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How Can I Use the Puppet Tool in After Effects?

Using After Effects for your film, video or visual project gives you lots of capabilities to unleash your creativity and bring your vision to life. A great feature that some users don’t know about in After Effects is the Puppet tool. The Puppet tool After Effects is used to transform a static image into something more lifelike and animated. This tool can help you become a true puppeteer and gives you many more options for your film or video piece. Here are some things to know about using the Puppet tool.
 
Place the Pins
 
The first step to using the Puppet tool After Effects is to place the pins. Once you have an image you want to animate, click on the Puppet “Pin” icon. Then, you must click on each point of the image you want to add movement to. Every time you click on a part of your image, a pin will be set down. If your image is a human or animal figure, it’s best to place pins on joints, such as legs, hands or arms. After placing the pins, you can then go to the timeline screen and adjust the movements and animations.
 
Use the Overlap Feature
 
Another part of the Puppet tool gives you the ability to perform an overlap. The overlap feature allows portions of your animated image to hide behind the figure, mirroring natural movement. To incorporate this in your piece, click on the Puppet “Overlap” icon. Once you click on this, your image will be mapped with a series of mesh lines and angles. You must click on the portions of your image that should always stay front and center during movement instead of being naturally hidden.
 
Tweak With the Starch and Sketch Tools
 
If you want your animated image to appear more natural, you can use the Starch tool. Naturally, during the animation, your image may experience some distortion because of the movement. The Starch option allows you to select certain parts of your image and keep them from being distorted. This makes the animation appear more natural. Simply select the Puppet “Starch” key and click on various sections of your image that should not bend or distort during movement. The Sketch tool is a great timesaver that gives you an option to quickly animate small movements in one step. Select the “Sketch” tool and drag your image through the animation sequence to take advantage of this option.
 
After Effects is full of time-saving tricks to get your project looking more professional. With Shutterstock, you can learn these tricks and more and have something you’ll be proud of showing.
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