With Peter today we’ve been working with the puppet pin tool in After Effects making a small text animation. We’ve been learning a few techniques to what will become a mini class project that when finished, will be a credits roll. Not the best way to describe it but below is an image of what I’m talking about – where an actor or actresses’ name has been animated to something they’re best known for.

We each have to make our own before they’re all put together in a showreel.

To practice with and learn the trade we’ve been given a Harrison Ford image to animate in something he’s best known for – Indiana Jones. Below is the animation that Peter has created and its this kind of result that we’re aiming for;

Harrison Ford (Peter)

So to begin with after importing the files into After Effects, we had to animate the boulder. This was a very simple process that meant, while on frame 1, highlighting the Boulder Translate NULL layer and turning on the positioning clock then moving the timeline to frame 75. I dragged the boulder across and eventually off the ‘animation’s’ screen where another keyframe was automatically placed. In Boulder Rotate NULL layer the rotation was set to 2.7 – this means that the boulder would rotate 2.7 times as it moved across the screen.

Now the screen below shows a 2x rotation and I’m not sure why. All I can think of is that in class today I did this project on an older version of AE and on a Mac. Opening this at home to continue meant the file had to be converted to a PC file and into AE 2017 to be able to work on it where I’m presuming, something has been changed or not made the transition fully intact. I also have another issue too which I’ll go into later.

Boulder Command

Once the boulder was moving across the screen we had to animate the text using the ‘Puppet Pin Tool’, and this worked in exactly the same way as the monster a few weeks ago.

Mesh Pins

I set pins in each letter, one at a time, making sure to use the ‘Puppet Starch Tool’on the very bottom row of each letter – this is to stop them deforming and moving the entire letter after moving the pins. Frame by frame each letter pin was moved to match the boulder moving across the screen giving the effect that they were being squashed.Once they were completed I did the same process on the hatMesh Pins 2


Now came the time to animate the letters and hat back to normal. As you can see in the GIF above, we were aiming to have them spring up using a line of code, this line to be exact;

This line of code was to be placed in the Scale layer by ALT& lciking the clock next to it. I couldn’t however get this line of code to work in the animation at home – I’m not entirely sure if I’ve gotten its placement right either, I’ll have to try and find out. So what I have managed to complete today is an animation in class where the lettering gets squashed and at home, I’ve managed to fudge a pop back up. Its probably not the way Peter was going to teach us but its something. And this leads me to my second problem.

Again I’m presuming its because the file has been converted from an older version of AE and from a Mac, but I now have a glitch in the lettering itself where part way through the animation, the H & A letters spring back up twice very briefly before flattening permanently.

Harrison Ford

My knowledge of AE is far from great but I have had a look and I can’t see any reason why it should happen. I’ll have to speak to Peter about that and how to get this animating properly. Its a bit frustrating, having issues and not knowing how to fix them, or sometimes just getting lost.



So I’ve been tinkering with AE on and off over this weekend and that glitch has been sorted. Its actually sorted itself out – what once began with the above turned into some of the letters drooping upon a PC restart and turning my PC on today I’ve found that the glitches have gone entirely. Now it looks like this:

Harrison Ford 2

I’m now trying my hand at that piece of code to see if I can remember how it was implemented while I rake and see if I also wrote it down from a few lessons ago…

I’ve now placed the code in (I’m sure its the right section as it appears I don;t have the notes I thought I did) but nothing’s working – there’s a keyframe to set it off and everything. Hmmm, I think I’ve missed something or messed up. I’ll have to speak to Peter in lesson time.


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