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Puppeting animation

The Art of Puppet Animation

Puppeting animation

Puppet animation is an art that requires immense care in terms of attention to detail. Animators must take into consideration every tiny movement for each puppet before performing it onscreen; one second of animation requires 12 frames shot consecutively.

For customizing the motion paths of Deform pins, select it in either the Composition or Layer panel while both the Selection tool and Puppet tool are active.


Create an animation-worthy puppet is an art. Filming one minute of stop motion animation may take up to six months and requires meticulous planning for every frame of animation. Puppet fabrication is a delicate science which requires precise execution on every frame of stop-motion.

Puppet Pin is an easy way to deform images by breaking up characters based on their alpha channel into triangle meshes that you can warp and bend based on alpha values, creating depth controls with apparent depth controls. By setting an Overlap pin, its influence extends past the edge of the image allowing for easy adjustment by changing Expansion values as needed.

For instance, to make your arm wave, simply add an Overlap pin between where your elbow meets your body and apply the Puppet Pin tool. You could also use this technique to create simple skeletal animation – saving both time and effort as animators don’t need to draw each individual character movement individually.


Construction of puppets using various materials like clay or fabric is essential to animation production, with these puppets then moved in small increments to animate characters’ movement. This process typically requires 12 frames for one second shot when changing body language or facial expressions.

Use of different paper textures can add depth and realism to your puppets, as well as provide additional detail with crumpled or colored paper textures. Additionally, this can help define the outline of characters more precisely.

Puppet offers bend pins that can be used to adjust the position of a deform pin and thus enable animating an actor’s chest breathing or tail wagging, for instance. Bend Pins appear as orange-brown circles in the user interface while Advanced Pins give greater control over how Puppet effect mesh deforms around those pins.


Puppet animation can be an efficient and cost-effective method for producing two-dimensional characters with loose outlines quickly and cost-effectively. When performed in live action fashion – with happy accidents taking over as they arise – this method can make an excellent short film.

Adobe Character Animator makes animating scenes easy, with premade faces and characters ready for you to rig with triggers that can be controlled via user-defined triggers. On one episode of Workflow Show hosted by SOM’s Kyle Hamrick he described his use of Adobe’s app to streamline his animation workflow.

Animated characters range from cartoon faces to complex models with advanced rigging features like translating, scaling and rotating their handle puppet’s handle as well as changing its opacity opacity levels. Keeping this in mind when creating your character rig is a useful feature so that when sketching motion for its mesh you have reference outlines to work off of.


Puppet animation requires meticulous care in regards to lighting both the puppet and its environment, usually handled by a team of technicians under the supervision of the director and animators. Lighting has the power to transform how characters appear as well as affect how they move across frames.

The Puppet effect uses pins to deform layers, with their position dictating which portions move and which remain rigid as well as which part appears first when other parts overlap. It also creates a mesh defined by its outline; this mesh, however, does not appear in After Effects user interface.

The Puppet tool enables users to position or move Deform pins onto any raster or vector layer, including still images, shapes, and text characters. However, the Puppet does not take into account strokes of a shape or text character when determining its outlines; you may increase Expansion value in order to include this.