Paper STOP MOTION Masterclass (Using a Cricut) | Tortor Smith | Skillshare

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Paper STOP MOTION Masterclass (Using a Cricut)

teacher avatar Tortor Smith, Creative & Personal Growth Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

19 Lessons (5h 3m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Choosing Reference Footage

    • 3. Rotoscoping in Photoshop [Easy Method]

    • 4. Rotoscoping in AE [Example 1]

    • 5. Rotoscoping in AE [Example 2]

    • 6. Get Designs CUT READY [One Layer]

    • 7. Get Designs CUT READY [Multi-Layers]

    • 8. Cutting Single Layer [Part 1]

    • 9. Cutting Single Layer [Part 2]

    • 10. Cutting Multi-Layers [Part 1]

    • 11. Cutting Multi-Layers [Part 2]

    • 12. Sticking Layers

    • 13. Cleaning Up Imperfections

    • 14. Animating Your Cutouts [BASIC]

    • 15. Animating Your Cutouts [DYNAMIC]

    • 16. Image Editing [Basics]

    • 17. Image Editing [Advanced]

    • 18. Stitching Your Film

    • 19. Machine & Tool Maintenance

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About This Class

Who Is This Course For? This course is for people of all abilities, although I believe that having previous stop motion experience is a huge benefit, especially if wanting to achieve more complex ideas. There will be something for everyone and the skills learned can be applied in so many different ways. Once you have mastered the process and the steps required you can literally take things whichever way your imagination wants to go. 

What Will You Learn? I will be teaching a dynamic paper cutout process (using a Cricut machine) at varying levels of complexity, from a single colour silhouette style to a four-layered cutout character. You will learn the whole process from how to choose the right reference footage to final delivery for upload online and everything in-between. This course is detailed and comprehensive - it is jam packed full of value, over four (actually over five) hours of content + useful notes + top tips.

 What Will You Need?

  • A Cricut Explore Air (or similar cutting machine)

  • Dragonframe software (or equivalent) + a compatible camera. So long as your software has onion skinning and a line-up layer capability you are all good and can apply the teaching.

  • Adobe Creative Suite (specifically Photoshop) or equivalent image editing software

  • After Effects and Premiere Pro are optional extras - if you don't have them you will still be able to take this course.

  • Some reference footage 

  • Some coloured card and (or) paper

  • Time, patience and good organisational skills

​How Are Lessons Arranged? This course is broken down into easily digestible lesson chunks, some comprising of multiple videos, as well as a PDF downloadable with written notes. Together the lessons will take you through the complete process of creating dynamic paper cutout stop motion animations, as well as some bonus lessons to bring you even more value. 

What Will You Be Able To Do After Taking This Course? Upon completing this course you will be able to create any paper cutout animation you can think up that you want to animate in a 3-dimensional space. All teaching in this course will be relying on reference footage too so no drawn animation skills are required, other than being able to rotoscope (essentially trace over footage). For any hand drawn animators out there though, that want to translate their own unique drawings into paper form, this method is perfect for you too.

If you enjoyed this class you might also like my class on the Fundamentals of PRO Movement here.

Alternatively check out some other great stop motion educators on the platform too.

