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After Effects Puppet Tool Effect Won't Render

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Aerial Longmire
After Effects Puppet Tool Effect Won't Render
on Mar 28, 2019 at 1:47:34 am

Hi Folks,
I'm using After Effects 2017 on a Mid 2015 MacBook Pro running 10.13.6, and I'm having some trouble with my render.

My comp contains a dancing character created in Photoshop and animated with puppet tool. There is a 3D camera circling around the character, and he spins a couple of times at the finale. The character also has size, rotatation, and position transformations. There are also two lights and an animated grid in the comp.

Everything plays back fine during the preview, but for some reason when I render the comp, the final output does not contain any of the puppet deformations. I have tried pre-rendering the animated grid, which had a lot of effects on it, then rendering the whole sequence again, but again, the same results.

I found the following on the Adobe help page about puppet tool:
"Don’t animate the position or scale of a continuously rasterized layer with layer transformations if you are also animating the layer with the Puppet tools. The render order for continuously rasterized layers—such as shape layers and text layers—is different from the render order for raster layers. You can precompose the shape layer and use the Puppet tools on the precomposition layer, or you can use the Puppet tools to transform the shapes within the layer. "

But I don't believe my layer is continuously rasterized, right? If it is, how exactly do I execute the solution described above?

Thanks in advance for any help with this.


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Walter Soyka
Re: After Effects Puppet Tool Effect Won't Render
on Mar 28, 2019 at 9:39:33 am

Can you post a couple of screenshots that show both the problem and your entire Ae UI, so that we can see what you are seeing?

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


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Aerial Longmire
Re: After Effects Puppet Tool Effect Won't Render
on Mar 28, 2019 at 3:14:22 pm

Thanks for your reply. Attached is a screenshot of my UI. It's difficult to illustrate the problem in a still image since it's an animation problem.



I have been asking colleagues about the problem and I think this may be an issue with the 3D camera. As I said, my character will dance during the preview, but doesn't dance in my final render. I tried rendering a sample clip without the 3D camera, and all of my puppet tool animations worked, so I think I may have to just render the character animation on alpha with no camera, and then re-build it into my comp with the 3D camera. At least it's always easier to build the 2nd time. ☺

Does that sound like the best approach to you? Can you think of an easier way to handle this?

Thanks again for taking the time to respond.


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Max Haller
Re: After Effects Puppet Tool Effect Won't Render
on Mar 28, 2019 at 3:46:02 pm

Im not sure exactly why, but I can tell you you're not continuously rasterizing. Is the HotRed/Beets layer the layer with the puppet effect? if so try precomping it and applying the puppet on that. Not sure if that'll make any difference tho. Also try changing the layer order so that layer is above camera. Again not sure if it'll do anything but sometimes those help on weird problems.

Your approach at the end of your post sounds like a good option to me. Duplicate it in the project panel before you do that so that you're original layer won't change in the original comp. This way you can just alt drag the rendered character into that comp and replace your original layer. Might save you the trouble of repositioning it and all that.


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Aerial Longmire
Re: After Effects Puppet Tool Effect Won't Render
on Mar 28, 2019 at 6:08:43 pm

Thanks for the suggestions. I think I have this one licked. I did a combination of 2 things -- I sub-comped my character, the "HotRed" layer. I also removed all transformation effects from the PSD in the sub-comp, and just applied them to the sub-comp itself within my main comp.

When I rendered this, the puppet tool animations did come through, but they played back very choppy and glitchy. While trying a few other experiments I also took your advice and moved the character layer above the 3D camera layer. When I tried re-rendering it again, the glitchy animation seemed to go away. I maybe it was changing the layer order.

Thanks so much for your help! I've learned a lot today.


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