement. All right, you, rotation. All very cool. Now by default I-- well not by default, we're going to show you the Mesh. I should have that on by default. I turn it off when I don't find it that helpful. Just shows you kind of like where it's distorting this thing. Turn that on and off. 

Let's have a look at this one, because this raises some other, well not issues, but this guy here, let's say we're drawing a character, and it's best to draw them obviously arms off their body, and legs, so that you can later on adjust them. Gives you more options. What we're going to do is select this whole guy, and we are going to grab the 'Pen Tool'. We're going to look at Pin Depth. Let's click on arms. This guy here, this guy is the best guy to do the animation because-- I'm going to put him back. 

One of the other thing is, say I want to move him in, and scratch his belly, but at the moment he's scratching his bum, right? Because this hand is going below this. In other programs they've got something called Pin Depth, we don't have that in Illustrator yet. Probably will happen, there might be an option up here that says Pin Depth, or over here, in future versions. It doesn't at the moment, so I'm going to undo, put him back. It's nothing to do with when the Pen Tool replaces, it's all to do with the Layer order. 

What I can do is grab my Direct Selection Tool, click off, click on just this hand here, and I can bring him to the front. You can use your shortcut, or go, 'Arrange', 'Bring to Front'. It's all to do with that. You can mess around lots more in your Layers panel figuring out. Here's this guy, he had all his bits and pieces, if I drag him up or down, that might be just too painful, but now if I click on him, and grab my 'Puppet Pin Tool', and I go… he's scratching his belly. Awesome, huh? 

Last but not least, let's look at doing a kind of-- I'm not a character animator, I do more graphic design kind of work with it. Remember, in an earlier tutorial, we grabbed this and this, and we make sure this is in front, we selected both of them and we went 'Object', 'Envelope Distort', we said 'Make the Top Object'. And it kind of worked, right? You're like, "I switched that Fill out over here." So that's where it gets quite cool, right? I can select on this, I am going to grab my 'Pen Tool'. Do I need to expand it first? I do. So with it selected, go to 'Object' go to 'Envelope Distort', and go to 'Expand'. So now it's just bits and pieces. What I might do as well is I want that heart back. How can I go back in time and get the heart? I don't know. Should have left the heart there. 'Object', this guy up here will release object. 'Envelope Distort', and we'll say 'Release', please. So now they're two separate pieces. I'm using this just as a visual guide. 

So this top one now-- can I click on it? There it is there. So if I go to 'Object', and now if I expand him. I've taken the long road. What I might do is give myself just a stronger Fill so we can see what we're doing. Now grab the 'Puppet Pin Tool', and what I'll do is just give it some kind of rough pins. Make sure I'm clicking on the right path. I'm going to pin it there. Pin it there, pin it there. I'm clicking on the actual vector, not in this no man's land here because that won't work. There's a couple of places I don't want to move him from. I want to do that step here. I'm guessing now where I want all these pins. 

So I want that there to stay, because it's kind of looking nice. It's this kind of a group here that I need. I'm going to bring that out, put another pin there, just tidy it in. You can see how you can kind of get some really nice-- well, I guess-- you see, the appearance. Better control. The other option, well what we used to do is some of these Liquefy tools. They're cool, but they're not as much. You can't have as much control. So goodbye, gray fox, and it's more like a heart. 

All right, your class exercise is to go and play with this guy. Set him up in some different poses, but before you go and do that I wanted to show you how it works in something like After Effects because, let's say we take this fella and we stick him into our libraries. I want to put him into my library. There you go, buddy. I'm only using my After Effects, because the Puppet tool has, I get extra ingredient in After Effects which is, you can animate it, whereas in Illustrator it's kind of flat. We'll illuminate it a little bit in the next set of videos, but check this out. I'm going to After Effects, just making it default comp, nothing special. In here, my libraries, where's my monster? Here he is. I'm going to make him a little-- actually I want to make him bigger. I'll make him a bit bigger. 

Remember, when you're scaling stuff up in After Effects you need to click on that little button. So the vector comes and gets rescaled. Anyway, you can see here, it's the exact same icon, the Puppet Pin Tool. Exact same principle. Click on it a few times, it looks slightly different, the yellow dots. The nice thing about it is I can do the same thing as I did in Illustrator, except there's a shortcut, if you hold down the 'Command' key on a Mac, or 'Control' key on a PC, so I'm holding it down. I'm clicking the 'Pin' first, then hold down the 'Command' key. Then, can you see the timeline in the bottom go, you can kind of see the yellow line. I am—

It looks kind of crazy, but watch this, if I bring my Play head back to the beginning and hit 'return' on my keyboard, no, it's 'space bar' on my keyboard, hit 'space bar' on my keyboard. Look at him go. Every time I-- I've made this guy dance thousands of times, but always makes me smile. You can get back to the beginning, and say, I need the hand too. With him selected, I'm going to hold 'Command' key down. See this little stopwatch kind of icon appears. Now clicking, holding, and dragging, and scratch bum time. Or waving time. Back to the beginning, hit 'space bar'. That's just the quick version. I'm going to jump back into Illustrator. Now I've got a course on how to do that properly with the Puppet Tool. We look at Puppet Depth, Mesh, and all sort of starching stuff. So check out that After Effects course. That one in particular is the After Effects and Motion Graphics course. 

One last thing before we go, there's going to be times where we've got this Mesh, and we don't want it anymore. We want to get rid of the pins, and you can do that by going to 'Object', and just go to 'Expand Appearance', that kind of gets rid of everything. It's now just a regular old shape. 

All right my friends, that is the Puppet Pin Tool. I hope you enjoyed it, and yes, I'd love to see what you do with this guy. Make sure you share it with me on this site here, and on social media. Let's go into the next video.