35 The Puppet Tools
A fun way to organically warp and animate layers
One of the most fun areas to explore in After Effects is using the Puppet tools. These provide a new way to warp layers, including shape and text layers created inside After Effects. Applications include creating character animation or just imparting fun movement to otherwise inanimate objects.
Previously, the best tool in After Effects for character animation was parenting (the subject of Chapter 17). Parenting requires setting up a hierarchy of layers that correspond to the individual body parts, and carefully arranging their pivot points by relocating the Anchor Point for each layer. Once this is done, you can animate the rotation of your “limbs” around their joints, and ...