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Blog . Monster Manipulation

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Monster Manipulation

10/22/13  |  Posted by Jordan Charlton  |  Posted in Digital Creativity

As an artist, and more specifically as an illustrator, I sometimes want to be able to see my work move. One tool that I find very helpful for that would be After Effects. I find this program very useful because I can take the character I created in Photoshop straight into after After Effects! One thing I will stress is that you want to have all of the different parts that will be animated on separate layers. You can import all of your various assets into After Effects once you've finished drawing them in Photohshop and begin to prepare them to be animated.

Puppet tool monster manipulation

The Puppet Tool

Once in After Effects, you can import the Photoshop file with your character, and you want to do so as a composition. Once you have the composition you can begin to use the Puppet Pin Tool. This is a handy too that will let you add points on your character that act like the joints on your body would. You are able to grab the points and move them around in order to animate your character. To do so you would just have to go to the specific part you want to animate, for mine I had my monsters left arm selected. After that I went:

Effects > Puppet > Mesh 1 > Deform

and then the pins will be displayed for that section of your character. Click the stop watch icon, so that whenever you move a pin it will record it on the time line as a shape key. After you have it the way you want it you can move down the timeline and record a new movement as a shape key. Once you have all your movements recorded you can go back in and refine the animation.

Tutorial screenshot about the pubbet tool

Parenting Tip

Quick tip! When parenting body parts, I connected all of the body parts to my character's torso so that if I move the torso then all the other body parts will move with it. This really came in handy for me because I had to move my monster to a new location for the second half of my animation. You can also import animation right into your After Effects file.

Rendering!

When exporting the file, try to use specific settings. You want to have it set to best settings, and most of the time the best file format to export to will usually be the H.264 .mov file. Another thing to remember is good file management. Keep everything you work on in the same folder somewhere on your computer where it's easy to access. If a file is moved to a new location, After Effects will not be able to find it. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to try new things!

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