After Effects Tutorials Series 3: Solving Rigging Problems with Masks, Pins, & Expressions

After Effects Series 3 Directory:
Solving Rigging Problems with Masks, Pins, & Expressions

What this tutorial series covers

Welcome to my third series of After Effects character rigging tutorials. This series is different from my last two in that each tutorial stands alone. Occasionally I design a puppet that has some feature which creates a design problem for me. Each video will start out showing what I was trying to achieve, explain why it was a problem, and then show you my solution. These tutorials will have no work files to go along with them, as they are not meant for hands on instruction, although I will make the expressions available with annotations should you wish to solve similar problems with your puppets.

Because there is no order to this tutorial series, feel free to start anywhere on the list below.

Hover Over Images To See Animation

Rigging a retractable robot arm

Zero Forty Two Gif01 StillZero Forty Two Gif01

Mouse over or tap picture to see movement.

In this video I’ll show you how I constructed Zero-Forty-Two’s arms as well as how the retraction combined with bending of the arm was achieved. By using the index expression I’ll also show you how the entire retracting and extending movement was achieved by copying a single expression 16 times, saving me from having to write 16 separate expressions.

Rigging a robot eye with a camera-like iris

Zero Forty Two Eyes Blinking StillZero Forty Two Eyes Blinking

Mouse over or tap picture to see movement.

I wanted 042 to have a pupil that would double as eyelids, as well as have them resemble the aperture of a camera lens. This problem was compounded by the nature of two-dimensional layers not being able to be weaved together. By using a single graphic for an aperture blade, then creating some masks, I’ll show you how the eyes were constructed.

*Don Q Media  and Jared Mark Graham have no affiliation with Adobe Systems Inc.