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Distorting Objects with the Puppet Tools in After Effects CS3

Article Description

Pull, squash, stretch, and otherwise deform objects onscreen using the After Effect CS3 Puppet tools. Whether you're creating realistic animations, fantastic scenarios, or modern art, the Adobe Creative Team shows you how the Puppet tools can expand your creative freedom.

Defining Areas of Overlap

Normal human movement requires the arms to swing; therefore, as the character walks across the screen, portions of his right arm and leg will be behind other areas of his body. You'll use the Puppet Overlap tool to define the areas that should appear in front when areas overlap.

  1. Select the Puppet Overlap tool, which is hidden behind the Puppet Pin tool in the Tools panel.
  2. Select Show in the options area of the Tools panel to view the distortion mesh.
  3. Zoom in and use the Hand tool to position the man in the Composition window, so that you can see his torso and legs clearly.
  4. In the options area of the Tools panel, change the In Front setting to 100%. The In Front value determines the apparent proximity to the viewer; changing the value to 100% prevents those parts of the body that are overlapped from showing through.
  5. Click in the mesh to place Overlap pins on the character's torso and left leg, which are the areas that should remain in the front. As you add a pin, adjust its Extent value in the options area of the Tools panel. The Extent value determines how far the overlap influence extends for the pin; the affected area appears lighter in the Composition panel. Use Figure 12 as a guide.
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