What Is The Puppet Tool?

Could someone please explain, or point to a detailed description of the puppet tool feature? 




  • edited November 2017

    Here's a video about After Effect's puppet tool.   Does the Hitfilm puppet tool work about like this? 


    Can anyone point to a video of the Hitfilm puppet tool in action?


  • I messed with the Puppet tool quite a bit before the new release, and posted a couple samples (below) to my Clever Tagline channel. Haven't had time to put together a full tutorial yet, but something is in the works.




  • Puppet tool must be a new feature in Hitfilm, right?  Searched google and youtube, can't seem to find much of anything about it.

    If Hitfilm's puppet tool is about like AE puppet tool or better, somebody needs to get bragging about it, cause it looks pretty darn awesome.   What I'm hoping for is a video just like the one above, for the Hitfilm puppet tool.

    Had I found such content today, I just might have been sucked in to the Hitfilm shopping cart by the great Cyber Monday deal. 

  • I'm very likely going to be creating at least one Puppet tool tutorial/demo. Just a matter of scheduling the time among everything else.

  • That's great JS, look forward to it, thanks.

  • can someone explain or make a short introduction of the entire puppet-effect? sometime this effect work, sometime nothing happens. whats happen with edit/animating

  • I hear you. I would like to see a detailed demo of the Puppet Tool myself.

  • "Greeting  Card"   tutorial  is  Tops .  a  Puppet Master , without  Strings !

  • I have Hitfilm Pro and have used the puppet too. many times successfully  but now, everytime I try to add a second control point, My image disappears and I can't add anymore points I have tried 3D - 2D. I have opened the image in a new composite ( closed program and started new ) still no luck.

  • Hi, was playing (stress that word) with the puppet tool, and I want clarify a couple of things.

    1) In order for the puppet tool to work, does the puppet image need to be pre-keyed i.e. have an alpha channel. I noticed if I tried to use the luminance effect to key the black background it still found it and added puppet points to the edges of the image.

    2) Do masks work to limit the puppet area?

  • @Andy001z

    1) The source material needs its own alpha channel directly in the layer, not one created as an effect on the layer.  Do the Luminance Key in a separate comp, then drop that comp into your main comp, where you'll add the Puppet effect.

    2) Not to my knowledge.  See #1.  :)

  • Hmmm....

    I have the same issue as chefpat.  Sometimes when I add a 2nd control point in Puppet the image vanishes.  On other images I've been able to add many control points no problem.

  • Even attempting to move the first control point also results in image vanishing.

  • Is there any way to erase a control point?

    Is there a way to identify a control point?   As example, say you click on Position 1 in the Control Point list area.  Shouldn't that highlight that control point in the viewer?

  • @Jsbarrett yes I figured that out at the weekend, should of said that really. Need to play somemore but no time at the moment.

  • @PhilTanny The only way that I know of to erase a control point is to reduce the number of points for the effect, which just gets rid of whatever is on the end of the list.

    As for identifying points, I wish that the process you described worked, but as you probably know it doesn't.  As great as the tool may be now, I still kinda view it as a work in progress. Fingers crossed there will be improvements to its functionality in the future.

  • Control points can be deleted by holding shift and dragging the point off the grid. The mode can also be changed to Edit and then a point dragged off the grid.

    The puppet tool has had a lot of problems when I've tried it. It just doesn't work quite the way I expect it to or give me the information I want. It doesn't always work correctly with undo. It still feels like a work in progress.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    I think we can agree it's work in progress, as its workflow changed after the tutorial. ;) 

  •  Yeah hence it would interesting to here how it actually functions to better understand its workings.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    @Andy001z well, the short version is the tool is converting the bitmap layer into a 2d triangle-polygon structure. The "Edit" settings let the user adjust the tessellation of the image (increase/decrease polys as needed). Once control points are added they become "handles" to pull the mesh around. When moving a pin the tool attempts to deform the mesh around the current pin while leaving the rest of the mesh as static as possible.

    In some ways you can think of it as bezier warp on steroids. It's only very similar to how the Liquify tools in Adobe work.

    What's been throwing me is the "Rigidity Map." I would THINK this is using a grayscale layer to define polys that aren't stretched by the Puppet, but none of my test with grayscale images are doing what I think they should do. @InscapeDigital any advice there, buddy?

    Where the AE Puppet remains easier to use for the moment is that the AE Puppet has "Rigid" pins (i.e. don't deform this) and tools to further define rigid parts of the mesh--which loops back to the last paragraph... Also, I think the Ae puppet tool can define multiple meshes on a single layer, which makes it easier to isolate areas... I've never tried putting multiple instances of puppet on one layer... I'll be trying that in a minute.

    Puppet is designed to work on a still source image. The mesh is calculated once--I don't know if it's for the first frame of the clip or the current frame--but doesn't "auto update" for motion in a theoretical video source layer.

  • Yes @Triem23 seems very much geared towards still images.

  • Straight from one of the devs:

    "The rigidity map is used to control the stiffness of the springs, that are used to simulate the puppet.
    If the map is all the same color, then it wont have much of an effect, as all springs have the same stiffness.
    But if you have dark, and light regions on the map, the springs in the dark regions, will be bend more easily, then the ones in light regions."

  • @Triem23 I think I might've posted this in another Puppet-related thread (forget which one), but the quote from Javert essentially covered it.  The key thing to note is that the map affects spring stiffness.  It does not prevent the mesh from moving away from its default position in those stiffer areas.  The only way I've found to try to keep certain parts of a mesh from moving when other areas move is to load up a given area with lots of pins, and then also make that area rigid using a map.  I say "try" because I haven't found a way to make a given area completely immobile, no matter how many pins I place there, or how carefully I design the rigidity map.  It still shifts and slides a little.

  • Thanks for update, interesting.

  • Hi lovely humans!

    I just made a short basic tutorial. The feature isn't working quite as the christmas card tutorial says it does. Hopefully this will help you overcome the difficulties I first had.


  • @LividStripper Very nice and clear. Thanks for sharing!

  • I'm enjoying this tool a lot, but I am also having some problems to keep some parts of the image still.
    Now that I know how to use the rigidity map, I'll give it a try. =)
    Here's my first experience with the puppet tool, I used it to animate the bass player on the first 10 secs of the video.

  • @Bemolator Nice work! One thing to note about sharing videos to the forum is that you don't need to link to them externally. You can just put the link on its own line, and the forum will auto-embed it the next time you refresh the thread page.

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