PuppetTools 3
  • your plugin is brilliant!

    I used it extensively to create my latest video - thank you so much, literally couldn't do what I do without you! Looking forward to using this new version too.

  • Awesome work Rich!  We just posted it to our inspiration feed.  Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work!
  • That video is wicked! Great stuff, Rich.
  • Hey, great tool, works fine. But how can I switch the IK-Direction for the arms, for example in my case I want to animate a frontal view of a character, and I want to have IK on both left and right arm, so that the right elbow points to the right and the left elbow to the left. But I can only get the right arm to have a working IK, the left arm is treated like it is also a right arm and thereby totally twisted. Does it only work for sideward-characters or can I just modify some numbers in the expression to get it right? Don't want to do precomposing an mirroring if it isn't necessary.
  • @Kai - I didn't mention it in the video, but there is a Flip IK checkbox effect applied to the IK null. Toggle the checkbox to flip the IK direction.
  • Great script, Greg! It`s pretty handy. 

    Should I use IK for arm animation?
     I tryed apply IK to arms of my character but when I check off/on checkbox it flips hard and animation is not smooth. 
  • @Erman - Thanks! IK is great for arm animation. The checkbox is meant for you to set the bend direction of the IK, and then begin to animate. I wouldn't set keys on it’s value, if that is what’s giving you issues.
  • Thank you Greg, I didn't notice this box. Now everything works fine!
  • Thank you! I will buy it this week. Looks very nice.
    Any chance on making a Onion Skin script?

  • @Mathieu You’re very welcome. I love the idea of an Onion Skin script! But wouldn’t know where to start. You could probably get the same effect with the built-in Echo effect.
  • Hi, sort of disillusioned right now and hope you can help me.

    I'm doing a super basic character setup and when I select the layer that contains the pins and then click on "pins to nulls" the null objects are way off point (see attached image).  They seem to work movement wise but they are not on top of the pins as they should be. 

    I'm worried it's not working because my pins are on continuously rasterize .ai layers. When I turn continuously rasterize layer off and apply "pins to nulls" they are closer to the pin points but are still off and the null objects are not connected to the pins (second attached image).

    I'm using CS6, v11.0.0.378

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  • I realize it's best to use the pinning/null with rasterized images but you can use the puppet tool on vector layers. Just frustrating that there was no indication that the script wouldn't work with it.
  • @Patrick The script works on both raster and vector artwork just the same. Is the layer scale at 100%? If not, try resetting it to 100%.

    If that doesn’t help, I’d be happy to look at your AE file and see if I can help figure out what’s going on.
  • Hi Greg,  I did tried that.  The problem seems to be when I have "continuously rasterize" on.  I'm working around the problem (it's for a job with a tight deadline). I know you're probably busy as well but if you have any insight on what it could be, that would be awesome.
  • Yea, the continuously rasterize switch is a fickle beast. To solve issues of scale, I'll create my artwork at a larger resolution and scale it down after it's rigged.

    I turned off continuously rasterize, deleted the puppet effect, and then created new pins. The script seemed to run just fine. Try that approach.

  • That's what I'm already doing.  
  • Great. I’ll look into the continuously rasterizing issue and see if I can find a solve for a later update.

    Thanks for bringing it to my attention.
  • Hi, Greg!

    I have a problem. I bought your cool script. Even already finish project. But now it doesn`t work. Script wants me to enter license code (nobody knows it. me only). So I enter my license code but then it shows me error. How to fix it?


    After Effects warning: ERROR: access deny
    Win 8.
  • Please open a support ticket (https://aescripts.com/contact) and we can help you.
  • Hi Greg,

    Is there a way to scale a rigged character? (both arms and legs have pins-to-nulls-IK-rig with the offsets parented to the his hips)

    Thank you for your great script!

    - j
  • @Joris - You could try parenting the IK controller AND the offset null to another layer/null, and then scale that layer. The IK should remain intact, but AE’s puppet tool mesh might get weird.
  • Okay, I'll give it a go ...

    Works like a charm, thanks :)
  • I'm trying to parent a rigged arm to a rigged torso- so they move together, but I can't seem to figure out how to get that to happen.  parenting the arm controller null to the torso controller null doesn't seem to work.  any suggestions for connecting a pupated group of parts together for cutout animation?

  • @Thomas - Try using a parent offset null. In other words, once you have the arm rigged, parent the shoulder null to another null. That should let you move the whole arm around and parent it whatever else you’d like.
  • There's going to be a tutorial for this soon, yeah?
  • Hi  - just strated on this, but as soon as I do pins to nulls it stretches out the limb to nearly twice the size. 4 pins ankle, knee, hip and stomach, select go pins to nulls and the leg extends by half again  -   any ideas what I`m doing wrong  ?   
  • @Duncan It’s not exactly a tutorial, but the overview video goes over how to use the script. What kind of tutorial are you interested in?

