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After Effects - Learn Motion Graphic Design

Character animation using the Puppet pin tool

Daniel Walter Scott || VIDEO: 46 of 53

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Hey there, in this video we're going to animate a character. So the character's been drawn in Illustrator, and we're going to use something called the 'Puppet Pin' tool to animate him. So we're going to bring him in, double click, 'Project'. Let's go down to 'Puppet Tool'. We're going to make a 'Comp' from it. Because it happens to be a good size to start with, we're going to match that size. It's 5 seconds long, awesome. And what we're going to do-- it's white because that's the last thing I made in the last tutorial. We made the background white, and it will keep remembering that.

So, what we need to do is-- in other videos we've gone through and made-- hit the little sunshine button, which means the vector, we scale it, and it all looks very nice, but when using the Puppet Pin tool we need to leave that one alone for the moment. Grab the 'Pin' tool, this one here. Click and hold down if it's stuck on something else, grab the 'Pin' tool.

We'll look at all three of these, but let's start with the 'Pen' tool. And what we want to do is, I'm going to zoom in-- and I pin him once in his hand, once in his arm pit, both sides. I'm going to pin him in his knees, he doesn't really have knees. Two feet, and maybe in the moustache. and once in the hat. How it pins in there, it's up to you. What we're going to do is, give him a wiggle. Watch this, click, hold, and drag. Hey! If there's any bits that are moving, and you don't want it to move, we can play with the 'Pin' tool. So we can do it, maybe-- I'm happy with how it's—

So this is how to animate a character, so when you're drawing him, you have him with the arms spread, so you can do some bits with him. If they're obviously overlapped, it's going to be hard to move them around. So whenever you are drawing or illustrating, make sure you draw them kind of spread-eagle, so you can then animate them afterwards. One of the nice things we can do is, animate it all the time.

So to do that, what we're going to do is, we're going to click and drag this one, but while we're dragging it, before we start dragging it actually, is we're going to hold down the 'Command' key on the keyboard, or the 'Control' key, if you're on a PC, so hold that down, then start dragging, and give it a wiggle. So I'm going to get him to scratch his belly, and then maybe scratch his mouth. Oops we ran out of time, that's okay. Now we're going to hit 'space bar' to play it back, and look-- except he's not really scratching his belly, he's almost scratching his bum, but it's okay, we can play around with that. So that's how you animate stuff all the time. It's quite cool, right?

We're going to get our 'Play Head' back to the beginning here. Leave it the same as these different ones. We could hold down 'Command'. So, 'Play Head' at the beginning, hold down 'Command' on my Mac, or you can do 'Control' if you're on a PC, and then, you can get him to dance. Cool. Back to the beginning. Hold down the 'Command' key, and I'm going to get this one to dance as well. Back to the beginning, hit 'space bar', and we got a dancing, bum scratching monster. Next thing we're going to look at is 'Pin Depth'. So at the moment, if I-- back to the beginning.

We've used the 'Pen' tool, let's use the 'Overlap' tool. It's not 'Pin Depth', that's what I call it in Photoshop, sorry. So we're going to put a couple of pins, we're going to put one in his hand. Kind of roughly the same sort of place as the last one. So I'm going to put him just off a little bit so it's easy to see. I'm going to put in maybe two pins there. What happens is, if I click on this first one now-- so I put in a couple of pins, because that's where I want it to actually, say above, and scratch his belly, not his bum. So I want this one selected, and this is where it stays in front. They're all at 50% at the moment. It will actually all be wherever the last thing you did was. So if yours might be at 100%, that's fine.

So, what we're going to do is, couple of things, extend, drag it out. Can you see the white coming out? Yours is probably white to start with by default, because mine's messed around before, so it's gone down. So you have this white, go around. It just means, how much is this pin going to affect. You can see, it's kind of creeping up his arms now, that means, his arm is going to be potentially, can you see, in front. I might move him up to like, doesn't really matter, I want to make it '150'. So it's quite far at the front, now I want these guys to be back, so I'm going to hold 'Shift' and click both of these. What I want to do is, drag up the extent, can you see?

So I don't want it kind of go too far, but I just want to make sure that this guy, this area that it's effecting, it's going to be behind. You can drag it negative, doesn't matter. As long as one guy's in front and back, so it could be 1 percentage between them. I'm just dragging mine to make sure it's black, means behind. Just a good example of colors. Now when we play it, watch this, when he plays-- down here, hit 'space bar'. Let me just click off in the background with the black arrow. You can see now, he's the front. So I made that go in front, that's not his back, now he's scratching his belly. So that is the-- it's called the 'Overlap' tool.

Now we're going to go to 'Starch' tool. The 'Starch' tool-- at the moment, everything is quite fluid. With the 'Starch' tool, what I can do is, I can spread it there, and stiffen up this bit. So I can stiffen the extent, make it up, and then I can make the amount-- how much stiff it is, it's like starching a shirt. It's going to be a bit stiff across here, and instead of being so bendy, it just means, now when I go off and I click off in the background using the black tool, watch, it's just going to be-- can you see, it's just kind of from the elbow there rather than the whole bit. You can starch anything that you don't want to move. Say these legs here, we danced around-- I'm going to go back to the beginning. Grab my 'Starch' tool, I'm going to spray his leg. This one here is going out too far, so I'm going to break this extenting, can you see? This comes in, just not too far out, a little bit out. It's quite stiff, but now his foot's going to move, but you can see-- let me check it out. You can see, it's kind of not moving. This one here is going, bending all the way around, but this one here is nice and stiff.

All right, so that is animating inanimate object with a bunch of the 'Pin' tools. All right, see you in the next video.