Meet Your Teacher

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Tortor Smith

Creative & Personal Growth Coach


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1. Introduction: Hello, and welcome to this dynamic paper cutout stop-motion animation course. I'm Tortor and I'm going to be taking you through the whole process of how to create some super cool triple-baked animation, just like this stuff here. We're going to be covering everything. By the time that you come away from this course, you'll be able to turn any piece of reference footage into a cute and adorable little paper cutout animation, and this is going to blow your friend's mind. It is incredible what you can achieve with this technique. I started using this technique about five years ago. I bought myself this cricket machine and I thought, why not use this for animation? Nobody else seemed to be using it for animation at the time or not that I could find online. I created this multistage process that meant that I could turn any piece of reference footage into paper form and then animate that really dynamically to create some really cool stop-motion work. If that's a technique that you want to master and you want to start showing off to all of your friends and fans, then come on the journey with me and I will walk you through the entire process. This course have over four hours worth of learning. I have really gone in-depth and I have tried to cover every single thing that I could think of that you might need to know, as well as additional bonus lessons and advice too. [MUSIC] 2. Choosing Reference Footage: In this lesson, I'm going to be talking about how to choose good reference footage. This is going to ensure that you have successful results before you even start. [MUSIC] Not all reference footage is good and I'm going to outline some reasons why certain footage might be difficult to work with and why other footage might be more preferential. To create animation in this way, we're going to need to isolate the subject matter from a piece of footage to create images that the cricket can interpret and therefore cut out. To do this, you have to obviously mask and select your subject. Now there are lots of different ways of doing this. I'm going to go through some in this course. If your background is busy, if there's a lot going on, if the colors are similar to your subject, it can be challenging. To make your life easier, you might want to choose footage that has a plain background or if you're shooting your own footage, which is obviously something that hopefully a lot of you will be doing, maybe use a green screen or a blue screen and shoot your subject matter performing in front of that. That's going to make your life so much easier when you cut out your footage. These clips that I'm going through now are clips that other people have created and put online for people like you and I to use. I source clips in this way because I wanted to have a variety of examples, and I wanted to be able to teach lots of different techniques and how to solve different problems that you might encounter with the different clips that you choose. First up, we have this gorgeous little cat. The good aspects of this clip are the secondary motion. We have got the tail moving nicely, there was a little bit of licking at the beginning, and also there's good floor contact. There are points of stability and there's dynamic motion. The bad thing might be that the character is already in frame, but that might not be a problem for you. It depends what you're doing. Next up, we have the dancer. This was good because it's dynamic. There's a lot going on. This would look super impressive if you brought it to life with card, and also there are good things, stable parts that you can follow to animate with. The bad point might be that those shoes are a similar color to the background, so rotoscoping will be a bit more tricky. Third up, we have the BMX, and this is good again because it's dynamic. The way that it comes forward and swings around is going to look really cool and it's also got the potential to loop. The bad thing, again, just like the one before, is that the background and the actual subject are similar in colors so actually selecting and isolating the subject and rotoscoping things will be challenging. Here we have a skateboarder. He's flicking his skateboard around his foot. I like this. It's dynamic as well. I like the movement. If you bought this clip to life with paper, it would look really impressive. I also like this clip for the potential to have multiple colors too. But again, the background is really good, but you might want to think about the closeness of color with the pavement and the actual board. Here we've got the squirrel that I animated. I like this clip because it was simple and it was subtle. I think that there was a lot of character that you could get across in a single color. You could say that the bad parts are that there wasn't a lot going on, which meant that you needed a longer clip to really get a feel for what was happening. Obviously that takes longer to animate. Also when the squirrel moves quickly on a few frames, it's quite blurry, which is hard to rotoscope. Next up, we have another squirrel and I think that this clip is good because there's a prop in there. There's this little post that the squirrel sits on and you could have that as a physical prop in your scene. This makes it more dynamic and I like that idea. Bad points, it would be very hard to do. I think that this would be incredibly challenging and you would definitely need to have some advanced skills going on to do this really well. Next up, we have got a tortoise. I really enjoyed this clip because it was similar to the one where I animated my dog, Lily, in that you could have your own hand in there interacting with your cutout. Your hand could come in and bring in a green piece of card and then the tortoise could take that from you. The only bad point on this one is that the floor is a similar color to the tortoise so that may be challenging to rotoscope, especially if you're using the Roto Brush tool in After Effects. Next up, we have another tortoise. Similar here, there's something that the tortoise is interacting with. This makes it more dynamic. You can have multiple colors, or you could even have that grape as a physical piece of clay that your paper tortoise interacts with. Again, going back to my example with Lily where there was a piece of clay that became a ball and she then pulled that ball out of the scene, you can have a piece clay that was in the scene as this grape and therefore the paper tortoise could interact with your clay grape. I think that that would be super duper cool and dynamic. Again, with this clip, same bad point. The carpet color is quite close to the color of the tortoise. But if you're choosing to use the method in Photoshop where you paint over a frame by frame, as long as your eyes can distinguish the edges, it's not going to be a problem. Finally, we have got this adorable doggy with a sign around his neck. I thought that this was a cute idea because the card around his neck could be left plane and you could write wherever you wanted on in post-production. You could change that, send it to different people. You could use the same animation for different purposes. This clip is also good because look at the background, it is dramatically different from the subject matter. Keying that out will be insanely easy and the Roto Brush tool shouldn't have many challenges with this at all. If you're doing it in Photoshop, that should be easy as well. The only bad point might be that there isn't a lot of movement happening, but that doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. There's not much else that I can say about this one. It's pretty good. Just to recap, let me list the good and bad qualities to look out for when deciding on what you want to animate and bring to life in this way. Some good qualities, adequate contact with the floor. Make sure that your subject matter, the character that you've chosen, has got good points of contact, good things that you can observe and follow when you're animating. Secondary motion. Things like tails or props, perhaps even adding in your own hands to the mix. How can you increase the dynamicness of your scene? Look for ways where you can interact things or yourself with your puppet. A simple background that doesn't clash with the colors of the subject matter. Potential for breaking the character into multiple colors. Having a multiple-layered character really does add that wow factor to animation. Nice clean shapes and easy to understand movement. Whatever the animation is, you want it to be legible. Perhaps if you've gone with a single color silhouette, if the movement isn't very clear, it might be hard for your audience to understand what the animation is. Make sure that there's some clarity there as well. Some bad qualities to try and avoid. Your subject matter and the background being similar in color, or just the background being quite busy and hard to distinguish against your character. Your character or subject matter moving around fast and that being blurred frames which are much harder to rotoscope. Often there's a lot of guesswork involved. Things being too static and the movement being unclear. Make sure that the animation is going to be readable by your viewer. The last thing to avoid is unnecessarily long sequences. Only animate as much as you need to. Make sure you clip your reference footage down as short as you can before you start the process. Now I've got all of those clips that you just saw in Premiere Pro. Before we are going to start the process and start animating, we want to prepare these clips to use for reference. What you want to do is you want to create a new sequence. I'm going to set that to 24 frames per second and title it dancer because I'm going to get the dancer clip sorted out first. Then in that new sequence, I'm going to grab the dancer clip and I'm going to bring that in. Now what you want to do is you want to select precisely the piece of animation that you want to rotoscope. I'm going to scrum through this clip and decide how much of it I want to animate. Do I want to animate the full clip or do I just want to animate a section of it? It'd be nice if I could get the dancer to loop. I'm going to duplicate this clip just to see if it does loop, if there's a way of linking it together so that I could post this on Instagram and it would just endlessly loop forever. I've got a feeling I might not be able to make it work, but it's worth a try. If you're choosing a clip for yourself, having things loop is really fun. Put a bit of time to doing that and playing around because if that is possible that it could make your animation even more spectacular. To do that, just simply copy the clip and right-click copy and then paste, and then put that next to it on the timeline. Then just keep shaving away, decreasing frames off to see if things line up. You essentially wanting to do a match cut so you're wanting the motion to match. You can see here that it's jumping. It's not really lining up and I don't think that it's going to be possible to get this to loop. In which case, I'm just going to use the clip as it is. It's about six seconds long. That's not too long so I'm happy to animate the whole clip. Then we just want to export it out. We go to File, Export Media, and then we are going to choose where we want this to export to. I've got a folder called video reference clips and I'm going to pop this in there. I'm going to set this to the YouTube 1080P HD preset, which is available in the Premiere Pro in the latest version in the drop-down. That's what I'm going to do for my preset. I'm making sure that the frame rate is 24 frames per second and I have selected use maximum render quality because that ensures things come out as best as they can. Then I'm just going to click "Export". You want to do this with your clip. We're going to be animating at 12 frames per second. Now because I am not able to explain how all editing software can export at lower frame rates, I've kept mine at 24 frames for the purposes of this course. By exporting at 24 frames, we will just be ignoring every other frame when rotoscoping, which will give the exact same result as exporting at 12 frames per second. But if your video editor can export at 12 frames per second and you know how to do that, then please do. If you're using Premiere Pro and you want to explore 12 frames instead, then I am now going to show you how to do it. As usual, you go up to File, Export, and then we will want to have the output setting set to custom. Lower down where it says frame rate, we want to untick that box next to it and change the number in the dropdown to 12. This will change how your footage exports and it will export it at 12 frames per second. Then you will want to animate all of your frames when it comes to rotoscoping in the next steps. Just to reiterate, I kept my frame rate at 24 frames per second to show you that you can still make sense of this footage later in the process. Even if you only want to animate at 12 frames per second, you can still work with a 24-frame per second video clip. I'll be explaining this the whole way through the process so don't worry about that right now. But then we've got our clip all exported and ready. In the next lesson, I'm going to be showing you how to rotoscope the subject matter of your footage in Photoshop. 3. Rotoscoping in Photoshop [Easy Method]: [MUSIC] Now that you've chosen your reference footage for your animation, I'm going to show you the first method of how to isolate your subject matter through rotoscoping in Photoshop. We're going to bring our footage in and we're going to paint over it. This technique I'm going to show in Photoshop is for everyone and you can do it on any piece of reference footage providing that your eyes can distinguish the edges of your character, then this technique will work. It's not the most common way of rotoscoping. A lot of people will use different selection tools and every way of selecting this object is going to be quite time-consuming. We're going to have to do literally hundreds for our piece of animation. I like this method because it's accessible to everyone. You don't need to know about masks and all those more complicated tools. It literally just involves painting on top each frame, and you can use your mouse, or if you have one, you can even use a graphics tablet too. Let's open up Photoshop and get started. Once you've got Photoshop open, you want to go up to File, Open and we're going to bring our footage in. I'm bringing my squirrel reference footage into Photoshop. Now, you'll notice at the bottom of the screen there's a timeline. We're going to need this feature, but if it's not showing, I'll just show you by taking it away, you go up to Window and scroll down to timeline and make sure that there's a tick next to that. That will make sure that your timeline appears in your screen at the bottom. Now here we can see our squirrel footage playing through. You can use the slider at the bottom to expand or to minimize the timeline. Basically you can see here the frames. We're going to be doing this at 12 frames per second. This footage is at 24 frames per second. That's how we set it up in our editor before we pull that in. For every single frame we are going to hold for two frames we're doing on twos. That's what that means. We create a new layer on top of our footage and we essentially are going to just trace over wherever our subject matter is. In this case it's our squirrel. The best way to do that, I think because it means you can trace over any piece of footage at all, is to just use the paintbrush tool. You can hand draw this using the mouse if you prefer to work that way, or you can get a graphics tablet and you can use a pen and you can trace over with the pen tool like that. You can see that that layer we've just created that we're going to draw on has populated into the timeline. I'm just pulling that across to get it to last two frames. This is how long our first picture is going to be, two frames long. Then for the tool, the brush tool, we want to go for a hard edge and a fairly small brush. My method for doing this is to first trace the outline of the subject matter. You just want to go around the subject. The best way to do this is to zoom in a bit. You can make a point and then you can hold down shift and make a point somewhere else and it would join the gaps. This really speeds things up and makes things a lot faster going around and so try and do this as accurately as you can. When we have gone round the entire outline of our subject we'll then fill this in with the bucket tool. Now, another method of rotoscoping in Photoshop, if you prefer, if you're not keen on using the paintbrush tool, maybe you want a bit more control. You can also use the pen tool. I'm not going to explain that in this class because I want to explain a method that is useful for everybody. I think that anybody can use the brush tool. The pen tool requires a little bit more skill. If you're new to using it, you've got to use the Beziers to change the curve and all that sort of thing. It's more complicated. This is really simple and it works just as well for our purposes. You're going around the entire edge of the character just like this. I chose this example as well because the tail is a challenge to rotoscope around similarly to when something's moving fast and you get a bit of a blurred image. Well, it's a bit scruffy and the edges aren't clear. Trying to rotoscope over that and get it consistent is going to be hard. But I want to show you that in this paper cutout form that actually it doesn't matter too much. You can be a little bit irregular because the actual main part of our subject matter is quite still. The squirrels body remains fairly still throughout all of the frames. Having a bit of movement in the tail makes it a bit more dynamic. As you see other lessons in this course, you'll hear me mention about stillness and focusing on what isn't moving as much as what is moving. If you've got something that's fairly still then there's a fluffy element like the squirrels tail, try not to worry too much about getting it really accurate. Because when we rotoscoped all of the images, we can play through together and preview how it's gonna look. If there's anything you're not happy with, you can go in there and you can correct it and change it before we go to cut it out. There were plenty of opportunities to finesse and perfect your drawings. With this squirrel image as well, we've got an issue where his tail is going off screen and I want my squirrel to be in the frame fully. I'm just going to go in with the eraser tool and subtract some of that outline I've just drawn to make sure that the tail is fully in frame. This is something if you make a mistake, it's so easy to correct because you can just use the eraser tool. Then like I said before, we're going to fill our character with the paint bucket tool. You'll notice that it doesn't quite fill it perfectly. It will leave a gap between the outline and the middle, and you just want to go back in with the paintbrush tool and just paint over the gap that is left. This part of the process might be a little bit slower with the pen tool I mentioned. Some of you might know how to use that already. If you're going around a subject with the pen tool, you can fit it automatically and you won't have this problem. But I can't seem to find a way that this doesn't happen. Takes a little bit more time, but it's worth it and you'll get really good results. Like I say, I like the control this method has. People are judgmental. People like proper ways of doing things. This is a proper way of doing things. It may seem quite basic, but the paintbrush tool allows you to rotoscope anything, any piece of reference footage you can turn into paper form because as long as your eye can determine the edge of an outline, you can paint over it, whereas other methods of selecting your subject, well, they're just not perfect and if I was trying to select this squirrel using a selection tool, it would get so confused by the busyness of the background and it would probably take just as long, if not longer, to get a good selection because I'd constantly be having to correct the selection that the computer had made and thought was correct. I always say this, go with what you prefer. If you don't like my methodology. This is showing it for people who just want to get started and get results. But if you have a preference, a different way of selecting your subject, go with that. It's not important as long as you're able to create a solid image for each frame that you want to have in your animation, then it doesn't matter how you've done it. I'm going to be showing you the whole process, so how to get these ready for the cricket machine and then how to cut them out. You just need to have solid color images for every frame that you want in your animation. There we have our first squirrel or rotoscoped lovely. Now we are going to move along and create a new layer, which will become our second frame. Now you can see again that first frame, last two frames, because we're working on twos, so you're going to miss out that in-between. To create a new frame I'm just going to duplicate it because it's easier and it keeps it at the correct duration. What you can do, because this squirrel is not moving very much in our sequence, you could keep the first image and go in there with the eraser tool and just make adjustments. What I've done here is I've dropped the opacity so we can see our squirrel through and you can go in there with the eraser tool and you can just correct the edges for the next image. That's a method that might save you some time or you can go in there with a blank new layer and do the same process again, draw around the edge with the paintbrush tool and then fill it in. It's up to you wherever it is, ergonomic to you, whichever method you feel works best and your most happiest doing. But this is just a way of perhaps saving you a little bit of time. If there's not a lot of change from image to image, you can just go in there, duplicate the layer that you've just made, and then just either add with the paintbrush tool or takeaway with the eraser tool. There we have our second frame made. You can see the difference between the two, is a little mouth opens and shuts and there's a bit of wiggle in the tail. Like I said before, this is a point where you can decide, do you like that movement in the tail, or whatever is on your subject or do you not? A great way in animation to decide this is to just flip between two frames. You can