After Effects – All Stars Roller (part 1)

We’ve dived into a new project today in After Effects which will expand into our own personal project that Peter will be able to put together to render. With the skills we’ll practice today, we’ll have to then choose any character from a film, video game, book, real history, etc. to create our own sequence ranging from 3 to 9 seconds long. This sequence will then be included in the class roller. As an example, Peter showed us where the inspiration came from – I’ve only taken a quite GIF of the whole thing, as I didn’t really want to upload the video file to Vimeo:


It gives an idea of what Peter’s looking for, but also shows a little bit of what we’ll be doing to Harrison Ford’s name. Peter’s also provided all the pieces for us to work with, including a hat to put on top of Mr. Ford’s name. All we needed to do was implement the things we’d been learning about puppet pins and animate the name as it’s being rolled over by the giant rock.

We started off by setting the movement/rotation of the rock. This would then be able to determine the timing for the rest of the animation. It was going to move from the first frame starting on the left side (out of sight) and end on the right side, also out of frame, by frame number 71. After that, it was a matter of starting my puppet pinning and starching!


I’m not too sure how easy that is to see, but there were a lot of keyframes throughout the whole animation. The above picture are just the words, where the pins can all be seen and the pop-up action at the end had to be keyed manually.

It was important to remember only to pin the letters just before they were going to be used; when you pin, you create a keyframe, and sometimes the pinning can be warped earlier/later in the timeline than you intend when you pin too early. We also used the starch tool to keep the bottom of the letter stable while the crushing action was happening.


There were a lot of pins used, but at one point I had to revert back to a previous save to add more as the words weren’t condensing the way I wanted. While it’s probably best to use fewer pins since it takes more processing power and the program could potentially crash, the more pins I could get away with, the better my animation ended up looking. I then added the pins to the front and back of the hat and animated that crushing action as well.

To finish off, I added the same code for the wobble we used on TIX to the words and the hat after they pop up to their usual size/position. I’d forgot I could actually use the pan behind tool and change the pivot point of the text, instead of animating the position so it looked like the words stayed in about the same spot. However, I think it still turned out really well and now I’m looking forward to coming up with my own idea! I’ll post again once I PIN down what that idea is and get around to doing it!


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