Bring life to your Adobe Fresco brush strokes using the Puppet Pin tools in Adobe After Effects.

Digital advertisement for Curioso Gifts & Antiques shows animation of boy with wolf mask.

What you'll need

Any reference to “Curioso” is for demonstration purposes only and is not intended to refer to any actual organization, products, services, or creative work.

To start, output your Adobe Fresco artwork in PSD format, or feel free to use our sample PSD. Tap the Share icon and then choose Publish & Export > Export As > PSD. Save it to a location you’ll be able to access on your desktop computer.

Boy with wolf mask is exported to PSD file format.

Open the exported PSD file in Adobe Photoshop on your desktop. Chances are, the file you exported from Adobe Fresco contains layers that should be consolidated to simplify the animation process. For example, you might merge layers so you can animate them in unison or ungroup artboards so that you end up with a simple layer structure. Crop or resize the final artboard so that the aspect ratio (probably 16 x 9) matches your video project.

Composition of boy with wolf mask is opened in Adobe Photoshop and cropped. Layers are displayed and consolidated.

Import the cleaned-up PSD file into After Effects (File > Import > File) as Composition – Retain Layer Sizes. Leaving the playhead at the beginning of the comp, select the layer you want to animate and then click the Puppet Position Pin tool (Command/Control+P). Make sure Show is checked next to Mesh in the toolbar. Click in the Composition panel to place the first Puppet Position (yellow) pin; you’ll see a mesh of triangles fill the rest of the object. Adding more pins updates the mesh. Puppet Position pins anchor the parts you don’t want to move — until you reposition the pins.

Boy with wolf mask is imported into After Effects. Puppet Position Pin tool with mesh is used to pin areas not to move

Press Command/Control+P repeatedly to cycle through the available Puppet Pin tools. The Puppet Starch Pin tool adds red rigidity pins to the parts you want to remain stiff. The Puppet Bend Pin tool (brown pins) scales and rotates. The Puppet Advanced Pin tool (green pins) allows you to scale and rotate an object, as well as move that point. Click an existing pin in the Comp panel to move it, activate its rotation handle, or delete it. For fun, keep adding pins so you can see how easy it is to distort your artwork. You can always undo those changes to get back to where you started. 

Puppet Pin tools are used to add rigidity, scale and rotate, and move points.

Move the playhead in small increments and adjust the pins to suit your animation style and achieve smooth motion. To make the animation loop seamlessly, copy the first set of keyframes at the start of the comp and paste them on the last frame.

Keyframes are added to the animation for smoothness. First set of keyframes are copied to the end to create loop animation

Once you’re happy with how your design distortions animate using the Puppet Pin tools, keyframe other layers in your comp to complete the look of your final motion graphic.

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