always take the visibility of your drawn layers off and look at that reference footage and look how that changes from frame to frame and decide whether your drawings match up as you would hope. Obviously, there's creative license involved as well. With animation, you can change things slightly if you want. You could add another element to the character that it doesn't exist in the reference footage. You could add a hat to the squirrel, or you could add a cape, make them look like a super squirrel. The artistic license is down to you. You can literally trace which is what I'm doing. Or you can even extend the drawing and change it slightly. That's the great thing about rotoscoping is that you don't have to literally trace. You can change things and do whatever you want really. But that's it. It's so simple. This is how you rotoscope on live-action reference footage. It's going to take you a while. This clip is about 10 seconds long, so I have to do over 100 images. But there's nothing difficult about it. It's just having the patience and the will to keep going. If you're short on patience, choose a shorter clip. But honestly, the only factors that are going to play into this specific technique, or how much time you are willing to put in and the determination you have to see it through from start to finish. I just wanted to make a quick point as well. Obviously, I've only shown you the first two drawings in this squirrel sequence. There are going to be over 130 altogether to animate this clip. Now, it's super important people, to be organized and to label what you're doing. You will notice in the panel on the right-hand side where I've got my layers, I have labeled squirrel 1, squirrel 2, squirrel 3, squirrel 4, each layer has a name and straightaway. If I go and find that layer, I know exactly what it is. Also when you're creating a document with over 100 layers, it can get quite difficult to navigate. There's a lot of layers there. What I have done is I have put each second of footage. In our case here, at 12 frames per second, every 12 images into a new folder. I've named them second 1, second 2, second 3, and so on. This means that in our timeline things look a lot neater as well because you'll see if I expand out all these seconds. You're going to have to do a lot of scrolling to navigate the timeline and that can get really quite annoying. But by putting them into groups, by second, it means that we can now see the whole timeline in one view and we don't have to navigate up and down, like which is really annoying, and to create a new folder if you're in Photoshop. On the right-hand side in that layers panel at the bottom, there's this icon that looks like a folder. You literally want to click on that and it will create a new group. Actually, if you double-click on the word group, you can change your name. Then you can drag other layers and put them into the group. It's really, really easy. That's how you do that. I'm not going to get rid of that group, I don't need it. I just wanted to make a little point now in case some of you are already getting started with the process. Keep everything organized, label all of your layers no matter what software you're using. If you can organize your layers into folders that make sense, I decided to go with seconds. You might want to go with something else, but this will keep everything neat and tidy because we're going to need to transport all of this later on into a new document so that we can get these ready and cut out on the cricket machine. Organization is key. This technique is all about staying organized and about labeling things because there are so many points in the process where things can go wrong if you haven't labeled things correctly. Right Right the beginning, get into the habit of labeling your layers and everything will go to plan and be a lot easier. In the next lesson, I'm going to show you another method for rotoscoping your footage, this time in After Effects using the new Roto Brush, tool it's pretty clever. 4. Rotoscoping in AE [Example 1]: In this lesson, you're going to learn a second method for how to write a Scorpio footage. This time we're going to be an After Effects in the Beta version, where they have the new Roto Brush 2. Honestly, this is an incredible tool and it will likely save most of you a lot of time. I also recommend this method if you want to have a multi-layered character as well. I'm going to be showing you how to use it, how to export it so that we can then put it into Photoshop and get it ready to be cut out on the cricket as well. Everything will be covered. Let us open up After Effects and get started. Our second method for rotoscoping is in After Effects. You want to go up to File, Import and we're going to bring in our reference footage just like we did in Photoshop. I'm going to select the DanceClip for this one and then click Open. That brings in and just want to drag that down to the timeline. To be able to use the Roto Brush 2 tool, you have to double-click on the clip and that will open it up. Then to select the Roto Brush, you can select the icon from the top. It looks like a little figure with a paintbrush tool, or if you want a shortcut, you can press Alt plus W, which is option W on a Mac and that will bring up the Roto Brush 2. It's similar to Photoshop in that we're drawing over our character. You want to try and draw within the confines of your characters edges, and you see that this green stream of paint just fills the area wherever your drawing and this will make a selection of your edges. If you want to change the size of your brush, you can just use the normal brush tools on the right-hand side, or you can hold down Control and Left-Click on your mouse. Then you can change the brush size by simply moving your mouse up to go bigger or down to go smaller. If you find that your brush size is too big or too small, then that's a quick and easy way to change the size of your brush. Now if there is a part of this selection that maybe you don't want, you can easily take that away as well. If you've got the Roto Brush 2 selected and you hold down Alt whilst you are drawing, you'll notice it changes from green to red. This means that wherever you are now drawing is going to take away the selection. This will help you to make corrections along the way because the computer doesn't always get things right. This clip works quite well because our character is quite different in color from the background. But they're all going to be points where the trainers in particular are in the air, and they're very close in color to the background, so the AI is going to have difficulty in making the right guess at where our subject is. The main thing to remember with this technique is to make the selection as good as possible because the computer will essentially try and work out future frames from the information that you've made. The more accurate your that selection is, the more likely that the computer will get it right. Do zoom in and make use of both the selection tool and the removing tool with the holding down Alt. Now below your selection on the screen, there are these other buttons that you compress. You can make a silhouette selection which shows you more clearly how your cutout is going to look. You can also put a red mask up, so everywhere there's red is going to be removed and your character will be visible in the middle. You may find these helpful to help you see this selection because sometimes it's a little bit unclear with the pink outline that you get around your subject. You can keep this red mask on screen whilst you're still adjusting your selection. Then basically what you're going to do is you're going to move along the timeline to the next frame, to rotoscope. You'll see the computer's selection based on the information you gave it, and then you just want to go in and correct it. But our footage here is 24 frames per second, and we're going to be animating this at 12 frames per second. That means we want to correct every other picture. To do that, we're starting at Picture 0. For every even frame number, we're going to go and correct the rotoscoping. We'll leave the odd ones because we'll delete them afterwards and it won't matter. It's going to mean half the amount of work for you because instead of doing every single frame making it perfect, we're going to just be doing half of them. You want to move along to Frame 2, and then correct the next image and then go up to Frame 4 and 6 and 8 and so on, all the way through your sequence. As well for this character, we are having multiple layers. You want to pull your dancer footage down onto the timeline again and make a separate layer. We're going to do the rotoscoping again, but this time just for the character's shirt. Because the hair is a similar color, I'm going to include the hair too. Exactly the same process, you select the Roto Brush 2 tool by holding down Alt plus W or on a Mac Option plus W and that will bring up the Roto Brush 2 tool, and then you will draw on with the green pen color to make your selection. If anything is incorrect, hold down Alt and you'll get the red one up and you can take away. On another layer for all of the frames, Frame 0,2,4,6,8, we're going to go through and we're going to now rotoscope just the shirts to create another layer. We'll be exporting all these separate layers of PNG sequences from After Effects, which I will also be showing you how to do. But I think that this method using the Roto Brush 2 is an incredible time-saver, especially when you are doing multi-layered projects. It's a lot easier to organize because you just have one layer for each layer in After Effects, whereas in Photoshop there's one layer for each frame and you have to organize it all in folders and it can be quite confusing, but this keeps everything simple to start with before bringing it into Photoshop later on. Then after the t-shirts are complete, you want to pull your sequence in again, and this time we're going to be doing the pants, the trousers. You're just going to be wanting to rotoscope the trousers in exactly the same way, so we're creating a third layer on top. Keep these all in the same composition, and when we're exporting, we will keep one layer visible and hide the rest so we can just keep exporting from the same sequence. Like I said before, do try and make sure that your selection is as accurate as possible because that'll really help the AI understand how to make the best selection for the frames moving forward. But you are going to need to go through and correct because it does make mistakes, but this method is definitely quicker than the tracing method in Photoshop. Finally, the trainers. That will be the last layer. You can select multiple parts. They don't have to be joined together, so we can make a selection of one trainer and then another trainer, and that will all become just one layer. Like I said, these are going to be slightly problematic for me because the background color of the scene is very close in color to the trainers. No matter how carefully I'm trying to select them, the computer is still struggling to trust that my judgment is correct and find the edge, but it'll get there, so be persistent, and to avoid this problem, then perhaps choose or shoot a piece of reference footage that has got a very distinguishably different color in the background, or do the tracing method in Photoshop where you just need your eyes to trace over. We can see by going to the black and white view here, the isolation of that rotoscoping we did, we can see how that's looking, we can do that with the trainers, and then we can do that with the trousers, the pants. We can see how our hard work is paying off already. We can do with the shirt and the hair and then also with the bodies. This will take you hours. I'm not saying it's going to be super-duper quick, but it will be quicker than the photoshop method because I've tried both out. Just persevere and go for your sequence each frame at a time. If you're doing it at 12 frames per second like me and your footage is at 24, then, just correct every other frame. Here just for comparison sake, I thought I would show you the same frame that I rotoscoped using the roto brush too and after effects, I've pulled that into Photoshop as a PNG and I have also got a version that I started to rotoscope in Photoshop with the method you saw with the squirrel, just painting over, and you can see how close they are and there's not much between them. So the look is going to be similar, whether you did it in After Effects or Photoshop, which is good and also we'll be correcting things in Photoshop anyway. So if you've done all your rotoscoping in after effects with the roto brush too, then there may be things that don't quite line up when we stack all our layers together, and we'll be correcting those in Photoshop before we send it to the cricket machine. Don't worry if there's anything that's not quite right because it will all get corrected in the end. So I also thought I would show you how things look in After Effects if you place a solid color background behind your character. This gives you a little bit more of a feel how things might look in a cutout with something else in the background. So I've put that there just to show you how things are looking and with the different layers, and you can see there looks pretty good. I'm quite happy with this, and I'm quite happy with the fact that it saves a lot of time as well. So before you export, you may want to just improve their selection a bit further. To do this, on the left-hand side where it says project, you also got a window called Effect Controls, and you'll notice in here, that there are options to feather, and to shift the edge, to reduce the chatter, and these are going to soften the edge of your cutout, and make it less harsh. Put my cutout at zero, and I've decided to shift my edge by 10. That essentially just widens the selection slightly, and again, it helps to just smooth things out and get a neater selection. So my advice to you would be to have your edge shift, Shift Edge at 10 percent and to put your feather at eight. I've played around having the feather higher, putting it at 10 or even 15 and it just looks a little bit too soft and you lose the detail. I definitely would say that having the feather at eight and the shift edge at 10 seems to give really quite a nice results. Then when all of your rotoscoping is done, you've gone through the entire sequence and you've created all the layers that you need, so in my case, the body, the trousers, the t-shirt, and the trainers, we're now at a point where we want to export all of these from After Effects to be able to bring them into Photoshop. To do that, we're going to create a PNG sequence. We're going to go up to composition, and then add to Render Queue, and we're going to click on the lossless drop-down. Here in the format, we're going to select PNG sequence, and on the video app, I'm going to put RGB plus Alpha just to be safe, but you shouldn't need to do that. Then on the output too you want to change the filename. I'm going to call this body because this is the body layer, and I'm going to save that in my paper course folder. Make sure that you've only got the body layer visible and that you've hidden all the other layers on the sequence, so that we just export the body layer as a PNG sequence. When you've got that all set up, well, all we have to do is press "Render". This will take a bit of time because it's got quite a lot of processing to do, and you'll notice that some of the frames that are popping up on screen look a bit weird. They don't look correct. That's because we were just perfecting the even frames, the ones that we want to animate with and not the odd numbers. That is why some of these images have been missing and they look a bit weird. But when these are all exported in a folder, we'll get rid of those, so we'll just have the images that we need. Now, I'm going to go through and I'm going to rotoscope top. We've gone back to the sequence window and we have selected just the top layer, made just that layer visible. Then we go to composition add to Render Queue. In lossless, we dropped down the format and go to PNG sequence, and just to be safe, we put RGB and Alpha, even though that shouldn't matter. For the output, we are going to call this one shirts because this is the shirt layer, and I'm going to put that in a new folder just to keep things organized as well. Then when you're happy with the location that you want to save your images, literally, you just going to click, "Render" again, and this will render out all of those images and put them all nice and tidy in a folder that we can find later. It's the same process with everything. Go back to the sequence. The next layer is the pants, the trousers, so I'm going to have just that one visible. I'm going to then go back to composition, add to render queue, all the same settings and will just render out that sequence of trousers. Then finally, I'll be doing that with the trainers too. Then when we have got all of our layers exported, we can go to that folder, in the body folder, open that up and we will see all of our PNGs for the body. But if we select a large chunk of images and play them through, you'll see that every other image pretty much will have something wrong with it. We're missing a piece of a leg or we're missing a bit of an arm, because we were not correcting the selection for every image. We just focused on the even images which we wanted to use in our animation. Now I'm going to go through, and I'm going to select each odd numbered image and I'm going to delete it, because we don't need it. I'm going to move it to the bin. Just right-click on the image you don't want and delete it, you just have to go through one at a time, but that will mean that we just have the correct images that we want to bring into Photoshop. That will mean that we won't get confused and everything will make a lot more sense then. The only way to get around this really would've been to export your reference footage originally at 12 frames per second or whichever frame rate that you wanted to work out. By having the reference footage at 24 frames, it gave me the option if I fancied to go all out and do it at 24 frames, but you'll see in all of the examples that I've done that 12 frames per second is perfectly adequate. Everybody loves OddMon. An OddMon make all of their feature films at 12 frames per second. I think it's much more charming frame rate than 24 frames, because 24 frames, it just often looks too smooth. You lose that human quality. You lose the charm of slow motion a little bit. My advice to you, do at 12 frames or do at 15 frames if you normally work at 30. You're going to want to go through every folder for this as well, every layer that you created. I've got my trainers, my shirts, and my trousers. You want to go through and take all of the odd numbers out in each folder so that we are discarding the ones we don't want. Then we're at a point where we're ready to bring this into Photoshop and start getting everything ready for the cricket machine to understand. 5. Rotoscoping in AE [Example 2]: I want to show you another example in the after effects better with this Roto Brush 2. I've loaded in my BMX footage for another example, and I wanted to show you this because it's pretty complex, and you've got other problems like we had with the dancer. It was moving fast, so that selection was not perfect every frame. With this character, we've got the problem that the color in the background at the top is really close to his hair color and that's going to be really problematic for selecting and isolating him from the scene. But let's show you what the Roto Brush tool can do again. We've got the BMX footage in our composition and I'm just going to double left mouse click on the layer and that's going to open it up. Then if we select the Roto Brush tool, you can go up to the top and click it there. Or you can use a shortcut which is just Alt W. Then if we zoom out a little bit, we can use the hand tool to move this within the Window. If you click H, you can move that and then Alt W to go back to the Roto tool. Now, you want to just do a drawing on top of the character, everything we want to roto and isolate. We want to have all of the bicycle as well. We're going to go over the BMX bike. I think it'd be nice to get the tires and the frame, but to perhaps keep the space in the middle of the tire empty because that could look really dynamic, and the cricket can cut out really intricately. We might as well try and do that. Let's see what selection this is made. You can see that's fairly good, but we have quite a lot of problems here. I'm going to zoom in and use the hand tool by clicking H to move around, and then go back to the Roto Brush tool. Now, you can see we've lost some of the head, so you can draw a little bit more to get some more of that head in. I'm pretty sure there is some more hair up here. Let us just widen that a bit more. Then also behind his ear, we're missing a bit of hair. You can see that it's selected above the shoulder here. If we hold down Alt, that would change to a red icon, and that means it will take away. We can remove the imperfection and if you've gone a bit too far, you can just release Alt and it will go green again and you can add to this selection. You can see that we have missed the handlebar here, so we can draw that in. We have now selected some of the environment that we don't want. If we hold down Alt, we can try and erase this. You can see that it's doing a fairly good job, but we've also lost some of the trouser here, and we've lost a bit of the hand and the handlebar. You just want to switch between holding down Alt and getting rid of what you don't want and then releasing Alt. There is green and then selecting what you do want, and this will take a bit of time. You can see that there's some environment here that we don't want so let's try and get rid of that. This tool is pretty clever, but it's not perfect. But you can see that the more you fiddle and the more that you guide it, the better it gets. We're going to try and do this the best we can. It learns. The more you're saying I want this piece, I don't want that piece, the more this tool learns and the better it gets basically. But this is a problematic image for many reasons. Primarily because we have got a lack of difference between the background image and the character itself. Trying to get the Roto tool to distinguish between the two is a bit of a challenge, but hopefully, I'm going to prove that is possible. But like I say, the other way of rotoscoping, which I showed you in Photoshop, where you simply trace over your character by painting