  • @John - Without seeing your file, it’s difficult to tell what’s going on. Check that the scale is at 100% – sometimes that can lead to weird things. Also, is it a shape layer?
  • Tried with totally new figure and this time worked fine, but half the joints pivot in the wrong direction  - i.e. elbow bends wrong way - is there any way to reverse the joints for those working in the wrong direction ?
  • Thanks again! =) 

  • @John Yes. Select the IK Controller null and check/uncheck the effect box titled “Flip IK
  • I am using the trial version. I tried the pin and nulls tool it didn't show the pins on the arm the way your video indicates and it didn't do the job it supposed to do. I am very interested in this software but if it doesn't work I cant buy it. Please can you help.



  • @Suzan Can you explain what happens when you run the script?
  • Well, the purpose of the software is for me not to bother and create pins for the arm for example. when I click on the pins and nulls for the arm layer it suppose to create the pins and the layers of each pin on the arm, wrest, and shoulder, but it doesn't do that and I have to click on the pin option in after effect for it to show the three layers, which from my understanding with this software I shouldn't be doing that other wise what is the use of simplifying the steps.
  • @Suzan This script doesn’t create puppet pins for you. It creates null controllers and links them to pre-existing pins on the selected layer. 

    Before you can run the script, you must place puppet pins on your layer first.

  • hey Greg - great script. Really enjoying playing around with it, simplifies workflow a lot. I think I did find one minor glitch, though, and I just wanted to mention it so you're aware of it: seems that if the Puppet Tools panel is docked in your station when you open AE, you have to close and reopen it before Pins To Nulls will do anything. Like I said, pretty minor, but just in case anyone else around here might be having trouble figuring out why it's not working, there you go.

  • @Thomas Thanks for the heads up. What OS and version of AE are you experiencing this glitch with?
  • I'm loving this script, makes rigging and animating a character much more efficient and fun! 

    Does anyone know if there is a way to change the Null color? By default it's red, but I would like to color coordinate various appendages so it's easier to differentiate between all of the nulls once they begin to overlap each other. 
  • Anthony – Thanks for the kind words about the script! The null's color is the same as the layer color, which is red by default. Change the layercolor and the null will change accordingly.
  • Hey there, thanks for the fantastic script, inverse kinematics has certainly helped quicken my workflow! 

    I have a problem when using this script with a rigged character and a camera in After Effects. If I try and zoom in it causes the mesh to go weird. I have also tried to scale the character with a separate null but this also causes problems with the mesh. 

    How would it be best to go about using a camera with a rigged IK character? 
  • @Dominic – Happy to hear the script is working well for you.

    AE’s puppet tool gets funky when you scale the artwork (directly or via camera.) You'll get the same result whether you use my script or not – it's an AE thing, unfortunately.

    The way I typically work is by animating the character in a separate comp altogether. And then putting the character comp into the main comp to move, scale, zoom in on, etc. Often times I'll have two comp windows open next to each other so I can animate and see the main scene simultaneously.

    It ain't pretty, but it works.
  • I have tried putting it in a main comp, making it 3D and using a camera but it is still causing problems :(
  • Hm, without seeing your file it's hard to say what's going on. Make sure you have 2 comps. 1 for ALL character animation – so your rig and artwork all lives inside of it – and the second comp is the main comp with the rest of your scene. This way you should be able to bring your pre-animated character into the scene as a normal layer (don't continuously rasterize) and scale, move it, make it 3D.

    Attach some screen shots to this thread, it might help to see your set up.

  • Hi there - great plug in, by the way.

    This may be an easy fix that I'm missing but just wondering if there is any way to dampen the rotation of selected ik pivots? So for instance I have a rig set up to animate an arm (see attached pics) that is arranged as a separate layer of artwork to the rest of the body. Is there any way to tell it to not affect the base (shoulder) null, as at the moment soon as I move the hand it also rotates the shoulder which obviously throws the artwork out? Or if I use the starch tool in Puppet will that translate through to the ik chain? Hope this makes sense, please let me know if not clear (and apologies if this has already been addressed elsewhere, can't see it though)
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  • Thanks for the note, Zen.

    I would start by trying the starch tool with the Puppet effect. The null controllers are linked directly to the puppet pins, so in theory they should behave exactly the same.

    The IK expression happens in real time so I'm not sure there is a way to dampen it's effect. It's something I will look into though.

    Let me know where you net out and what happens.
  • Hi there Greg, thanks for getting back to me - tried applying the starch but didn't seem to have any effect unfortunately. Hope it's a feature you can introduce in future updates!
  • Zen - Thanks for the update. It’s on my R&D list.
  • Hi Greg,
    a pins to layers option would be handy !
  • Shane - What type of layer — solid/shape?
  • just standard plain new layers Greg if possible please ( with size options).