Adobe After Effects Puppet Tool Tutorial – Puppet Master
Become a puppet master by learning how to use the Puppet Tool in Adobe After Effects! The Puppet tool allows you to add joints and animations to bring live to any static image!
How I created the blinking eyes using Motion Sketch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGZI7zf-bKQ
To follow along with the tutorial, you can download the cutout image of me right here:
I have a detailed written version of this tutorial available on my website so go check that out:
The Puppet Tool in Adobe After Effects provides you with 3 separate controls to animate your static image with ease:
1. The Puppet Pin Tool
The Puppet Pin tool allows you to place pins on your image to define where joints on your character will be. These are best placed on actual joints like elbows, knees and other parts of the body that can rotate.
You can then control click these pins and record your manual animations directly in the timeline window.
2. The Puppet Starch Tool
By default, any animation from the Puppet Pin tool will be applied by deforming a mesh overlayed onto your image. This mesh is very flexible by default which can lead to your character having a very ‘rubbery’ animation where everything bends and twists. This might not always be what you want and you can use the Puppet Starch Tool to define which areas of your ‘puppet’ are inflexible.
Simply spray the areas of your image that you want to keep stiff and the puppet tool will do the rest. Try to avoid making large areas completely stiff as there needs to be some room for the animations to occur.
3. The Puppet Overlap Tool
When working with complex character animations you often have parts of the character overlapping, e.g. the hands overlapping the body during a walk animation. You can paint depth information onto your character with the Puppet Overlap Tool. This information tells After Effects in which order to render the parts of the mesh in case of an overlap.
The Puppet Tool (and its 3 components) are a fantastic tool to bring images to live directly in Adobe After Effects and I hope you will have fun with it and experiment!
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