is a method that means that you can literally trace over anything. If you're able with your eye to distinguish the difference between an object that you want to isolate and the background, then you can literally rotoscope. I guess it's just down to your own skill and your own eyesight. If you're finding that this method in after effects, even though it's incredibly clever, is just not working for you, you can go back to the basic way of doing it in Photoshop. It might take you a little bit longer, but if you really want to use a certain piece of footage, then it might be your only way of making this work. I've said before, there are many different ways of isolating a subject from a scene, but a lot of them do rely on a fairly plain background to get good results. The only way that you're going to be able to isolate something quickly is that, if you have filmed it yourself or you found a piece of footage that you are allowed to use, something royalty-free or something that you've paid for, that has a fairly plain background. Those dioramas where you pull down a scroll of colored paper and something's filmed against that just like you would a green screen, you would find that if the background was plain and of a color that was different to your subject, then this would be a really easy job and that the Roto Brush 2 would actually just figure it out. You wouldn't have to do so much of this correcting. But we're going to say, I'm going to persevere with this first frame. It will take a bit of time, but hopefully, this will mean that the software learns enough that the next frames are interpreted more correctly. That is what we're hoping for. You can see that if you persevere, this is getting a lot better. The selection is looking quite close to what I want already. You just got to go around the bike at the bottom. You can see we've lost a foot there now, so try and bring that foot back in. That's all right. We don't need this bit. This little space in the middle, get rid it of that. That's looking okay. With everything, if you want to do something properly, you've got to take the time to do it. Everybody wants a quick fix, don't they? There isn't always a quick fix. Sometimes things have to be done in a more involved process, a long-winded way. But if you love doing it and you really want to do it, then it's worth it and you'll spend the time to do that. Here's me presuming that you are a lazy person and you just want a quick result, but maybe you don't. Maybe you don't mind taking the time. I certainly don't mind taking the time. I'm doing multiple examples in this class because I just find it fun. Even though it takes a little bit of time to do it, I think it's worth it because the results are just so cool. The look on people's faces and they're like, how on earth if you've done that? It's incredible. I love that feeling. We're on the home stretch now. I'm just getting the last few pieces of the bicycle down here. Like I said, it would be nice to have this space inside the wheel that was empty. That would look quite cool, I think. I'm going to try and do that. Now, with all of the spokes, it might be a struggle. I'm not sure how well the poor little Roto Brush is going to cope with this, but we will give it our best go. Worst comes to the worst if I find that this isn't going to work, I will take it into Photoshop and do it that way instead. The thing that I do like about this method is that, if you accidentally forget to push down Alt and you select the wrong bit is quite easy to correct. It's quite easy to switch between selection and deselection. I'm quite happy with the tire there. Then we're going to do the same on the back wheel. Switch to H to move around the composition, and then we will go back to Alt W for the Roto Brush. Got a little bit of his heel here that I want to select, and we're going to feather this as well. It will smooth things out and it will look a little bit less jagged too. Try not to worry if it's looking a little bit messy. Let's try and improve this slightly. Almost perfect. I'm quite happy with that. Now we can use these tools here and we can see this in a black and white, see the cutout so that's how it's looking. We can pull this feather up a little bit here. On the left-hand side, you've got these options. We can feather this a little bit, we can bring this up, maybe to eight, and that's smooths it out quite a bit. We can start to see if there's anything that's still we're not quite happy with. There could be a little bit at the base of the wheel here, perhaps that could have improvement. I'm happy with that. Now, just as we did with the other ones, we're going to do this at 12 frames per second. We're going to do this on twos, which means that we only need to pay attention to every other frame. We're on zero, we're going to ignore Number 1 and we're going to drag and go straight to Number 2. Then we'll see what the selection is like. You can see that after effects has done a pretty good job here at detecting what we want. If we switch to black and white, you'll see that's looking pretty good. However, there are still some imperfections. If we zoom in, there are areas that we don't want and areas we do want that haven't been selected. We're going to have to go in and correct, just like we did with the dancer. But this method doesn't require redrawing in Photoshop like when you paint over. Every single frame, you have to paint over to create a new one. This one, it does a lot of the work for you, this method. Then you just have to correct. I think most people will find that the time it takes to correct the next image in the sequence in after effects is probably quicker than redrawing the next frame in Photoshop. Play around with the two techniques. Decide which technique works best for you. Perhaps you have a different method of isolating a character that you prefer. If you're using something with a plain background like I've mentioned before, that might work for you. If you've got a lot of business and similar colors in your environment to your character, then one of these two methods you might find perform better. I'm just showing you the tools in the process and the options, and it's down to you to make a judgment of what you think works best for you. But these are the reasons why I am teaching, the ways I'm teaching. I want to give you the options to use whatever footage that you want to use and these methods are going to be good for most footage, even really tricky ones like this. This is quite a challenging piece of footage to be rotoscoped basically. When you think of good animation, when you think of the feature films and how long it takes, they will be spending a whole day doing several seconds. If you're spending a whole day sorting out a sequence of maybe four or five seconds, then, it's a day, it's not too much. We have now selected our second frame and let's flip it to black and white to see that. That looks quite nice. We'll go back to the first frame. You can see it goes from that to that, that's looking good. We can actually play through the sequence and see how well it has guessed all of it. So we can click play now. As this is rendering, you can see it's not doing a completely bad job. We've spent about 30 minutes here so far and yes, there's a lot of problems happening, but you can see that the computer has kept the selection fairly accurately. This is not a perfect system. It's a tool that's in development. Like I said, it's dealing with a lot when you have backgrounds that are not clean. I think it's doing a pretty good job and you just going to have to go through and check every frame like I'm doing and then you will get perfect results. I'm going to do one more frame now, and then I will finish off the sequence and I'll come back and show you when it's finished. This is the third frame in our sequence, and we can see it's doing a fairly good job, but we have got those little things that have gone wrong. There's a little bit of handlebar missing here. We'll just re-select that tip of the handlebar, get that back in. Then we've got some more of the bars on the bike. We want this bit here and we want this bit here. Wow, it does get it wrong sometimes, doesn't it? It's just massively selected more than it should have but we can correct that. I think the more accurately, the closer you get around, the more intricate your path you create, the better that it will select. Don't be afraid to draw too much of a wiggly line. The more specific and wiggly you are, the more it's going to understand what you want to keep. I find that it does also help to create a path. Even if that could be finished, keep going and go all the way round because then it will better select. You can see it's done a much better job there. This bit we don't want, we're going to go all the way around following the t-shirt line, go right up into the armpit and back down the arm, and then across the handlebar. That should make a much better selection. You can see it's done a pretty good job, we've just got a little bit this gone wrong here and that was easily corrected. Then we've got this bit. Don't forget if you find that the roto brush is actually too big like the size of the brush, just like you would be painting normally, you got all these brush tools on the right-hand side that you can go and change the size of your brush with. If that isn't visible to you on your screen, then you can just go up to window and you'll have brushes. If that isn't ticked up here, then you can either press Command 9 on a Mac or Control 9 on a PC, and that will bring that up, or you can go up to the window panel and select it from there. Look how good a job is done on these wheels this time though. Honestly, I'm super impressed. I'm being a little bit ambitious with the amount of wheel detail I want to keep, it's probably going to take quite a bit longer adding in all of this space, the hole in the wheel I want to keep, but I think it'll be worth it because I think it'll look more dynamic. That's another thing you want to think about. You want to amaze your audience. You want this to be something that people think, wow, you've really gone to the effort there. Potentially, more people will want to share your work because if I can see that you've gone to more effort, then it's really showing the care and the skill and all of that so do think what more can you add. Could you add another layer to your character? Would that make it better or is there a bit of the design that you're willing to spend a bit more time rotoscoping so that it just has a bit more of that wow factor. I'm pretty happy with that. I'm going to zoom out. I'm going to go to black and white, I'm going to see how that looks. I'm just going to check with the previous frame how that's looking. That's looking pretty good, don't you agree? I feel like I want to keep asking your opinion, but I know that you can't interact with me. But I don't know what are your thoughts on the wheel, keep it open like this or have it solid? I think it's more dynamic, I'm going to keep it open. I know that's more work for me, but never mind. You'll notice on this left-hand side, I also changed it from standard, which is what it was originally on, to best. Started standard and then I had changed it to best. It seems to make a difference, so I'm going to keep it on there. I suggest you change yours to that too. If you want to shift the edge, if you think he may have got a bit close, you can shift the edge here and it will add or take away to your selection. I had it at zero, I might just put it on two, just add a little bit. You can keep feathering as well. You can increase your feather, you can try pulling this all the way up and see that's a little bit too much. We won't let us still be a clean line, so we don't want any of this blurring that you've got here. That's definitely too high. We pull that back down to about 10. Yes, it's looking all right at 10. But probably say maybe eight is optimum, I'm going to put that on eight. I've got my Shift Edge on two and my Reduce Chatter on 20 percent. That is how my selection is looking so far. Play it through one more time, and then I will continue the sequence on my own, and you can see it when it's finished. You can see it starts off good, gets a little bit messy, especially on that back wheel, but it's pretty good. I don't think this is going to take me too long to fix. We spent less than an hour so far, and let me just check. This whole sequence is only two seconds and eight frames. That is 28 images, and we've already sorted three out, and this is designed to loop. I want to put this on Instagram, and this guy is just going to be swinging his bike around forever. It's going to loop, loop, loop. Think about that with your ideas too, can you do something that loops? I will catch you again when I finished. I've now rotoscoped every other image in the BMX sequence. We can see that playing back here. It's looking pretty good. There are some bits that I'd like to improve slightly, but I'm going to pull all these images now into Photoshop and I'm going to do a few corrections in there. I'm going to use the same process that we did before with the dancer. We want to go up and we want to go to Composition, and we want to go to Add to Render Queue. Then we're going to go down to Output Module, click on "Lossless," and the format we want is a PNG sequence. I'm going to put the video output to RGB plus Alpha just to be safe. Shouldn't need to do that, but it's better to be safe anyway, and then I'm going to click "Okay". Then we want to go Output To, click on that, and we're going to change where this goes. I am going to make a new folder, and I'm going to call this BMX PNGs. I'm going to create a folder in there, and where this asterisk says I'm just going to put main body because we've got one layer and I'm just going to click "Save," and then you just want to hit "Render." That is going to render out a sequence of PNG images. We will then delete all of the odd numbered ones because we won't need those and then we'll pull them all into Photoshop and stick on the timeline and see how things are looking. Then we can decide whether there are any corrections that we want to make. We can even bring in the reference footage to check things in Photoshop too. Here we have our folder of BMX images. I'm just going to check one. Yeah, that's looking pretty good. Let's select them all, and let's have a quick flick through. Make sure that I'm pretty happy with them. Things are looking okay. Bearing in mind that half of these were not rotoscoped because they are the odd numbers when we're doing this on twos, so that's 12 frames per second. We're now going to go through and delete all of the odd numbers like we did before with the dancer because we don't need them. I'm just going to quickly do that. Now you can see I've already pulled my BMX footage into Photoshop, so we can see that there as reference. I'm now going to open up all these even PNG that we just made in After Effects in Photoshop as well. That will mean that we can bring each one into this main document with the BMX reference footage, and we can start checking every frame and making sure we're happy with the rotoscoping that we did in After Effects. Let me make this a little bit bigger. We're going to go up to Window, Arrange and we're going to split that a screen to two vertical, and I'm going to grab that master BMX footage, put that on this right-hand side. Then I'm going to start pulling across these cutouts that we made in After Effects one at a time onto our master composition here. Just so that things are nice and clear, I'm going to add a new layer, and I'm going to put that above the video footage, and then I'm going to just choose a nice bright color. Let's go with a nice bright yellow so that things show up, and we're going to fill. Now, we can pull it across here, make this fit there, and this first image, we want to have it right at the beginning there. We can pull out the timeline. We're going to make this last two frames because each of our images are being held for two frames because we're doing this at 12 frames per second. Because there we have our first cut out, let's rename this as BMX 0 because that was the first one, and then let's grab the second image. This is the next image that we've got here. Hold down Shift first, left-click, and drag. That's the second layer, let's call that BMX 2, and again hold down Shift while you still drag, we'll drop that in and we'll call that one BMX 4 because that was the next one, and then pull the next one in, BMX 6, BMX 8, and BMX 10. See how cool this is looking. Just with them all layered apply this, it looks super-duper cool, and then we'll get BMX 12. If you just want to pull in each layer, layer label them as you go, so we don't lose track and get confused. With this sequence, like I said, there aren't too many, there are only 28 images. It should be able to loop. This should be the guy swings his bike around and it just keeps swinging round and round. That should look really good too, so BMX 16. [inaudible] how cool this is. Look at all those layers on top of each other. Looks pretty amazing, 42, 44, and then finally 54. I need to go back in and label the rest because I haven't been doing that, so we go to BMX 26. That's all of our layers. I'm going to save that now. I'm going to save this in a new folder. I'm just going to call BMX master, and I'm going to save that as BMX master. I love how that looks all layered up like that. But we're going to separate things out now, just so that we can see what is happening when we play it back. Essentially, let us make this timeline a bit bigger. and we will expand this out like that. Can we do this all at once? Once and then we will get rid of all the copy layers because we don't want those. Now we have all our BMX layers at two frames and we want to just separate them out. So we'll just move them along so that they run one after each other. Then we'll be able to see how this is looking when we play it back and then we can decide what corrections need to be made. Because that Roto Brush Tool does have its occasional glitches and I did find before that when you export your PNG sequence, some of the time it isn't doing that completely correctly. We need to make sure that it's got all the information that we need and that there aren't chunks of visuals missing, because it'll be really annoying. Okay, so now we can play this back and see how it's looking. So you can see that it's looking pretty cool. That's looking pretty good. There are some things that are going wrong which we need to correct, but in the most part, that is looking pretty nice. I'm now going to organize all these into seconds as well so that we'll have a smaller timeline that's easier to navigate. So we're going to select the first 12 and we're going to put that in a folder. We're going to call that Second 1 and then we'll get the next 12, and we're going to put that in a folder too, call that Second 2, and then we'll put the last few images in another folder as well. We'll call that Second 3. Now it's all nice and tidy and we can see all of our timelines altogether and we don't need a huge amount of space. Now we're going to go through the images and we are going to correct them. So we're going to start with the second one. I'm going to go to that first image, and we're going to open that up here. I hope that I've selected, and now we're going to be really critical of our work we did in After Effects and we're going to look at it and we're going to see is there anything that could be a bit better. So we're going to get our eraser tool to make this quite a nice small size. We're literally just going to go in there and tidy a few things up. So for example, there's a little bit here we could take away, and here the wheel could be a bit smoother, so we can just smooth that out a little bit. Similarly, on the inside of the wheel, we can just smooth that out a little bit to make it a bit neater. We could get rid of the inside of the foot pedal. So we're adding a little bit more detail there. You can see here above the foot pedal, there's a little bit we can get rid of. That will make it look a little bit neater and then equally up here. You can get a little bit there and go a little bit smaller. You can get this information right in here, make this a little bit smaller. You know that you can do this because I've shown you already that the cricket can cut really quite fine detail, so don't be afraid to add an extra detail because we can cut it, so you might as well. I'm just going to straighten up all of these bar bits where there's maybe a little bit, but it could be a bit neater, but the good thing is that After Effects has done most of the work for us, so we're literally just tidying things up, getting them perfect, because if we're going to the effort of doing this, we might as well do it the best we can, just smoothing things out, getting things as neat as you can. So if you're noticing some wobble on the tire, perhaps things aren't looking as circular as they could, then I'm just going to clean that up. You may not need yours to look circular. You might not be doing a bicycle, but wherever you're doing, I do suggest you just checking everything when you bring into Photoshop and just tidy things up if you're noticing any errors, any inconsistencies between images, anything that you think will improve the cut and make things look even better. Because like I said before, we want that wow factor. We want anyone who sees this to think, how is that done? Because it's a really nice feeling when you're able to shock people by your art, make them wonder how you did something. If you're at any point wondering what is what, you could take that yellow away, and then you can see the original image through on that frame, and that can help you decide whether something else needs to be got rid of. For example, this little bit here, I put that back in, you'll see that that's not been taken away, but we could remove that now, and add a little bit more detail here, because there should actually be a gap there. I'm just going to do that. Then also on the handlebars here, this could be a bit smoother. I think that actually we're missing a bit of handlebar here. If you then get a Paint tool, let's change the color. Let us go for black. Now let's go for blue because we can clearly see. So we're painting onto the layer with the character over the bit that's missing. So we've got a handlebar missing here. So we'll just paint that in. It will look a bit weird for now, but when we put our color overlay and that's going to turn black as well. We've just added in that bit that was missing. Then we can flick back to the eraser. We can keep neatening up and getting rid of anything that we see that we think could be a little bit tidier, a bit sharper lines, or a bit smoother. The more care that you take, the better your results are going to be. That's looking pretty good. Then the other thing I was thinking, did we catch all of his hair and it was quite hard to see. I think we did a good enough job there, but you can flip between like this with your video and your character to just check. If we zoom back out, this is now how our final picture is looking. I think that's looking pretty good. Here though, you see this is his leg behind and his leg comes down here and it looks as if something's gone funny there. So go back to your paintbrush if you find that there's a bit missing that you've missed when you are rotoscoping, perhaps you were going fast and you didn't see something, and just add that in. We can see where that needs to go, up there. Then just paint in that whole area. So make the brush a bit bigger and we'll just paint that all in, and that will fill the leg area that we need. I say don't worry about the color because we're going to add an overlay and that will sort that out in a minute. When you are happy with a layer, I think that's looking pretty good. You can do, go up to Layer, Layer Style, and Color Overlay. It's already on black because we had that before and then that will give you your silhouette. That is how the cutout will look. I think that that's looking pretty good. If we're not sure and we want to check, we can have a look at the information, and just make sure there's nothing that we're missing when we see it all with one color and if there is something that we're missing on our paintbrush tool still, so we can just add in a little bit. So say here we want to just sharpen up the studs going through the wheels, just like that to make it a bit sharper. Maybe there's a bit more information here that could be kept. Then you can also see his foot is hanging down here and we completely miss that too. We can paint over the foot, we'll keep that information in as well. We're going to leave these spokes because that's just going to be too much. We don't need that tool. You can see we've captured most of him. There is only tiny little edges where we couldn't neat it out. We don't really need to be that neat. In fact, I might even use the eraser here to just smooth the tire a bit more. Just get rid of that bit there. Maybe a little bit up here. I think I'm pretty happy with that. So that is showing you how to clean up one image for the sequence. I'm now going to go through the whole sequence and clean up all the other images and then I will check back in with you. In the next lesson, I'm going to be showing you how to get your images ready to be cut out on your cricket machine. How to put them in a format that your machine understands and more importantly, how to organize them, lay them out on your mat to make the best use of space. 