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Say I want to use Photoshop's puppet warp to animate a (2D) character. I have a psd-file with a layer for each component that can be moved individually - e.g. a layer for the body, one for each arm, one for each leg, etc.

Now if I puppet warp the body, for example, all the other layers are misaligned and would need to be adjusted manually. Can I somehow rig across the layers or should I just export the layers as individual files, then re-assemble and animate the character in a different program, more focused on animation?

  • Honestly I wouldn't use puppet warp for animation, at least not for what you need it for. While I unfortunately cannot offer you any good alternatives, as I'm not an animator, I am familiar with puppet warp and that just seems like the last thing I'd want to use for it. – Hanna Nov 4 '15 at 2:20
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This tool moves the image mesh around the control pins you place. So, here is my suggestion, people with more experience with it than I may offer other ideas:

If you put two control pins close to each other and another one at a distance, the part of the image with the two pins will more or less remain unmoved. It may be difficult to keep the layer alignments but you can use the cluster-pin approach to lock a part "reasonably" steady. The pins act like fulcrum, one side moves down the other side goes up a little or a lot. The placement of multiple pins in close proximity to each other changes the dynamics.

Do you intend to use this to stage some kind of animation? For one set of movements you can manually line up the layers to cover for minor misalignment.

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