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Puppet animation

The Art of Puppet Animation


Puppet animation


Puppet animation involves creating films with handmade puppets. Animators carefully craft each frame.

To animate, you place pins within a puppet’s shape. Furthermore, the Puppet effect tool automatically generates mesh outlines, and animators can manipulate these outlines by placing pins. When the Puppet tool pointer comes near the outlines, the tool creates meshes accordingly. In case the image is too complex for the Puppet effect to generate a mesh, animators will be notified with a “Mesh Generation Failed” message in the Info panel. Nonetheless, they can still access reference outlines for meshes created through the Puppet tool. This feature enables animators to have better control over the deformations and movements of their puppet characters, resulting in more realistic and captivating animations.

Character Design

Making lifelike puppets demands a keen eye for detail. Animators consider every minor movement, expression, and lighting condition. Companies like LAIKA excel with their highly realistic, handmade puppets.

You can bring puppets to life with techniques like motion tweening and easing. Using different materials for body parts adds realism and texture.


Armatures, or puppet skeletons, must withstand repeated movements. Weak joints stop filming for repairs. For complex movements, animators often create extra hands.

In puppet design, beauty meets function. In films like Wendell & Wild, artful puppets feature metal skeletons for precise movements.

Digital puppetry allows real-time animation. With data gloves, puppeteers control digital puppets, creating dynamic scenes.


An advantage of puppet animation is the ability to update puppet designs without the need to start the entire process from scratch. This includes making alterations to meshes, textures, as well as adjusting recorded behavior parameters. By incorporating these changes seamlessly into the existing puppet track, animators can refine and enhance the visual appeal of their characters without having to recreate them entirely. This flexibility not only saves time but also allows for iterative improvements and fine-tuning, ensuring that the final result meets the desired artistic vision.


Lighting plays a critical role in puppet animation. Capturing each movement frame by frame means one second of film requires 24 frames. The Puppet effect tools control image deformation using pins.


Sound synchronization matters, too. Aleksandr Shiryaev, a ballet master, reportedly made the first puppet animation film in 1908.

Stop motion animation works well for black silhouette characters, suitable for dioramas or shadow puppetry. Tools like Clip Studio’s Puppet effect offer a convenient way for artists to sketch motion while simultaneously viewing other meshes. Moreover, this feature allows them to follow character movements precisely or roughly, thanks to the availability of reference outlines. Additionally, artists can easily reset all deform pins within the Puppet effect by selecting the “Reset” option from the Puppet panel, Timeline, or Effect Controls panels. By utilizing these functionalities, animators can streamline their workflow and enhance the overall efficiency of their puppet animation process.

To match sound with a scene, you set a keyframe at the scene’s start in its Timeline. There are several ways to add sound to a scene.