6. Get Designs CUT READY [One Layer]: Now that you've wrote a scoped all of your footage and you've isolated your subject matter. We now want to get all of your images ready for the cricket machine to cut out. Whether you did it in Photoshop or After Effects. We now need to bring it all into Photoshop. I'm going to show you how to organize everything into a format that your cricket machine is going to understand and also how to make the best use of space on your mat and keep things organized so that when you're cutting them out and taking them off the mat, you're going to remember which cut out is which cut out, because we want to keep these in order. We're going to be animating them. Let's get Photoshop open again and I'll show you how to do that now. I'm going to begin by telling you the key aspects of this process, and then I'll show you in full how I have done it myself. For those of you that have the time and want to watch my methods, they're pretty long, especially the multilayered character. But if that's something you're trying to achieve yourself, then it might be worthwhile seeing how I have bought those images in from After Effects and layered them up in Photoshop to get them cut ready. But let's give you a concise rundown first. Essentially the cricket-like simple designs best, clean and clear. You want to organize your cut-out shapes in order so that you don't lose track and try to make the best use of space too. Tightly packing them will mean that you use less card and it's more space-efficient. When all of your images are laid out in your document, you'll want to remove any background layer that you might have so that it is transparent. I put a black color overlay over my designs tool, then save this document as a PNG, and now it is all ready to be imported into the cricket design space for cutting out. For those of you wanting a longer, more in-depth explanation, let's start with the single-layered squirrel. Getting things cut ready is all about planning and organization. The first example I'm going to show you is with the squirrel. You can see here in Photoshop, I've been very organized and I have put all of my drawings into their seconds. I have made folders called second one, which has the first 12 images, second two the next 12 images to keep everything organized and so there's not a hundreds of layers that are really confusing. When we play it back, you can see it looks quite nice. I'm quite happy with how the squirrel moves. There's a nice little bit of mouth movement. I quite like how the tail moves and that it's a bit erratic. It gives, like I said, it makes it a bit more dynamic to have movement there because there's so much stillness in the squirrel body. The squirrel isn't doing a lot. To have some movement in the tail, it actually looks really nice. But now we need to get all of these images ready for the cricket machine so that it knows how to cut these out. We also need to make sure that we keep everything in an order so we know which squirrel is number 1, 2, 3, and so on so that we can make sure we animate them in the right order. Now if for some reason you were not happy with your squirrel sequence, you could, at the point of playing it back like this, go in there and just make some quick corrections to certain layers before you move on. You might want to flip between a couple of pictures in a sequence and perhaps one of the ears on the squirrel disappears or something strange happens and you think, oh, that's not right I need to correct that. That's really easy to do because we're just using that paintbrush tool to add information. If you've painted a bit too much, you can take away with the eraser. On this particular image, I've decided I am going to just slightly correct the top of the head by the ears because I feel like it doesn't quite look right. We're going to this effort of doing this technique. We might as well make sure that everything is perfect. Another thing you can do is you can put a plain solid color in the background. Put that below all of your cutout images and then you can play back your animation on top of this plain background color. Sometimes that can help you see even more clearly if the animation is playing back as you'd hoped, and if the drawings that you've made are good and it will help you notice any errors that might jump out. Another top tip is to put a plain background underneath all your layers so you can play it back with VAT in this scene and that means that nothing is distracting your eye from the animation itself. You're going to be much more likely to see anything that isn't quite working or going as you had planned. But when you're happy, we want to go up to File, New and we're going to create a custom document, which is going to be the size of our cutting mat for the cricket machine. We're going to change this to inches because the mat is 12 inches wide. We're going to set this to a width of 12 inches and we're going to put a height of eight inches because that will comfortably sit within the mat and I think it's better to work to a slightly smaller space because the card that we're using won't be 12 by 12. You may have 12 by 12, in which case you can set that to 12 by 12, but my card isn't that big. Then what you're going to do is go up to Window and you can split your screen. You've got this new document you just created on the left-hand side, and on the right-hand side, you have got your squirrel or wherever it was you chose to wrote a scope. Select all of the seconds, all of the cutouts that you did in that right-hand composition, and drag them across into the new document on the left. Now, we're going to consolidate, go up to window and you can consolidate to create one document in your screen again. Now with all the seconds selected. I'm just going to make sure all the folders are closer. I'm going to get rid of timelines. We don't need that anymore and zoom in so you can see nice and clearly and with all of those folders selected. We've got all the images, all the seconds of animation selected. We're now going to scale those together. Because this is going to mean that all of our squirrels will scale to the same size. You've got to make sure that everything is selected because if you accidentally don't select some of the images, then they won't be scaling to the same amount. My method for doing this is to select all the folders that you've got your images in and we're going to scale them down together. Now I'm also putting a few guides in place. To do this you can just drag down or across from the rulers. If your rulers aren't visible, just go to View and make sure that the tick box next to rulers is selected. That is just to help me get them in a line. All the squirrels, I want them to be roughly an inch high. I've put that there just as reference to help me get the squirrels to all go in a line across the document. I'm scaling them down together. When you scale, you get a little box pops up that tells you the dimensions that you're scaling if you're aiming for a specific height or width, you can scale down to that amount. Now we want to arrange our squirrels onto the mat. To do this, I have made second one, so the first folder visible and I have taken the visibility from all the other folders away to keep things simple because we want to order our squirrels in order. We're going to put the first image first, and then we're going to put this second image, third image, and so on. When we take them off the mat, we know that they're in the correct order. Then when we take them off the mat, as you'll see later on, we're also going to label them and number them. Again, we don't lose track because these squirrels, they're going to look very similar to each other. There's not much difference between some of the images. You can see putting the second squirrel next to the first one, it's not making the best use of space. Another thing we're trying to do here is we're trying to make the best use of space. We want to save as much card as possible and cut as many squirrels out as possible on the same sheet. Instead, I'm going to take that second squirrel and I'm going to use a rotation, which is quite easy to do. You just hover over it and if you're hovering near a corner is going to change to a rotation tool. We're just going to rotate that squirrel 180 so it fits up the other way and this will pack them much more neatly and it means we will get much more squirrels out of the same sheet of card. Squirrel number two is now going to go upside down and I'm going to move that into the space across next to the first squirrel. You can see that that is much more space efficient. I'm going to do this method with all the squirrels moving forward. We're going to have one up the correct way and then we're going to flip one up the other way, and we're going to pack them all in like that. When you've got your first 12 squirrels all arranged on the mat, then we'll select the second folder of squirrels and we'll start arranging the next 12. You just want to keep adding the drawings to the document one at a time in order. As the chain shapes, you may have to change slightly the way that you're arranging them, but it shouldn't be too drastically different. I will show you some other examples where perhaps it's a bit harder to fit them all on. Here you can see we've got too many squirrels for one sheet. To get around this problem, we're going to have to create a second document by the same dimension, 12 wide and eight high I'm doing, and we're going to split the screen again. We're going to select just the squirrels that we haven't yet position. The last four seconds, just over the last four seconds, we're going to drag those into the new composition so they going to have the same scale, they're the same size. Then we're going to just start laying these out on the second sheet. When we save them, we will save it as squirrel sheet 1 and squirrel sheet 2, so that we know exactly what we're doing and when we come to cut them out, we'll do it in the right order. The final step is to put a black color overlay onto every single image. You can do this on just one layer and then copy and paste layer style to all the other layers in just one click. To do that, it's just a right-click on the mouse. It will drop down and you can select "Copy Layer Style." Then if you select all your other layers right-click, you can then click "Paste Layer Style." Next, you'll want to remove the background layer. You can do this by just turning off the visibility and that will make it transparent. Now you want to save your image as a PNG. That will make things already for the cricket design space and the cricket machine. It's all in a format that the cricket will understand and be able to cut out. 7. Get Designs CUT READY [Multi-Layers]: Organizing the dancer we created in After Effects is going to be slightly different. For this, we need to layer up all the different layers that we created. So this is going to be an important lesson for you if you are wanting to create a multi-layered character and you've done your rotoscoping in After Effects. What we're going to do is we're going to open the first few images of each layer. So I'm going to open up the first five images of shirts, trousers, trainers, and bodies. Just because if you open them all, it would get incredibly complicated. We're just going to layer up five in a row, and then we'll open up the next few and we will compile our sequence like that. The reason this is important is because we want to scale everything by the same amount and make sure that everything lines up. So when we cut it out, it matches perfectly. To do this as well we want silhouette, we want solid colors.We don't want it to look like our character because we're not going to be able to differentiate our layers from each other. To get around that, we want to go to Layer, Layer Style, and Color Overlay. And we're going to put a different color overlay on each layer. We're going to make it the same color that we're going to cut out. It all makes sense and you can follow the process through. The body is a flesh color. The t-shirt and hair we're going to set to a black color overlay. The trousers, we're going to put red and the trainers, we're going to make white. This means that when we layer up our character, we're going to be able to easily differentiate which layer is which is going to clearly stand out, and if there are any imperfections or things that are not quite right, we're going to be able to correct them easily as well. Now that we've put color overlays on our first few images, I'm going to split the screen and I'm going to put the first trainers, the first trousers, and the first shirt into the right-hand panel. This is going to mean that I can drag these elements across to sit on top of the first body. Here we have our first body. I am now going to hold down Shift and then click with the left mouse button and drag it across and it'll land in the exact position on top of the character. You can do the same thing with the trousers and then with the trainers. Then suddenly we're seeing our character brought to life in a solid colors. This is how our character will look like in cutout form. This is the digital version before we cut it out. Now we're going to consolidate my tabs by going up to Window and Consolidate tabs and this will make the one document fill the screen again. Here we have got the first four layers in for image number one of our character. I'm going to put a plain, solid color behind so we can really clearly see the character standing out as well. I've just made a new layer for that and then I've filled it with the paint bucket tool. Now that we have got all of the layers on top of each other, we can really start to see if things are lining up. Well, something else that I suggest you do, as soon as you've put your layers together like this is to label them. You want to label your body, body, you want to label your t-shirt, shirts, trousers, pants, and trainers, trainers wherever you want to call them, make sure they're all labeled and clear. One of the most important parts, when you're doing a multi-layered cutout, is to make sure that the base layer, wherever your background color is, doesn't show it through around the edges of the other colors. You'll notice that they're a little flicks of flesh color showing around on parts of the trousers and the trainers and sometimes on the shirt and hair. Now if we cut it out like this, when you come to stick them together and line up, you're going to have a little bit of fleshy pink color showing around the other colors and it's going to look a little bit messy. You want to make sure that your base layer, wherever that is, is slightly smaller than the layers that sit on top just to make sure that the top color is what you see clearly and there aren't any little fragments of other color showing around the edge. Hopefully, that makes sense. Later down the line though, I am going to show you ways of correcting this. If you happen to still have issues, perhaps you forgot, or perhaps you just want the edges of your cutout to look neater, I'm going to show you some methods for tidying that up as well. Try not to worry too much, but if you can, at this point in the process, just makes sure that things look neat and things line up correctly. Then because we need to do this with all the images, I'm now going to go up to Window and I'm going to select "Timeline". Just like we had the timeline there for the squirrel example, we're going to do that for our dancer too. Now all of these layers for our first image, we're going to shorten them down to be two frames in duration. This is going to make up our first image. Then now we want to put together our next character. We're going to do the same thing we did before. We're going to split our screen. We're going to put the main composition we've just created with our timeline on the left-hand side and then we're going to drag across the next body and then we're going to copy the layer style. On the first body right-click "Copy Layer Style" and then you can paste layer style onto the next body. That will automatically put the correct color on that body. Like I said, as you go and rename it. So we'll call this one body 2 because I did all the even numbers. We also want this to be two frames long. You can drag that down to make it fit the next two frames. Then we're going to get the next layer. We're going to go for the shirt and we're going to pull that across on top of the body. Again, just click hold down Shift and it will land in precisely the right position and then we're going to copy the Layer Style and paste that on so It becomes solid black. Then rename that so that we know that that is the next shirt. Then we will grab the trousers, pull the trousers across, and again copy the Layer Style, paste the Layer Style on, so then it will become a solid red. Then finally, we'll do the same thing with the trainers, and then we will have the second image ready in our sequence. Again, I'm pasting the Layer Styles, and now that we've used those images on just exiting them to get them out of the way. I'm going to select all of these layers and make them a new color so that we can clearly see that this is the next character. I'll just make all those layers last two frames as well. Then flicking between the two images, you can see if things are working. You can also zoom in and see if the layers are looking accurate or if there are imperfections. You can see again, we've got some flesh color. There is just showing through around the trouser leg and around the shirt a little bit. Before I forget though, I'm going to rename these layers. They're called shirt, body trousers, all of that. That's all clear. Then I will go in with the eraser tool and I will just remove those little bits of pink that are showing around the edge. Or I will go on to the layers on top and make them slightly bigger to cover over that bare flesh color showing through. It's up to you what you want to do. To add to the layer, just use the paintbrush tool and the overlay will mean that it stays all one color. Or if you decide you just want to reduce the size of the layer underneath, then get the eraser tool and you can just erase away what you don't want off that layer. This is essentially the process. It is long-winded, it's not necessarily hard, but you do need to be on the ball and be paying attention the whole way through because any errors are going to affect your results. Take it at a steady pace. This is the project that is going to take you at least a week, possibly longer. It's quite a long process, but the results are really, really good, so it's worth it. Now something to be aware of is that Roto Brush 2 isn't perfect. In my export of my PNG sequences, some of the layers, well, they didn't come through correct. Either they were missing completely or the selection just wasn't right. But an easy fix for this is to just go in there with the paint tool, and for those specific errors that may arrive, just paint the selection that you need for that particular layer. The t-shirt on this one was completely missing, it just didn't come through, I don't know why. If I figure it out, I will let you know in the class notes. But I'm just selecting a lovely lime green color here and I've got my paintbrush tool, and I'm just going to trace over the character for that image. If you use the body shape, that has all the information for all the other layers on it before you've put the color overlay so we can still see where the t-shirt should be. I'm just tracing over with the paintbrush tool, so that I now have created a t-shirt layer for that particular image. Then it's nice and easy when you have finished, you just put the color overlays we were using already on, so the t-shirt will become black. The body has become a flesh color, and then we have created that missing