by July 5, 2008 0 comments

The software lets you combine moving imagery, text, still images and vector
graphics to create mind-blowing animations. It can use images from multiple
sources such as Photoshop, Illustrator and other such software to compose motion
graphics. The integration between After Effects and Photoshop helps the
professionals a lot as you can bring images with different layer styles from
Photoshop CS3 to After Effects CS3 without flattening them. Hundreds of common
animation presets and 60 other bundled effects from Cycore FX are also available
in After Effects CS3 Professional, so you need not waste time to create those

After Effects is analogous to video as Photoshop is for still images, and its
flexibility allows artists to alter videos in the way they see fit (similar to
what Photoshop does with images).

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Using the Puppet tool you can stretch images to create an animated or motion
character. Let’s check how this tool can be used through the following
screenshots that show you the sequence of creating smoke in motion (in yellow
color to increase visibility):

Open After Effects and go to
>File >Import and select the image. From the ‘Project window’, drag the
image to ‘Timeline’. Image is visible now and a composition file created


Click on >Layer >New >Solid and on the
window change the name to ‘Particle’ and click on ‘Make Comp Size’.
Selecting any dark color will bring that color layer on the image


Click on the ‘Particle’ and select >Effect
>Simulation >CC Particle World. This will create a solid, invisible
particle. Scroll the animation icon and you see ‘Particle’ appearing on the


Click on >Layer >New >Solid and on the
window change the name to ‘Particle’ and click on ‘Make Comp Size’.
Selecting any dark color will bring that color layer on the image


For changing the starting position of the
‘Particle,’ expand the ‘Producer’ and change the Position X to 0.50. Change
the ‘Longevity (sec) to 2.00 for covering the image with ‘Particle’


For changing the look of the individual
‘Particle’, expand the Particle menu and change the Type to ‘Faded Sphere.’
According to the main image, change the Birth and Depth color


To make ‘Particle’ move continuously on top
of the cab, select it and go to >Layer >Pre Compose. Then select >Layer >New
>Solid and apply color. Scale it down to cover the ‘Particle’


You have to apply some blurring effect to
the Particle. For this, click Fast Blur from >Effect >Blur & Sharpen. Click
Particle composition from the main window and select the Puppet tool


When you select the Puppet tool, you can see
a mesh being created in a rectangular shape that covers the complete
‘particle’. On that mesh, click on a few places to make Puppet points. On
Particle composition menu make the solid invisible. Go to the main
composition again and set puppet points in the shape of the cab. In Time
Control window, click on the animation icon

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