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T354 Week 14 - Spring 2015

Announcements/Reality Check:

  • Puppet Practice today
  • Next Tuesday we'll have a Final Quiz review session.
  • The Final Quiz will be Thursday of next week (4/30). It is cummulative and will cover material from the first two quizzes (Use them to study) and the AE content we've covered since then. It's form will be similar to the other quizzes.
  • The Spring 2015 Final Project Review time (assigned by registrar) is 5 - 7 PM Tuesday, May 5th.

Tuesday Agenda:

  • Turn in & review homework
  • AE Tips & Techniques

Please place your homework in your week 14 folder.

[Review Work]

Final Projects

Please remember that the Pre-Production component of your Final Project (proposal and script/storyboard) is worth 20 points. You've already submitted your proposal. Thursday is the deadline to turn in your storyboard/scripts or other pre-production materials.

It is imperative that you add your own design flare. These projects must demonstrate your design skills and proficiency at composing with After Effects. Moving pictures or videos around the screen in itself does not say much about your design abilities.

I will be looking to see if you've put the principles of CRAP into use.

Your Final Project must have legal integrity. Do not use any un-licensed images or sounds in your production.

On good graphic design: Watch the promos, ads, & title sequences of network TV. Remember the simple and complex graphics we looked at early in the semester? Avoid filling surfaces/solids with a single color. It makes it look flat. Always apply a little bit of a gradient. It can express depth & light. Put CRAP to use. Make your layers 3D and use lighting.

On making movies dynamic. Use 3D layers, lighting and depth. Block animations in Z-space.

Put time into laying out your text. Even a few simple words can be finessed with grace.

Puppet Fun (Meyer Chapter 35 - ZIP file of sources - 488 kB)

The puppet tool (introduced in CS3) provides an easy to use way to animate layers, such as Illustrator or Photoshop images. The layers can not have changing alpha channels- so you need to use still objects- or at least objects that have non-changing alpha channels.

When you enable the puppet tool by placing a puppet pin on a layer, it creates an underlying mesh structure. It's good for getting organic-looking movement on layers

Check out this kung fu animation: http://vimeo.com/42349720

or this animal rock band: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6ycSiqsVR8

The puppet tool can be used to animate characters, but it can also be used to animate other non-character objects. Here's an interesting tutorial by Aharon Rabinowitz on using the puppet tool to animate a particle stream:


Lastly here's how you can make dancing bottles courtesy of video2brain:

The puppet tool provides three kinds of controls. You can press Command-P (or Control-P on a PC) to toggle through them.

The motion paths created by the puppet pins can be changed or adjusted just like any other spatial keyframes.

Motion Sketching is an easy and straightforward way to add keyframes. If you hold the Command button down over a puppet pin a stopwatch appears. Then when you click and drag, it will record the keyframes. You can set the speed and other variables with the "Record Options" button next to the puppet pin tool.

The Overlap Tool allow you to set a value to areas that specify how they overlap other areas. Larger values cover lower values. Use minimal pins and adjust the extent value. You can't animate the overlap pin positions over time but you can keyframe the values.

The Starch Tool works a little like the overlap tool in that you can place a point and set the extent value. This will prevent the area from warping.

Tuesday-Thursday 2-part Puppet Exercise (10 points total)

Puppet Fun Exercise - Part 1 (5 points)

Take any of the characters or objects from the book (or from anywhere) and animate them walking or dancing to a soundtrack (something with a good beat). Suggested pixel dimensions & length: 1280x720 at 10-15 seconds.

Hint: You might want to set layer markers on the audio layer to help fine tune your character's rhythmic abilities.

Hint: if your goal was to have your character walking (a tricky task) 1st make them walk in place. Then precompose this layer and move it (at a speed matching the walking gate) across the floor.

To make this more dynamic, add another dimension (put it in 3D space).

Add a floor along with a light. Make sure your character casts a nice shadow.

When you are satisified, output an H.264 movie with sound called "puppet_fun", and place it in your week 14 folder.


Puppet Fun (Continued)

NOTE: Students can carry this out at home. In-class work must be turned in by Friday for full credit.

Pretty good tutorial on rigging a character for animating within After Effects: http://www.digitalartsonline.co.uk/tutorials/index.cfm?featureid=1627

Here's a tutorial by Rich Harrington on using the puppet tool with non-character footage. In this case a photograph. This tutorial in essence shows how to create moving footage out of a still photo. It also shows how to refine edges and use the Smart Fill in Photoshop:


Take another look at the Beauty animation. It uses similar techniques.

Puppet Life Exercise (5 points)

Using techniques shown in the Rich Harrington tutorial, create a sequence where a still object has been brought realistically to life. Suggested pixel dimensions & length: 1280x720 at 10-15 seconds.

When you are satisified, output an H.264 movie with sound called "puppet_life", and place it in your week 14 folder.

Rendering fields vs frames (upper vs lower):

If you have ever looked at video (or an animation) where motion shows undesirable horizontal lines, the problem is likely the field order. Interlaced video uses two fields, seprated in time by about 1/60 of a second. When the two fields are reversed, the result is this noticeable visible distortion.

Video is either interlaced or progressive. NTSC and 1080i both are examples of interlaced television. The letter P in the formats 720p or 1080p means that they are progrssive.

When rendering compositions for interlaced video formats from After Effects, you'll get the best results by turning on "field render" in the render settings dialog box. But you'll have to make sure you pick the proper field order (upper or lower field first). A few useful examples are:

  • DV (NTSC or PAL) - always lower field first
  • HD - upper field first

Check out www.cybermotion.com/training for more detailed info related to video & AE.



  • Read CMG chapter 39, 40 & 41 (Integration 101, Integration with 3D Applications and Video Issues)
  • Bring in any media/materials you need for your final project.
  • Tuesday is a Final Project work day, class evaluation, and review for the quiz, which will be held on Thursday.


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