Yay Peter’s back! Yay Friday afternoons are fun again! Yay something’s working!
Well I say working, it is working, just working on my home PC. I’m sure I’m sure I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, Macs are the devil spawn. They should be erased out of existence. I couldn’t do any work on Friday afternoon the mac was completely unresponsive, wouldn’t let me onto the college’s network to get the files I needed, locked up and crashed every time I tried to save something after passing my memory stick to a friend who’d helped me out by getting the files I needed and finally, (and this is the kicker), it managed to write protect a USB stick that has no write protection on it. And I can’t get rid of said write protection to use my stick again. That’s 32GB of perfectly fine storage that’s now utterly useless. Yes its a rant, there it is.
So I went home armed with the knowledge and a promise that I’d create something on my own Pc which reflects the skills I’ve learnt today. What I was surprised with is how easy it was to remember and how simple and effective it was to get results – my questionable animation skills aside.
To begin with, we imported a couple of files – a background and a hairy monster. We imported the background so it was the lower layer before selecting the ‘pin’ tool from the upper control bar in After Effects.
Selecting the pin tool allowed us to stick virtual pins into the character which would act as hinges when we came to animate (they’re shown as a couple of yellow dots above). Pins were placed in between the monster’s eyes, under the chin, belly, both knees, both feet and both wrists. Couldn’t help but think of voodoo doing this.
Once the pins were in, we selected the either individually, shift selecting certain ones, or dragging the mouse cursor around the screen to select multiple at once. With the pins selected it was just a matter of hovering the cursor over a pin, holding ‘Control’ so the icon turned into a watch and dragging the image to the desired position. Whenever a movement like this took place, After Effects recorded the movements to create a little video.
Then it simply became matter of altering your existing movements as desired and/or following those up with new. With a few movements I made a monster twerk. Check him out, he’s loving it!
For my next trick I decided to make him dance a little differently. This time I wanted the arm of the monster to cross in front of the body but the arm automatically went behind him. To fix this, holding down the left mouse button over the pin tool brought up further options and it was the ‘Puppet Overlap Tool‘ that was needed. This turned on the mesh of the monster and in here you could decide whereabouts the mesh would need to be altered. This simply involved selecting which points of the mesh intersected and placing a blue pin on them which After Effects would then fill in the surrounding area. This area would then appear over the top of the image allowing the arms to be in front.
(Yes I am aware of how that top left image looks. )
Then, switching back to the ‘Puppet Pin Tool‘ allowed me to move the pins as described above for anther beautiful animation.
I should also mention that I couldn’t remember how to make the arms appear over the front of the image so I had to Google help and I found it here:
And that’s what I didn’t manage to create in lesson but took me less than half an hour to do at home. Gawd bless PC’s.
Made ‘ya look.