Hello all, thanks in advance for any and all help.
I have 10 or 12 human cartoonish characters that are comprised of various precomposed body parts (head, arms, legs, etc.). The parts of each precomp (i.e. hair, eye, hands) are masked out solids. Finally, each character is it's own "master comp" in another comp which is to be my scene.
What I am trying to do in the scene is have each character smashed, pushed, pulled, etc into a particular letter of the alphabet. Now, I could very well do this through animating the masks within the precomps that make up the parts of the characters' bodies. But, because there are going to be 10-12 characters, this could take a LONG time...
What I'm asking is, is there a faster way to do this or a plugin that is well-suited to do such a thing? I have played around with digieffects FreeForm and that has been slightly useful but not exactly great. Because I'm trying to go from a fairly organic looking shape (a human body) into a blockier shape (the letter "E" for example), I'm guessing this is just gonna have to be a massive keyframing job but, I thought I'd throw this out there to see if anyone has any thoughts on a better strategy.
I would use Mesh Warp to distort the human shapes AND separate letter shapes. Distort the human shapes to get them close to the letter shape.
On a layer under the human shape, distort the letter to match the human shape as close as you can. Set the amount of frames you want the distortion to happen and fade in between.
Human (undistorted) >>> Letter shape (human shape distorted)
Human Shape (letter distorted) >>> Letter (undistorted)
And, my apologies, I should have ben more clear. I actually want the characters to still be "themselves" - with all the colors of their faces, clothing, items - but just contorted into the shapes of letters. This is why I'm thinking there's just no way around having to individually animate many masks within each character comp.
Your suggestion would certainly work if I was going to quickly transition to straight-up letters but, as I have described, unfortunately that's not the case. Thanks again very much for your thoughts, though!