Bring Your Characters to Life: How to Set Up Files for Rubberhose Character Animation in After Effects

Whether you’re a seasoned motion graphics designer or just starting out, Rubberhose is an essential tool for creating dynamic and engaging character animations. However, before you start the fun part (animating), you’ll need to properly prepare your Illustrator files for use with the Rubberhose plugin in After Effects. Here’s how:

Step 1: Set Up Your Illustrator File

The first step in setting up your files for Rubberhose character animation is to create a properly formatted Illustrator file. Make sure that your character is divided into separate layers for the body, arms, legs, head, and any other appendages or accessories. Each layer should have a clear and descriptive name.

Step 2: Import Your Illustrator File into After Effects

Next, import your Illustrator file into After Effects by selecting “File” > “Import” > “File” and selecting your Illustrator file. Make sure to select “Composition – Retain Layer Sizes” in the import dialog box.

Step 3: Create Limbs Using Rubberhose 

Now, it’s time to create your Rubberhose limbs. First, open the Rubberhose panel, then click the “New Hose” button in the Rubberhose panel to create a new limb. You can adjust the length, thickness, color, and other parameters in the Rubberhose panel. Repeat these steps for each new limb. With Rubberhose 3, you can also now convert any two-point path from your art file into a Rubberhose.  

Step 4: Animate Your Character

Now that your character is properly rigged, you can start animating! Use the Rubberhose controls to create dynamic and expressive animations that bring your character to life.

Ross Plaskow is a phenomenal animator who has helpful tutorials on how to achieve common movements with Rubberhose (and he also happens to be hilarious).

Rubberhose 2 is an incredibly useful After Effects plugin that enables you to create highly adaptable character rigs. By combining the flexibility of Rubberhose with the precision of Adobe Illustrator, animators can design engaging characters with lifelike movement. With its user-friendly interface and wide range of customization options, Rubberhose 2 is a must-have tool for any animator seeking to create dynamic and captivating animations. 

Happy animating!

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