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Creating Vectors from Paper cut outs for "puppet show" in AE

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Beau BrothertonCreating Vectors from Paper cut outs for "puppet show" in AE
by on Sep 19, 2011 at 2:28:19 pm

Hello to all!

I have a quick question of workflow when it comes to Photoshop, to Illustrator, to AE in order to keep the best quality and least amount of CPU power needed inside AE.

What I'm doing is creating a digital back lit puppet show. We have all of these cool little character that we drew and cut out of paper. My plan is to scan them into my computer, remove the white background in Photoshop, then create a vector file that can be imported into AE so I can animate the puppets like you would see a real puppet show (only thing is this puppet show will have the silhouetted puppets talk and move their arms. I'll probably be doing wiggles and motion tracking.

Anyway, my question is how to go from the PDF files I scanned and PSD files I saved to remove the backgrounds back into AE. These files are mostly 8.5x11 inches from standard paper, so I know that these large file sizes could be taxing on my computer (only 4GB of ram, I know). So I was wondering if there is a better way to create vector files so I can save them smaller but AE can just work with smaller vector files.

I hope this makes since, and any help would be greatly appreciated!! :)

**Oh PS, working in CS5.5 on an iMac 2.8GHz Intel Core i7, 4GB Ram

-Beau Brotherton

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Kevin CampRe: Creating Vectors from Paper cut outs for "puppet show" in AE
by on Sep 19, 2011 at 2:52:56 pm

ae can use vector illustrator files (or eps, pdf, or even vector psd layers), so you can definitely go that route. illustrator also has an auto trace feature that should be able to create the vectors from the raster images that you have, so it shouldn't take much time.

however, i'm not sure that you necessarily need to do this. do you need infinitely scaleable silhouettes, or can you just scaled down your raster images to a size that would be appropriate for the comp size? i'm also not sure how ae stores a vector image in ram... my gut says that ae will have to rasterize the vectors to create a raster image to store in ram, so at that point it's probably about the same.

having a lot of vectors can slow ae down a bit too -- it has to rasterize the paths to render -- but i don't think you'll notice any much of a problem until you get 50, maybe 100 vector layers in a comp... and that would be a lot of puppets.

i guess, in short, i don't see a strong reason to go either way for performance reasons, but if you want to have the flexibility of zooming in on the puppets, vector would be a good choice.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer

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