9 Replies Latest reply on Jul 14, 2017 11:29 AM by waltz123

    Puppet pin tool and precomps

    waltz123 Level 1

      Hey,

      I'm trying to animate a simple 2D-person in After Effects CS6. I therefore use the puppet pin tool but experienced some issues. When I put the puppet pins onto the single layers (which are made in Illustrator) everything works well. But when I want to use a precomposition, wherein those layers are, and then try to resize the precomp, it shows nothing - except if I turn off this "fold composition" - box. The problem is, when I turn this box off, the precomp isn't sharp anymore, so this is no option (even trying to use a source image with higher res didn't work at all).

       

      In my case I'd like to show a scenery with a house in the background and a person standing in front of it. I then want to zoom in - so the background and the person get bigger. But as soon as I do it, I can't use the puppet pin properly anymore.

       

      So my question is: Is it somehow possible to use a resizable precomp or is there any work-around for my individual case?

       

      Thank you!

        • 1. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
          Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          When you apply puppet pin to a layer it cannot have any animated transformations applied to the layer. No Scale, rotation, position changes. Puppet pin works on the pixels in an image or on the underlying area under the points of a vector path. A straight vector path - a line with just 2 points will not work directly with puppet pin because there are no pixels to manipulate under the path.

           

          The workflow is to line up your character. If the character has multiple elements on separate layers that you want to move as one you need to pre-compose those elements. For example, you put the arms and the hands layers in a group - pre-compose them, then apply puppet pin to the pre-comp. The same thing for eyes, nose, mouth - They either need to be on one layer or pre-composed so you can use puppet pin.

           

          The second step is to animate the movement of each of the layers in your puppet. Something like a walk cycle would be animated so the legs were moving but the rest of the puppet would not be moving. Once you get the movement down for your puppet you pre-compose that movement or nest the comp in a main comp and animate the position scale and rotation of the puppet so that it works in the scene. You cannot do it in any other way because as soon as you move a layer that has a puppet pin effect applied you break the relationship between the distortion mesh and the underlying pixels and things get fouled up.

           

          I hope this helps.

          • 2. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
            Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional
            When you apply puppet pin to a layer it cannot have any animated transformations applied to the layer.

            not accurate. if the layer's render order is maintained, there shouldn't be any problem combining transform properties with the puppet effect. the problem starts when the layer order is transform and then effects like with collapsed precomps/continuously resterized layers.

             

            this is from the help files:

            Animating with Puppet tools in After Effects

            Note:

            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. (See Render order and collapsing transformations and Continuously rasterize a layer containing vector graphics.)

             

            I would add to to that - you shouldn't even change the transform properties, not just "animate"

             

            BTW, if you are into puppet and find yourself struggling with using puppet vs transform, there are tools to make puppet work more efficiently. here's two popular set of tools:

            PuppetTools 3 - aescripts + aeplugins - aescripts.com

            https://rainboxprod.coop/en/tools/duik/ 

            • 3. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
              Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Sorry Roei but you cannot animate transformations on a layer that has puppet pin applied. The mesh works on the area under the first frame of the layer.

               

              Dancing Star:

              Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 10.02.07 AM.png

              Hovering over mesh after layer moves:

              Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 10.06.44 AM.png

              Change position, scale, rotation and the mesh is unaffected because it is above the transformations, puppet pin bases the modifications on the comp frame instead of the layer size so the mesh renders before the underlying pixels render and it does not move with the layer. There are several effects that work this way. If you need to animate the layers position you have to pre-compose or use the Transform effect.

              NOTE: I changed the layer color to make the mesh more visible but that's all the changes I made....

              • 4. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
                waltz123 Level 1

                Hey,

                thank you for your answer!

                Unfortunately this doesn't work for me. I'm not sure if I'm doing something wrong, so I describe what I'm doing:

                 

                I have an Illustrator File of a person with one layer for the body and one for the left arm (since only the left arm should do some movement).

                Now I put this file into After Effects. My Illustrator file is a composition now and when I double-click on it, it opens and shows the two layers I made in Illustrator (body and arm). Now I choose the arm file, make a right-click and choose "pre-comp" (don't know the exact name since I'm using After Effects in a different language). Now I'm putting the puppet pins onto this pre-composition (not the layer inside this pre-comp I just created). So I have now:

                Main Comp -> Arm Comp (with puppet pins) -> Arm File

                BUT in the end I have to check all "fold composition"-boxes to make the image sharp - and that causes the animated files to not show up in the main comp anymore.

                 

                Do you discover any mistake I'm doing?

                 

                 

                EDIT:

                It's like this: Main comp -> person comp -> arm comp -> arm file

                The one from above is wrong!

                 

                I forgot to mention that I had to scale the person to fit into the comp size. When I set the scale back to 100%, the movement is shown right. But I need to resize the person - I could reduce the persons size in Illustrator for now, but it won't solve future problems or enable a good workflow...

                • 5. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
                  Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional
                  you cannot animate transformations on a layer that has puppet pin applied.

                  because you are animating transformations of a continuously rasterized layer. do the same on a pixel layer (like a mask on a solid with collapse unchecked) and you will be fine.

                  • 6. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
                    Rick Gerard Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                    Should have said You cannot animate transformations on a shape layer that has transformations applied.... or a Continuously rasterized vector layer like one from AI....

                    • 7. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
                      Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional

                      that's why I called on you to be not accurate. you were almost correct.

                      • 8. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
                        Roei Tzoref Adobe Community Professional
                        BUT in the end I have to check all "fold composition"-boxes to make the image sharp

                        Don't. puppet and collapse (what you call "fold") don't work well together. you should work your way around it by bringing big enough layers so you won't need to continuously rasetrize/collapse them (what you call "make them sharp"). or you could press the collapse switch, make them large enough, then precompose, don't press the collapse - and use puppet.

                         

                        In Short: whatever you do, don't press the sunburst icon (collapse switch) on a layer or precomp that is using the puppet effect if you intend to move or animate afterwards using the transform properties (scale, rotation, position)

                        • 9. Re: Puppet pin tool and precomps
                          waltz123 Level 1

                          Thank you! It seems to work now.

                           

                          Just in case someone having the same problem visits this question, I recap what I did (Hopefully understandable).

                           

                          My Composition order looked like this:

                          Main comp -> Person comp -> Arm Layer (I made a person in illustrator and put its arm onto a seperate layer, then imported it to after effects)

                           

                          I then made a right click onto my arm layer and chose 'precompose'. the order now looks like this:

                          Main comp -> person comp -> arm comp -> arm layer

                           

                          Then switched back to my arm layer and made it bigger. Therefore I had to change the size of its composition too. Just go to 'Composition' in the menu bar when you have the arm layer opened and choose 'Composition options' (or something like that) and adjust the size so the layer fits into the composition size.

                           

                          Check the 'Colapse Composition' button of the arm layer.

                           

                          Don't check the 'Colapse Composition' button of the arm precomp.

                           

                          Check the 'Colpase Composition' button of the person precomp.

                           

                          Now place the puppet pins onto the arm PRECOMP.

                           

                          You can now animate its movement in the arm precomp and transform the person itself in the person precomp.

                           

                          Hope it works for some people which are facing the same problems too.