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animating face in AE - shadow puppets

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Dan McGuire
animating face in AE - shadow puppets
on Feb 15, 2011 at 2:55:02 pm

Are there any tutorials out there on animating a "talking head" using motion capture, and using little dots stuck to the face of the speaking person, which would correspond to points on a drawing of a characters face? An example would be what you see on this youtube video





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Michael Szalapski
Re: animating face in AE - shadow puppets
on Feb 15, 2011 at 3:19:43 pm

I don't know of any tutorials out there for doing this with AE. It would be possible, but it would be a bit tricky. You'd need to motion track each dot and then apply that tracking information to a corresponding point in your animation. I'd suggest applying the tracking info to a null and then tie a puppet pin on the face to that null.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Dan McGuire
Re: animating face in AE - shadow puppets
on Feb 18, 2011 at 4:30:58 pm

How do you tie a puppet pin to a null object?


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Michael Szalapski
Re: animating face in AE - shadow puppets
on Feb 18, 2011 at 4:41:22 pm

On your layer with the puppet pins on the timeline, twirl down Effects>Puppet>Mesh 1>Deform>Puppet Pin 1 (or whatever puppet pin you're working on)
Then alt-click that stopwatch and pick whip to the position of your null object.
Now, when you move your null object, the puppet pin follows.

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Jon Bagge
Re: animating face in AE - shadow puppets
on Feb 19, 2011 at 8:37:18 pm

On your layer with the puppet pins on the timeline, twirl down Effects>Puppet>Mesh 1>Deform>Puppet Pin 1 (or whatever puppet pin you're working on)
Then alt-click that stopwatch and pick whip to the position of your null object.
Now, when you move your null object, the puppet pin follows.


Unfortunately it's not quite as easy as that.

Firstly you need to get the null in the same position as the puppet pin, otherwise the puppet pin will just jump to whatever position the null happens to be in.
You can do this by selecting the puppet pin position, and copy-paste to the null's position.

But this won't always work either, because the two positions refer to different things. The null's position is its position within the composition.
The puppet pin's position is its position within the layer its on.
The two are only the same if the layer the puppet effect is on is the same size as the comp and has not been moved. (you can solve this by pre-composing)

Assuming you have set your puppet layer up this way it will work.

Except if you make a rig with several nulls you can't parent the nulls to each other. Because if you do a child null's position parameter will refer to its position relative to its parent and this will move the puppet pin to the wrong place.

For a good tutorial about this whole mess and how to fix it:
http://www.slipperyrocknyc.com/SlipperyRockNYC/Animation_Tutorials/Entries/...

He doesn't stress that the puppet layer must be precomposed or the same size as the comp, but take it from me - it must.

I've had a lot of success setting up the puppet tool this way, here is an example:


Good luck!

--------------
http://www.jonbagge.net
Jon Bagge - Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects


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Dan McGuire
Re: animating face in AE - shadow puppets
on Feb 19, 2011 at 9:15:16 pm

Joe, Your piece is absolutely beautiful. Did you edit/shoot/direct as well as animate? Great work, regardless.

Thanks for your advice. It is still a bit beyond me - and that tutorial you mentioned goes VERY fast.

Thanks
DAN.


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Jon Bagge
Re: animating face in AE - shadow puppets
on Feb 20, 2011 at 5:23:02 pm

Joe, Your piece is absolutely beautiful. Did you edit/shoot/direct as well as animate? Great work, regardless.


Thank you :)

I did editing and animation. The actual cartoons were drawn by somebody else, pencil on paper. Then I scanned them in, treated them, rigged them with puppet tool and animated them.

--------------
http://www.jonbagge.net
Jon Bagge - Editor - London, UK
Avid - FCP - After Effects


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