layer, but for some reason just didn't come through from our After Effects export. Now you'll also see here, I've got further through the process, and you can see that when I completed a dancer set, I put it in a folder, so I essentially, wanted to simplify the amount of layers that I had. I just selected all the four layers for one character, and then I right-clicked and put that into a new folder and then named that Dancer 2, or Dancer 4, or Dancer 6, or whatever it was. Then when I had got a whole seconds worth, so I had 12 dancers, I would put that all into a folder and call that Second 1, or Second 2, or Second 3, and so on, because it just made things so much simpler. Otherwise your timeline is so vast that it's really hard to work around and to see what you're doing really. Make use of folders, label things really, really sensibly so that when you come back, you know exactly where something is and what you did before. All that's left to do now when you have completely organized the whole sequence is to get all of these into separate documents and arrange them ready to be cut out. I'm going to now show you how to do that. Now I have finished rotoscoping all the layers of my dancer. We did that in After Effects, brought into Photoshop, everything's nice and cleaned up, and I'm happy with all the layers. We can play this back and see how it's looking. You can see it's all looking pretty good. This is super-complicated though. We got four different layers of color here. I don't advise you go in this complicated, but I'm doing it for you just to show you that it's possible, and if you're really ambitious, then you can do a four color layered character and animate it. It's just going to take you a little bit of time, but you can still do it. Now, the next thing that we need to do is we need to prepare this for cutting. You can see that I've used a nice folder structure here to keep everything neat. Every single dancer is in a separate folder. We've got the trainers, the pants, the shirt, and the body, each in its own folder. Then I've put all of the dancers for each second of footage on screen in a separate folder to make it all nice, and neat, and tidy. Now to get this ready for cutting, we're obviously going to be using four different layers of card. That means that we will need to arrange each separate part of this character on a separate sheet. I'm going to go to File, New, and we are going to go to Custom, and we'll put this to inches. We're going to go for a 12-inch wide space and that is eight inches in height, and I'm going to put this up to 300 resolution because we want this to be nice and crisp. This is the same dimensions as our mat, so just like we did with our squirrel. Now we have this new space where we want to put our dancer. I am going to go to Window and I'm just going to split the screen so we can see both things at once. My method for doing this is going to be to go into the main composition, and here we've got all five seconds. I'm going to select all of that, I'm going to hold down Shift and drag it across to our new composition. It's going to take a little bit of time because there are quite a lot of layers there. Now they have all landed in the other document. What's happening? Can you hear that? My computer is about to take off, suddenly got very loud. That was a lot for my computer to process. Well, you can see all the layers are coming in now. Yes, so all our characters are here at the same time, they're all there. We've got no timeline in this composition. They're all just on top of each other here. I'm going to just zoom in a little bit and so just for the purposes of showing you, I'm going to have one character visible. We've got one full character here that we can see. Things are nice and clear. Let's just plunk a green on that background. Now we can see where everything is, we're going to select all of the layers. Even though I've only put one visible for us to see here, we want to select all of the layers that we've just brought across, so second 1 contains the first 12 images of the dancer, and so on. We've got them all selected, and we are now going to move these up to the first position. I want to have this at the top-left, we're going to do exactly the same as with the squirrels and try and make the best use of the space. I've decided that I want these characters to be about three inches high, I think that would be a good height, 2.5 inches to 3 inches high, because if they're too small, I think sticking all the details on is just going to be a little bit ridiculous. Here we've got our character and we can see that, well, if I move him right up to the top so that his toe touches the top, he is about almost 2.5 inches there. Now, you will find that if your computer is like mine, that every time you move something, it's going to take a while for this to load because there hundreds of layers within this composition. I think there's about 250 layers because we've got four layers for every frame of the character. Be patient with your computer, it will get there eventually. I'm just going to scale up a little bit. I'm going to scale so that the character is just a little bit more like 2.5 inches from the tip of his toe to his fingertips. There we go. Now that everything's in position, I think this would be a good time to get all of the documents set up and ready. We're going to save this one as, let's save this. I made a new folder called Dancer Cut Outs. I'm going to save this as Body MASTER. We'll save that. At this point, what I'm also going to do is I'm going to create a new composition, same dimensions, 12 by 8 inches. Create that. I'm going to save this one as Pants MASTER. We're going to have a different document for each element of our character. I shall make a third one, and we will save that as Shirt MASTER Then I'm going to make a fourth one 12 by 8 inches. Again, and we're going to save this one, I think I've called it different things throughout this class, shoes or trainers. I'm going to go with trainers because that's what I called them in Photoshop. I'm going to call these trainers master. At this point now we don't actually need to have our dancer document open so we can actually close that and I don't need to save it. So we have got our body master. That's where our character is. What I'm going to do is I'm going to select all five seconds again. Then I'm going to go up to Window Arrange and I'm going to break my screen. You can choose here how many bits you want to break into. I'm going to go four ways. We've got now every single document I just created on screen. Now with the Move Tool selected, you've got all those five seconds selected there. We're going to hold down on the character. So click and hold, click, hold down Shift, and then drag it across to the next document and do the same for all of them. So click, hold down Shift, and drag to the next document. Then there we have got our character in all of them. I'm just going to put that lime green behind on all of the compositions so that we can see clearly our character and everything shows up because that will help us with laying things out. So there we go. We've got all four things set up and ready. We've got our body shirt trainers master. We've got our body shirt trainers pants. Now, let's go with the body's first. In this body composition, we now want to select everything in order. At the moment, we've got everything hidden. We want to go to second one. I've unhidden second one. We want to go to the first dancer, so that's dancer zero. I'm going to hide everything else for now. I'm going to go into dancer 0, and this is the body composition. So we don't actually need the trainers, pants or shirts, because we've copied that across into our compositions. I'm just going to get rid of that information straightaway. So we've just got the body here and I'm just going to pull that across. So that's my first body. You can see he is about 2.5 inches tall. Like I said before, we want to try and make the best use of the space. So you want to use your rotation tools to try and get your character to fit as close to the edges as possible. So there we have got dancer 0. When we're happy with that, we can close that folder back down and let's select dancer 2. Now. We don't need those other layers. We get rid of the trainers, the pants and shirts, we're just left with the body. Then we will pull that across. This is now the second design. Again, let us try and fit that in the best way we can with the space. So just play around with this to try and get it to fit the best you can. Want to try and be as economical as we can with this space here. We've got our second dancer there. Close that folder down and we'll go to dancer 4, we will get rid of the information. We don't need, the shirts, the pant and trainers. You can see that for this body here we're going to be using quite a lot of card because the size of the piece is bigger than, say, the trainers, which won't be taking up quite so much space. We've got our third dancer, and then we'll close that dancer down. Then we will put the eyedropper on for the next layer. Get rid of the information that we don't need. We've just got our body. So this is dancer 4. We see if we can get that in, we can get that in at the end. So that's good. That fits in quite well where maybe we'll turn it slightly. We've got our first four dancers there. I'm going to go on to the next one. Again, turn off the layers that we don't want so were just left with the body. Then we want to get that body in the best way we can. So that's fitting in pretty well there, close that one down, put the hydra form for the next one. Get rid of the layers that we don't want. We've just got the body here, so we'll pull that in, fit that into the space the best we can. We can actually get that a bit higher up there. Making sure that you keep a track on the orders. We've got 1,2,3,4,5,6. Don't bunch them up too much that you forget which number, which dancer is misled. The next one. Get rid of the layers we don't need. Move the body across, try and fit that in. I think that fits in quite well there. Perhaps put a little bit of a rotation, get it up even higher. That's quite good. Then we will do the same. I'll just go up to the end of the first second here and then I would quickly do the rest before we move on to one of the other layers. Next one, delete the layers we don't want. Move that body in. You can see that this one is slightly different shapes, so it's not going to use that space quite as effectively, but we can play around with the rotation to try and get things to fit a little bit better. Let's see, that looks quite good. Then we'll go up to the next layer. Get rid of those layers that we don't want. Paint that body, pull it across. Use the rotation again, get it up a little bit higher in that space. Bring that leg down. Fits in quite nicely there. Then see if we can fit the next one. On that side might be able to. It's going to be a bit of a stretch. But what we could try as we could try and putting it out the other way. So completely rotating, doing a 180, you can see that almost fits. You see, we've managed to squeeze that in the gap by rotating completely up the other way. So remember that you can do that too. Then go the next one. Get rid of all the layers we don't want. Leave our character in. That fits him quite well there. Now just rotate it slightly. The heads not so close to the edge. Can we squeeze that in? I think we might be able to just getting in that gap. It's pretty good. Rotate this one side, put it in there. This does take a little bit of time, but it's quite fun. It's like a puzzle. Like I've said with other steps in this course, It's all about the planning and taking the time. The more time you take, the more careful you are, the better your results are going to be. You want to get good results. There we go. We have the full first second arranged there. I'm going to keep going. Then I will show you the finished results before we move on to the next layer. Actually make sure that you're saving things, going to do Save. There's also a shortcut. You can do Command S or Control S if you're on a Windows. Just like with the squirrel example, when you fill your first sheet full of images, you want to create a new document and you want to pull across all of those layers that you have not yet organized on your document. Select those and hold down Shift and drag them across to the new document and then we're going to lay them out, just as before in order one at a time, trying to make the best use of space. Do make the most of the rotation tools and trying to fit things into the right position. You want to delete off all those layers you don't need to get rid of the trousers that are trainers, the shirt and just leave the bodies. Then we're just going to create a second sheet of bodies. With the ones that wouldn't fit on the first sheet. Actually there were so many bodies. They're so big that I did need to go to three sheets as well. Just save each sheet out as a new one. I called mine body master one, body master two and body master three. Then we're going to go through this exact same process for all the other layers. Now, I am going to do the pants, the trousers so exactly the same. They were dragged across before. They're all the same size. We now want to go to the first image. We want to delete all the layers we don't need. On this one, we're going to get rid of the shirt. We're going to get rid of the body and we're going to get rid of the trainers. Then we're just going to be left with the trousers or the pants, however you want to call them. These are much smaller and more compact. Hopefully we'll be able to fit all of these onto one sheet. I'm just getting rid of all those layers there. I'm going to move up image 1 into the top left-hand corner. I've decided that the on-screen guides a little bit annoying, so I'm going to get rid of those as well. To do that, I just got to window and next two guides, there'll be a tick and if you don't want them, they're just take the tick away and they'll disappear. You can always bring them back again using the rulers and dragging down from the rulers on the left and on the top. There now onto the second image. Same thing. Get rid of all those layers we don't need. The body, the trainers and the shirt is going and we're just left with the trousers. I'm going to use exactly the same technique as with the squirrel. I'm going to rotate my trousers and fit them in really nice and tightly so that one is up one way and the next one is up the other way. This is making sure that we use the space in the most efficient way possible. It also means we'll be able to use less card, which is going to save us money and resources so that's great too. Essentially it's the same process. I probably don't need to explain this further. With every layer in a multi-layered character. You want to remove all of those layers that you don't need. Just keep the one that you do and just lay them out in order. Like I've shown you already. Now that all of the trouser pieces are laid out, again, you want to remove the background layer, just take the visibility away so that it's got a transparent background. Then you will want to put a black color overlay on to your Layers. You can even do this onto a folder and so on that folder, right-click Copy Layer Style, then select all the other folders, right-click Paste Layer Style and it really easy, quick, really, simple and quick. You can apply that color overlay super fast and then save that as a PNG and that is all sorted. But I wanted to now move on to the trainers because these are a little bit different. Every single character obviously has two feet and therefore two trainers. But when you take away all the other layers, you're just left with these two floating trainers that are quite widely spaced apart. When you start to lay these out, even if you're laying them out in order. It's, to make best use of space is incredibly hard to do that because you're going to really struggle when you take them off the map to know which trainers are from, which number character. Well, I could see it being incredibly problematic and they're already difficult, they're already small and trying to organize these when you take them off the map will be tricky enough as it is. You can see this just looks like an absolute headache. I decided to take a different approach with these and I'm now going to show you how I got around this. After realizing that this wasn't going to work, I decided on a different approach. What I did was, I went back to the drawing board, and so I went back to my first layer. I took the visibility of all the layers except for layer number one. Here you can see we've just got those first two trainers, one for the left foot and one for the right foot. What I did was I duplicated this layer so that we now have two of the same layer. Then I just went in with the eraser tool and I rubbed out the right foot on the first layer, and then on the second layer I rubbed out the left foot. You could also use the selection tool. I think later on I did. I use the selection tool instead. Basically, now each foot is on a separate layer. I could then move the left and right foot closer together. This meant that I knew that the two feet that were close to each other, we're from the same character layer. I could then make a little gap and then organize the next pair of feet by doing this same method, duplicating the trainers, cutting them apart and then placing them closer together. This meant I could make better use of space, fit more onto my sheet. Also that when I'm actually taking these on the map, is going to be a lot easier for me to work out and remember which trainers are from which character. I've also now put a black background up, so it's much clearer for you to see what I'm doing. Here we can see the next layer, layer 2 and I'm just duplicating those trainers again and I'm going to erase the right trainer on the top layer. Then on the bottom layer I'm going to erase the left trainer. Now we've got the left and right foot on separate layers. You might want to label these layers as well. Depends how organized you want to be. But essentially I'm just moving this trainer closer to the other one. Now you can clearly see that we've got two pairs of trainers. When I want to take these off the map, I'll be able to see that values character one first and then the next to a character two and so on. This was my new method for organizing the trainers and say if you've got a character layer that has got multiple parts like this, maybe you've animated character and you had gloves on the character. There were two hands. Break their hands apart and put them closer together for the purposes of cutting them out. Don't change the scale or anything, but just move them closer together so that it's very clear when you come to taking these off your cutting map, which ones belong to which character. Because we are going to be sticking them on and then piecing everything together. We want to make this as efficient as we can because it's already a long process. We don't want to extend that process any further. I hope that this was a useful little insight as well. I don't think it's going to be something that many of you will encounter. In fact, you probably, unless you're doing a character like this, you probably won't have this problem. But it's good to know about it anyway and how I have got around it, and my method for making this work and making it makes sense. In the next lesson, I'm going to be showing you how to cut out your images on your cricket machine, how to set it up, what to press, which maps to use all those good tips and advice. As well as how to stay organized and best practices in getting your cutouts ready for animating later on. 8. Cutting Single Layer [Part 1]: This lesson is possibly the funniest of them all. We're going to be taking our images to the cricket design space, the software that they provide, and get the machine to cut them out. It's so much fun to see those little drawings that you did in the computer finally become a physical form and honestly, it's magic. I'm going to take you through the whole process, every single step of the way. Follow along, get your machine turned on or watch and make notes. Let's get started. Now we're at a point where we're ready to cut. But before we start cutting, we need to prepare our card. Now you'll notice that your cricket machine has these mats and these are sticky. They have a film that protects the stickiness and underneath you have this sticky which is what holds your card or other material down, and they come in different grip strengths. Now I prefer to go with the standard grip. If you are working with a card, I recommend standard grip as your mat of choice but you could also get light grip for using paper and there's even a strong grip if you're going to want to cut, say, felt fabric or corkboard or something like that. Now you'll notice that this mat is 12 inches across. You want to have your paper to fit. Now you can buy paper or card in 12 by 12 inch pieces. My favorite card to use is this kaleidoscope card and I love it for doing animation. Because in a packet you get 50 different colors. You get one sheet of each different color. Now I'm going to need two sheets of the same color for doing this squirrel so I've had to open two packets. But if you want to get some cards yourself, this might not be available in your location. But what you want to look out for is card that is 300 grams per meter squared. Now that to me is the perfect thickness. We've got some of that here and you can see that it's stiff enough that it will hold itself. It's not going to be easy to tear, so it's going to be good for handling, you're going to have to handle these quite a lot. But it's also flexible enough that you can cut some quite intricate shapes and it's not going to make your character too bulky if you want to build up layers as well. But the thing with the sheets is, I want to use the full width of these mats, the 12 inches. These sheets of card are not 12 inches that way. Instead, as we designed our sheets in Photoshop, I set up a document that was 12 inches by six inches on purpose. Because my plan was to cut this card to be 12 inches long and then it falls down to almost 10 inches down the mat. Before we get started, I'm just going to quickly cut these two sheets of card. Now we've got our card ready. The next step we want to do is bring the laptop over and connect the laptop to the cricket machine. When we're in the cricket design space here, let's make it nice and big. We literally want to go to New Project and you'll see it opens out this lovely big Canvas, which is representative of the mats that we're going to