After Effects Puppet Tool: Making the Furniture Dance

October 10, 2011
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Adobe After Effects has been known as the premiere motion graphics software for years, and now with its puppet tool, its become a viable option for doing some quick character animations.  Similar to, and possible easier to use than, the bone tool in Adobe flash, the puppet tool turns static images into malleable armatures ripe for realistic kinetics.

As seen in my web ad for Gardner-White Furniture, I used the puppet tool to make a couch and a chair get down in the discotheque.  With the tool I added various “pins” or joints to my imported photoshop files.  After adding the pins to the proper points, it’s just a matter of dragging the newly defined “limbs” around the screen, carefully key-framing along the way.

Be sure to turn on motion blur for your layers that are moving around for an extra touch of realism.

While this approach is simple, it requires a lot of patience with the key-framing.  And though it’s easy to make something move, the real artistry will be in your creative concepts and the story behind your graphics.

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Matt Oberdier received his BFA in Illustration from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit in 2008. He has since worked as a freelance graphic designer & web developer.

In his free time, Matt enjoys playing guitar & singing, cooking vegan food, photography and acting.

Matt Oberdier

Matt Oberdier received his BFA in Illustration from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit in 2008. He has since worked as a freelance graphic designer & web developer. In his free time, Matt enjoys playing guitar & singing, cooking vegan food, photography and acting.

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