put our card on to cut out. Now we already created our squirrel files in Photoshop and we save them as PNGs. What we want to do, is we want to go on the left-hand side there's a little icon called Upload. If we click on that, we can go to Upload Image and then hit Browse. We've got a squirrel sheet 1, you can see that here. It's a simple design, it's not complex. We haven't got any pattern in the background. This checkered pattern here is to just show that it's transparent. So we're going to click Simple image type and then we will go to Continue. Here we have got our lovely squirrels they look fine so we'll click Continue again. We want to save that as a cut image, so we click on here and we have this option save as a cut image and then we will click Save. You can see that the software has created this squirrel image for us. We can now go down to the bottom right-hand corner and click on insert images, and that will insert the squirrel image into a new Canvas. Now this part of the process is quite important too, because you can see that the squirrel image here is a little bit too big so we want to scale this down. What we're going to do is we're going to use the size dimensions here. You know, I said we're using a piece of card that's 12 inches wide, so we're going to set the width here to 12 inches. That will bring the squirrels down to a 12 inch size. Now we can put that on the page. You can see that this little squirrel hair is overhanging slightly. We might want to take that down a little bit lower. Let's go to 11.8 inches because we want it to sit within the 12 inches wide card that we've got. That fits in perfectly, but I don't want to have the images cutting too close to the edge just in case that causes problems. So I'm going to go down to 11.6 inches. That's going to shrink it a little bit further and that means that it now sits comfortably within the 12 inches of space that we've got on our cutting mat. Now, this might be different for you. You may not have as bigger cutting design or you're cutting design maybe even bigger than mine. So you're just going to have to play around. But you know if you're using a 12 inch wide mat that you want your image to fit comfortably within the 12 inches, because we have two sheets of squirrels, we need to make sure that we remember that we've scaled it to 11.6 because when we do our second sheet, we want to scale it to exactly the same amount so that all of our squirrels come out exactly the same size. Now that we're happy with how that first page of squirrels look, we're ready to start cutting it out. What we want to do is go up here to the top right and click ''Make it'' and that will create this into a cutting document. The software has automatically decided to rotate my image. We're going to use the rotation if you click on the image that you have, if this should happen to you as well, just on the top right-hand corner there's a rotate symbol, and we can click on that ''Hold and Rotate'', and then we can reposition to make sure that our squirrels are going to fill all of the space exactly as we had planned that's not affecting the scale at all, it's simply rotating. Then we will click ''Continue.'' To continue we have to connect to our Explore machine. Now there are two ways of doing this. Number 1, we can use Bluetooth. You can wirelessly connect via Bluetooth. The second way is using a wire. The machine comes with a cable just like this, and we can directly connect this cable so the machine goes to the laptop. But let's try doing the Bluetooth method first. What we want to do is basically turn the machine on and let's get it opened up. [NOISE] Then on the laptop screen, we have a drop-down menu and we can select from there our machine so I've gone to Air and Bluetooth and we're going to see if the machine will connect to the laptop. Like I said, if you have any problems with the Bluetooth connection, we have got the wire as a backup. The laptop has now found the machine, we're all connected up that's brilliant and basically, all the instructions that you need to cut a project come up on screen so the first thing it says, base material is set to card stock and you can adjust the dial to the desired material. Now, cardstock is perfect for us. That is the setting that I would say you should be on if you're using the 300 grams per square meter card stock that I'm using. Now if you're using something thinner or thicker than that, you're going to want to do a little test. So let's look at the dial here on the machine. You can see there are lots of different options. You want to align this dot here with the option that you want. You can turn this and you can set it to lot of different things. It says the words here to give you some ideas so we've got paper, vinyl, iron-on, light cardstock, cardstock, fabric, poster board. Posterboard is like a really thick heavy cardboard. Now you might think to have it on cardstock because that is what we're using. But there's these in-betweens as well and through trial and error and practicing, I've found in-between here, so the one between cardstock and fabric works best for this 300 grams per square meter card stock. But again, if you've got a different machine and maybe you've got a newer version do give it a test run because this may not be the same for you, and when you know which materials work best on which setting write that down in a little book and keep a record so you know, for next time. It will save you a lot of time, effort, and money on the card that you potentially might waste. Now that we're all connected up to the machine, the next thing is to get everything ready. We've got the dial set to the correct thing so now we need to load the tools and material so we don't need the second tool in the compartment you can put in a pen. We don't need a pen for this we're just going to cut so in the position B we have got a blade and I'll show you maintenance of your machine in another lesson and that will show you how you can change your blade and stuff like that too. The first thing we want to do though is get this card mounted on the paper. We want to take the protective film off, [NOISE] put that carefully to one side because you don't want it to get dusty or like with me, I have a dog and there's a bit of dog hair on there, but it doesn't really affect the stickiness. I'll also show you in the maintenance lesson how to clean your maps too so that you can keep using them for even longer. To put the card on the mat it's nice and sticky all you want to do is just line it up so that it fits in that 12-inch by 12-inch area and when you are happy with the positioning, just lightly push it down make sure it's all flat and it's stuck everywhere. That is now ready to be cut. How do we set it up for cutting? Well, the next step on the screen, says to load the mat and press the load-unload button. On the machine either side there are these little tiny bits where the mat goes under so you want to make sure that the mat goes under there and then there are these rollers here and the mat is going to get fed under the rollers. You can see this flashing button and that's what you want to push and it's going to suck this mat in slightly to hold in position. My advice can see, my hand is on this end and I'm holding the other end so when I push that button, you want to put a light bit of pressure on this end just to encourage it to feed through. I'm going to push that now [NOISE]. Now I've let go of the mat. You can see that the mat is firmly in place it's all held there good. The computer screen now says to press the flashing cricket icon to start cutting. We're all ready to go let's push this flushing cricket and the cutting will begin [MUSIC]. Now that it's finished, we've got our first page of squirrels. You want to eject that sheet from the machine. Everything with this machine is pretty obvious. You want to eject it by pushing the flashing button. Usually, when there's something that you need to do, it will be flashing light this will just quickly push that [NOISE] and you can see it just spot the sheet out. Now if you had multiple mats, you could now go straight ahead and start cutting your second sheet of squirrels. However, I think the best thing to do is to take these all off first and start numbering them up and putting them in a little pile just so that we don't lose track of which squirrel was Number 1 and so on because it's very easy to get confused. One of the key principles with this method of animation is organization. You want to make sure that you are meticulously keeping order of every image otherwise you're going to get in a bit of a mess. When you want to get your cuts off the mat the technique that's going to work best for you is not to pull up like this. Don't pull your card or paper away from the mat. You want to bend the mat away from the card or paper. If you bend this mat like this, bending the mat away, you'll notice that it is a much easier release. You want to still be careful because there are lots of intricate parts on your cut. We've got some really tiny details here. They don't have to go as small as me. I like working small and also it means that you use less card, so it's more cost-effective, but you could easily go bigger than this and that would mean that things were less intricate and you wouldn't have to be quite so careful because some of the details here are tiny, it can be tricky getting them off the mat. You can see it's not too difficult, just go slowly, don't rush it like I said, bend the mat away from the card and it should come off fine. 9. Cutting Single Layer [Part 2]: You've got this lovely negative as well, some people like to use the negative. You could create something else with the negative space so you might want to keep that. But here we have the screws left on the mat. Now we need to get those off, number them and order them. When you buy a cricket machine, there's all tools that you can get as well to help you with getting things off the mat. You may need them, you may not. You want to be careful like I've said before and bend the mat away from the card. Remember how we organized these in Photoshop. We started from the top left-hand corner so this here is go be squirrel number 1. We bend the mat away. Let's see if we can. Yeah, we can get a little bit of that squirrel off. Now you want to be super careful about tiny details like the feet because look how little it is. Here we have our first perfect little squirrel cutout. Now like I said before, we want to make sure that we don't lose track of these. On the other side, we're going to write down the number. Now, I'm just doing that with a pencil. I suggest you take your character off the mat one at a time. What I want you to do to make sure that you don't lose track of what you're doing, take your first character off, turn it over, and then on the other side write the number that it is. Here we have number 1. Make it nice and clear, I'm just using a pencil. It's probably better to use a pencil and pen because you don't want it to show through, it depends how thick your card is. We've got our first little squirrel here clearly labeled number 1. Now let's get off squirrel number 2. Here we go. The same thing turn it over and write on the back number 2. We've got 1, 2 and put that one on top and start making a pile. I'm going to take each squirrel off one at a time, write the number on the bag and add them to the pile. When we've got all of these off this mat, I'm going to reuse this mat to do the second sheet. That way, we're not going to suddenly get confused and mix up the squirrels because they all look incredibly similar especially the numbers that are quite close together. We want to be very clear that we have got these numbered correctly. Now, when you're at this point where you've got all of the squirrels or wherever you've cut out off your first sheet, you want to make sure that you keep these safe. You don't want to lose where they are all lose the order. We've been numbering them all, but I suggest getting some of these little recyclable bags. I'll put a link in the class notes for where you can get things like this. I'm going to put each stack in a separate bag. So that they don't all modal up and get out of order because the reason we're numbering these is so that we will have an easier time animating because we can just pick up the correct cut out at the correct time and then swap them out each frame. Then you could also put numbers on these bags, I'll probably do that later on. I'll just help you know the order even further. You can see how this could quite easily get out of hand, so I think the best way my top tip is to stay organized and to do something like this. We've having your squirrels in little bags. Now we're ready to do our second sheet of squirrels. But you might want to do a little bit of cleanup and maintenance in-between. You can see that there are little fragments of card and fluff that have come off. You can use this scrapie tool and push along to get some of those fragments up and it helps keep your mat clean. You might not want to do this after every cut. You might it just depends, everybody is different. You can just scrape it like this. If you scrape all the way to the edges, you can just rub the little pieces off. It just takes those larger fragments away to keep your mat a little bit more sticky consistently. Now that we've cut the first sheet of squirrels, we've got them all arranged and organized in our little bags here. We want to press finish in the cricket design space and then it will ask us if we want to make it again. We want to do a new canvas of those. Let's save the first one, let's save this as squirrel 1. Now we have a new design space. Let's upload and we're going to upload. Go to Upload image again, browse and this time we're gonna select Squirrel Sheet 2. That's going to bring that in. Again, it's the same format, so it's a simple image type. We're going to select that and press Continue and then here we have our design. I'm happy with that so press Continue again. Then we want to select Save As a Cut Image. We'll click on that and then bottom right-hand corner, click Save. Now we're going to go to a recently uploaded images, select that a second sheet of squirrels. In bottom right, click Insert Images. You'll see that they've come in at the same vastly scaled version as before. We want to go to that width and we want to shrink it down to what we did in the first document, that first set of squirrels. We went to 11.6 inches. We tap in 11.6 inches, you can see that it's shrunk it right down. Then if we place that, we've neatly fitted between the 12 inch diameter again. I'm quite happy with the placement there. On top right-hand corner click "Make It." Again we have the issue where it's rotated the image. If you click on the image, click and hold on the right-hand corner. You've got the rotation will and we're going to just rotate it about 90 degrees and then move our image up to fit. I'm happy with that, that looks good. I'm going to go bottom right and click Continue. It's found the machine again, the machine is still there, that's all good. What we want to do is we are already set to the correct setting on the card stock. Now we want to put our second piece of card onto our cutting mat. Exactly like we did before, line that up with the grid and then lightly push that down, so that it's got a nice hold all over. Then we're going to feed this into the machine. You want to put it under those little notches either side. It's all nice and snug. Then you can see here that we have got our little flashing light showing us that that's what we need to push next. We're going to lift up the end of the mat just like I said before. As you push this button, you want to just apply a little bit of pressure. Don't push it but just help it feed in. Then that is going to secure itself, so that it's underneath here ready to go. The next thing to do is now ready to cut. We just want to press the little cricket symbol here and that is going to start things cutting. Now that it's finished again, nice and clear, we have got a flashing light here, so we just eject the mat like that, and then we can take off our second sheet of squirrels. In the computer, we're all done, so we can click "Finish" there. Exactly the same method, you want to bend the mat away from the card rather than pulling the card up, so bend the mat down, and you should find the card comes away much easier when you're bending the mat away like this. There we see, we have got the next set of squirrels, and our lovely negative space again. I'm going to do exactly the same thing. I did briefly show you before that there are already tools that you can get for the cricket as well. If you prefer, you can bend the mat away from your cutter. I'm going with one of these tools that you can get, and just that can help you get it off the mat if you're struggling. But like I was saying before, only take off one or perhaps two at a time just so that you can maintain that order because you don't want to lose the sequence and start numbering them wrong. So if we just check where we got to, the last bag that we had went up to 80, so the next squirrel that we have, we went to number 81. So we've got 81 and then 82, and then we'll just start making a little pile again. Be careful as well because I just realized I was missing a squirrel, and look, one of my squirrels is still in the sheet. So keep an eye on that as well. Make sure that they've all come away when you take the negative space off. Now we've got 132 little squirrels here. When you have finished, and you've got everything off your mat, and you've cleaned it up, I've got all of the big bits off this one, you want to make sure that you put the protective film back on because this is going to stop more fluffing hairs and all sorts of things getting stuck to it, and stop it getting dusty. So make sure you've covered that back over until you're ready to do your next project. There's four bags there with some squirrels in. I know here that I've got about ten seconds worth of footage, so I'm going to put out 10 bags and I am going to put one second worth of squirrels in each bag. Now if you had stickers, you could put stickers on the back. I have a sharpie pen here, so a nice permanent pen, and I'm going to use this to just write numbers so I know which second is which type. When we're animating later on, I can quickly pick up second 1, take those squirrels out, animate that first second, put them back in the bag; and that way, they're not going to get out of order. We want to keep things as organized as possible. I'm going to keep telling you this because, basically, the key to the success of this technique is organization. So let's write some little numbers on here. We got a little 1, and then a 2, a 3, a 4, 5, 6. Wonderful. It's one of the benefits of being left-handed. I'll put a 7, 8, 9, and 10. We've got all our bags numbered there. Now what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the squirrels out of the bags we'd already put in because they're not going to be in the right bags. So let us get all these in the correct order. Let's get all these bags in the right order, 4, 3, 2, 1. In bag number 1, we want to put in the first 12 squirrels. We know that we will have the right ones because we have got the numbers, so we've got 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, that's all correct. Then we have got 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. That is our first second of animation, all in the correct order. We'll pick up this first second and put this in bag number 1. That is the first second of the squirrel animation in bag number 1. Bag number 2, we want to have the next second. Now we want to go from 13 to 24. It's 13, 14, 15. That is our next second of animation, the next 12 squirrels, and they're all in the correct order. Let's put these into bag number 2. That is second number 2. Then second number 3, we want to go from number 25, all the way up to 36. Second 4 of the animation will go from number 37 through to number 48. We just want to keep doing this with all of the squirrels that are left. Here, we now have all of our organized squirrels in little bags ready for animating. It's going to make life so much easier because we're going to know exactly where the first set of squirrels are. There's going to be no checking: is this the right one? Is it not? We're losing track or not being able to find one. We should, when we come to animate, now have all of these really well organized. I think it is really worth taking the extra time to do this because, like I said, if you want good results, the planning is what is going to win you good results with this method. Now when you've finished cutting for the day, you want to close your cricket machine back up because you want to keep it all nice and clean, and avoid it getting dusty and fluffy inside. The way to do that is you want to lift up this bottom flap, and it will just clip in, and then you push down the top, and it will also just clip in. It's nice and easy, and that just keeps everything all clean and ready for the next time that you want to use it. 10. Cutting Multi-Layers [Part 1]: I'm going to show you the best method for organizing, cutting four different colors, and keeping everything in place, and sticking it all together, and it not messing up. We're going to start with the foundational layer. For us in this example, it's the body which we made up of the flesh color. All of the other elements will eventually be stuck onto this background body piece. We are going to be cutting out our bodies first. We're going to be using the same mat, the standard grip mat. But first of all, just like we did before, I need to cut this card down to size. Don't worry if you don't get this exact, because the mat is slightly wider than 12 inches. Even if it's a few millimeters over, it will still fit on. [NOISE] Just like we did before, we're going to go into the Cricut Design Space and click Upload. Then we're going to go to upload image, browse. I have put them all on the desktop this time, so we want to go to Body Master, which is the first sheet. I'm going to open that up. Now, just like before, this is a simple image. We'll click Simple. There's no pattern behind or anything like that, so it's a simple image. Select that, and then we're going to press Continue, and we're happy with how it looks. We're going to click Continue again, and we want to save this as a cutting file. We're going to click on the right-hand image here, which says save as a cut image, and then we're going to click Save. Now, with that image selected from our recently uploaded images, we're going to click Insert Images. That is going to bring that into our document. Now, when we did our squirrel before this, we went with a width of 11.6 inches. I'm going to try that again, and see how that fits. If we move this up, that fits nicely within the 12 inches. You may find that helpful as well. I have scaled my image to 11.6 inches. If you have been setting up your Photoshop documents with the same dimensions as me, you may find that that is the size width that you want to put in as well, so that your cutout fits the mat perfectly. I'm happy with the arrangement there, so now we're going to click on Make It. I am going to turn my machine on, and I'm going to open it up. [NOISE] We will click Okay here. We've got the same issue that we had before. I'm not quite sure why this is happening, but there's no problem. Basically, it has just rotated our image. I'm going to click on this rotation on the top right-hand corner, hold down, and then we can just turn the image around 90 degrees. Then it automatically fits into the mat, and we'll just pull that upwards. Then we have got our image perfectly at the top of the mat, exactly how we want, because that's then going to fit on our paper. Now that we're happy with the placement there, we're going to click Continue, and the computer has found the machine via Bluetooth, so that's all perfect. It's now safe to load the materials. We've got the correct tool in. Just as before, we've got a blade inserted there. Again, what you want to do is take your protective film off your mat, put that to one side so that it doesn't get dirty and dusty. Then you just want to place your card on your mat, line it up with the grid, and then just lightly push it down to make sure that it's got good contact with the mat because you want it to stay stuck. You don't want it to suddenly ping off because then the blade can potentially get all caught up in the card and it won't be a very clean cut. Now, the next step is to load the mat into the machine. Again, you want to align it with the little nodules either side here, to make sure that it goes underneath those. Then you push whatever is flashing. Here we have the feed button. We're going to push the feed button and hold this end, and lightly apply pressure to encourage it to feed into the machine. Now, the card is in the machine and ready to go. We can see that it says now on the screen, the next step is to press Go and then it will literally just start cutting. Again, flashing light, here we've got the cricket symbol, flashing nicely here, and we're just going to push that, and the machine will start cutting out our first sheet of bodies. [MUSIC] Just like before, when it's finished cutting, you will have the flashing feed icon, and that will eject our sheets. We just want to push on that. There we go. It comes right out. There we have our first sheet of bodies cut out, and we're going to use the same method as before to stay organized. Before we cut our second sheet of bodies, we are going to take these off the sheet one by one. Now, just as I've said before, you want to bend the mat away. We're going to bend the mat away from the card rather than pull the card up. You want to bend your mat down. Just do the edges first, and then work your way inwards gradually. Eventually, it's all come off like that, and you've got these lovely reverse images again. You can always use this negative space in another project, or for something else. I like to keep these. You could use as a stencil, or just do something cool with it. You can just use this underneath just to help you get your character off. This will be character 1. We want to turn it over. Then on the other side, we're going to write a number 1. This is going to help us stay organized. Let's put this here. Now, we organize these in Photoshop in rows like this. This is not number 2, this is number 2. This is going to be different depending how you lay out your designs. But basically, hopefully, you did it whichever way made sense to you. You just want to make sure that you're taking them off in the correct order, because that was the whole point of doing all of the planning in Photoshop like that. We'll turn it over. This is number 2, so we'll put a two on the back, and then we'll put that and start making a pile here. Then we're going to do this one. This is number 3. Number 4 [MUSIC]. I'm just going to finish taking these off the mat and then we'll get on and do the second sheet of bodies [MUSIC]. Now you can see also that I've got two piles here. I'm already organizing the characters into seconds. We've got a second one, and then we've got second two started here, and you can see there on the mat there were a couple of pieces that are still stuck on. You can either get those off of your finger, or you can use a scrapy tool like this to just get them up like this. The easiest way to do it is, take those off the mat, because that will affect your next sheets cutting if you leave that on. Now we're going to go to Sheet 2. Here we want to click Finish on the computer, and we are going to go to New. Do you want to save it, save that as Body1, and then we will go to Upload again, Upload Image, browse, and then on desktop we're going to select the Body Master 2, which is the second sheet. It's a simple image again, so we click on that and we go to continue. Continue again, and then on the right-hand side, select Save Image, and then Save. That will bring the image into the software, and that will mean that we can now place it on our work area again. Click on your image, that you've just uploaded Body Sheet 2 and click Insert image at the bottom right, and we're going to go with the same scale option as before. On size, we're going to go to 11.6 inches, and that's going to scale our characters down to the same dimensions as the first sheet. We just arrange that within the 12 by 12 inch space, and then when you're happy with the positioning on-screen, top right-hand corner, just click Make It. Again there's been a image rotation here. So I'm going to just click on the image so it's selected, and then on this top right-hand corner on this little rotation, I'm going to just turn it 90 degrees and then it will pop into the sheet and I'm just going to move it up to the top like that. Now it's all ready to be cut. Then we're going to click Continue. The computer is now finding the machine again, it's found it via Bluetooth. That's all good, and like I said, if for some reason your Bluetooth isn't working, you have got a wire that comes with the machine, that means you can directly connect it from USB on your computer to the machine, so there's a hard wire that you can connect with. Let us get our card down onto the cutting sheet, and line that up with the grid and then just put a light bit of pressure to stick that down. Just like with the first sheet, hold the end, just a tiny bit of pressure to encourage it to slide in, and we're going to push the feed in flashing symbol here. It's just going to suck in like that, and everything is now secure under the rollers and ready to go. Next step is to press Go, which is the flashing cricket symbol here. We're just going to press that, and it will start cutting [MUSIC]. That's the second sheet of bodies it cut out. We'll just push the object button [NOISE] and there we have it. Be careful because you don't want to tear anything [NOISE]. There we go. My lovely negative space again, these are really cool, I mean, look, being creative people, I'm sure we can come up with something to do with this negative space as well. I definitely suggest keeping those, putting them to one side, and using them in another art project too. Now we're going to do exactly the same here, and we're going to take these off this mat, before we move on to the third sheet of bodies. Use the tools if you want. You can use any tool that you'd like. There's this green tool you can buy. I quite like this one. There's also this, this is better for cleaning the map. I wouldn't use this to try and get your card off. This green handled one gives you much more control and is designed more forgetting the actual cardboard or wherever material you're using off your mat. Use this, it just helps you tease it off on the back. Get your pencil. We're now at number 22, put your number on the back, add it to your pile [MUSIC]. You've got to remember that we're going to be building up four layers onto each one of these. This is quite a bit of organization, but I'm just showing you multiple examples in this course just to show you what is possible, and that if you are willing to take the time and be organized, you could do something with four layers. You could probably do something with six layers if you're that ambitious. We go number 24. That completes our second [MUSIC]. Now we're ready for Body Sheet number 3. I'll put the card on there ready, and the computer has now found the machine, so it's saying to load the paper or card, in my case card. We're going to just align that underneath here [MUSIC]. That's our third sheet done. We'll push the Eject and it has released it [NOISE] and then we shall get the card off. We have a lovely negative sheet again. Now we've got three sheets of negative bodies [MUSIC]. Can you see here, there's this little bit stuck. There's another tool, another tool that you can get. It's got a little hook, pokey bit. It's like a pokey tool, and you can use that to just poke through, and that can help you release those little tiny pieces. Try and get yourself one of these tools as well. Often you can buy sets of tools from Cricket. There's a set that has this tool, it's got the little scraper, the pink one, and some other tools as well. We definitely advise you getting that because it's super-helpful. If you, if you're feeling a little bit adventurous, you could take multiple ones off, carefully lay them down before you number them, so that you get them in the right order [NOISE]. I know some people get impatient, in peeling them off one at a time and numbering might be too much for some people. You can peel off several [NOISE], peel off a whole row at once, and then number them all in a row. We have got 52, then we've got 53, 54, 55. When you finish cutting, do remember to place your plastic back on [NOISE]. Get any little bits off that may have been left stuck on, and then we're going to place this [NOISE] mat back on like that. There will be a maintenance lesson, which will show you how you can clean your mat too. When your mat gets really grubby, you don't want to throw it away, because we can clean that up and make it as good as new again. I'm going to be showing you how to do that too. Here we've got all of our dancers. Let's bring them all into frame. Get them. We've got second 1 [NOISE]. We've got second 2, second 3, second 4, second, 5, and second 6. What I'm going to do, is exactly like I did with the scrolls to keep them organized, I've got some bags. These are bigger bags this time. I'm going to get one bag for each second, 1,2,3,4,5,6. These are really cheap and easy to get hold of. I'll put links again, like I said in the class note. You should definitely get some of these because it's going to make your life so much easier, especially when you come to the animation stage. Then we're just going to use a sharpie pen, permanent pen to put numbers on the bag, so we don't lose track of which bag's which, and it's easy and clear to see straight away. We're going to do a 1, and then 2,3,4,5, and finally 6. This is going to be even more important when we come to doing our other layers of our character, and we want to organize all of our pieces and assemble. Because trust me, this is going to get incredibly complicated, especially when we want to stick this all together as well, because we need everything to line up. What I'm going to do, is I'm now going to put these bodies, even though we're not finished yet, I'm going to put them in their bags already, keep everything neat and tidy. You never know when you might have to stop. I know some people, you've got other things going on. You might only be able to dip in and out of a creative project. It's best to keep things organized right from the beginning. Make sure you seal it up, because you never know when you might have to stop in the middle of a project, the doorbell might go, you might have kids, and one of them playing up, or you got a pet and their dog wants to go out in the garden. It's amazing how small things like this can just suddenly blow off your desk, and land on the floor, and if you ended up just missing one of of your cutouts, that's going to ruin the whole sequence, and it's going to be a real pain in the **** having to cut out again. So keep everything nice and tidy, from the beginning, get into a good habit, and honestly, it may feel pedantic initially, but it's going to save you so much time in the long run and make your life so much easier, and you see when you're finished, all of these are going to be really well organized and perfect. If you want to animate the same sequence again, or perhaps you want to make some art out of the cutout afterwards. When you've animated with them, maybe you want to keep them but do a different project with them, or perhaps you want to I don't know, sell them. I don't know, you could give them to someone else to animate, you could do whatever you want. But having them all organized is honestly the best way to work. 11. Cutting Multi-Layers [Part 2]: If you don't have bags like this, you could always paperclip together. Just use a loose paperclip or something or get yourself a little box and just put them all in there. They're all going to have a number on the back because you will be numbering them. Make sure you do that too. That's going to ensure that even if they all get out of order, and you've put them all in a box together, that you're going to be able to find the one that you want when you need it. There we go. We now have got the six seconds of dancer all nicely bagged and they're all looking really good. We're going to go for a new layer and I think we'll go with the pants next. I'm back in the Cricut Design Space, and I'm going to go to Upload. We're going to go to Upload Image, Browse, and this time, we're going to be selecting the Pants Master. That's going to be pulled in. As with all the other ones, we're on simple, so we'll hit that. Click "Continue", and then Continue again. Then we want to go to the right-hand side on the Save as a Cut image and then click "Save". Then with that image selected, we're now going to do Insert Image at the bottom right, and that brought in ready to cut. We'll change the width to 11.6 inches, so that it's at the correct scale. Then we will pull it into the 12 by 12 cutting area. I'm happy with that. Now we will click "Make It". I'll just move these out the way. We'll get our mat ready. We're going to be using the red piece of card for the pants. I'm going to take the protective plastic off. Then we're going to position this on the mat. It's found the machine, so we've got a flashing light here ready for the mat to be fed in, and in it goes. Now, we're all ready to go. We've got the flashing Stop button here. Off we go. There we go. We now have all of the trousers cut out. Flashing symbol, go to the Eject button, push that, then out comes the trousers. Now, there are a lot of trousers on here. We're going to have to be very organized taking these off, and we're going to organize them the same way we did the bodies. We're going to separate them into seconds. We're going to take one off number and so on. A fun fact for you, I couldn't find a sharpener that would sharpen this pencil, so I had to go and find another pencil, but luckily, I had one. Same method, bend the mat way and release the negative card from the mat. Do keep an eye out as well when you've got a lot of things on a mat like this, make sure that they have actually all released, because otherwise you might lose track of where one is. Look at that. It almost looks like an animal print this negative. Pretty cool. I'll keep that one as well. As before, you need to remember how you organize these in Photoshop. We started from left to right. This is going to be number 1, and then we're going to go and work our way along all the way like this to get the right numbers. I'll use my old tool. I'm just going to get all of these off the sheet, and then I will start putting them in their bags. I'm not going to be using the mat for a bit, so let's just cover that over to protect it now. Put that to one side. I'm bringing my bags in with all the bodies. You've got them all labeled nicely. We'll start with number 1, and we are going to put the first seconds worth of trousers in with the bodies. All the bits that we need are together. That's 1-12. Put this in here, and then seal that bag up. All that is now together. Then we will get the next slot. This is second number 2. You can see that the numbers 13-24, we'll put that into number 2. Put the extra pieces in there as well. Make sure it's all sealed up so it's not going to fall out. We are going to find number 3 and take second number 3 here. This will be all of the bits up to 36. Let me seal that. Let me book bag number 4. Second number 5. Then seal this one up as well. I do highly recommend you getting bags like this. Then second number 6. Now we have all these little pieces. We know we're not going to lose any of them because they're altogether. Then when we do our next layer, which will be the shirts, we will add the shirts to the correct bags as well, and then we'll add the trainers, and then we will start the process of assembling these, sticking them together to build up our four colored characters. Is a long process. I didn't say it was going to be quick and I didn't say it was going to be easy. If you've got patience and you're willing to put in the time, you're going to have an awesome animation at the end of it. For the next layer, we are going to be doing the shirts. I'll get my black pieces of card. I'm going to put that down on the mat already to get that stuck down nicely. Now we're going to get things ready in the Cricut Design Space. We want to Upload and Upload Image, Browse. I'm going to select the Shirt Master, open that up, Simple image, Continue, Continue. Then Save as a Cut Image. Save. Then we'll click on that image and insert image. Then the same thing, we'll go up to size and there's width and we select all of that and then change it to 11.6. It will scale at the same amount as all of the other layers and everything will line up and match up correctly. We'll just position this on the 12 by 12 mat, and then we're ready to make. Let's click "Make it". Then we want to select the image and use the rotation, turn it 90 degrees. Like I said, you may not have this problem. Your image might not rotate like mine, but that's how you correct it if that's happened, then when we're happy with the position , we'll press "Continue". Now the laptop is going to connect back up with the machine via Bluetooth. The design space has now found the machine is connected with the Bluetooth and the little feed icon is flashing on the machine. Let's push that button and in it goes and apply pressure on the end of the mat, like I said before. Now we've got the flashing Cricut symbol to tell us to go. Let's press that. Off it goes. Now that that's done, we've got all of our shirts. We just press the "Release" button, and out they pop. There we have the shirts. We're going to now release the negative space from the mat by bending the mat away. Be very careful with the smaller pieces. We want to make sure that they all are removed. Just keep an eye to make sure that nothing is getting left in this negative space here because we're just going to lose track of which piece is what. There we go. Everything has come out nicely. Got a lovely negative space again. That could be an animal print too. Get a nice set of animal prints here. Now we have got all of our shirts. I think the pencil mark will still show up. We've got to be incredibly careful when taking these off because the hair is joined to the shirt, and there isn't a lot attaching those two bits together on some of these. Let's see how we go. I'm going to still use a pencil and it is still visible. That should be okay. So I'm just going to keep using a pencil and I'm going to stack them in seconds like we did before. So there we go. We have one. The next one. I could say be very careful with that hair. We have two. There's two pieces on this one and this is tiny. So we need to try and write a five on this. Then we got a five on here. There's two pieces for this one as well. So you've got a six, and a six. So there we have our first, second. I'm just going to remove, you see little pieces here, I'm just going to remove these out so that they don't confuse me. Because these were the face holes in some of the hair. If I leave them there, then I might think that it's part of one of the other cutouts. So I'm going to take that away. Now I'm just going to keep going, keep taking these off. So I've got all the t-shirts off the mat here in nice little pile, second 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. So I'm going to bring my bags back in. Put all my other character pieces. What we're going to do is exactly what we did before. So we're going to open up bag number 1. We're going to get second number 1 of shirt pieces. Carefully pick that up and make sure we get everything because there's some little tiny pieces as well. We'll put all back into bag number 1. So now we've got all the shirt pieces, the trouser pieces, and the body pieces in there. Make sure this is all sealed back up. Then we'll get bag number 2, and we would do the same thing. So we're now going to pick up the stack for the second second, so this is only images up to number 24. I'm going to put that into bag 2, and then we will seal that up. Then we would go to bag number 3. Take the stack that goes up to number 36, make sure that we've got them all. Put that in, seal it up. Then bag number 4. Only images up to 48. Put those in. I promise you this is going to make life so much easier when we come to stick this altogether, so it's worth taking the time. Then bag number 5, take all the images up to number 60, put those in. Then finally, bag number 6. Then we put the last few ones up to number 70. So we get those in there as well. Now we have just got one more layer to cut out. We're going to cut out the trainers, and add those in, and then we can start assembling these. We'll take the film off our mat again. We'll get our final piece of card, so the white card for the trainers, and we will line this up with the mat, line it up with the grid, and then just put a little bit of pressure to make sure it's done nice and firmly. Then we are going to go into the design space and we're going to go to upload again. Upload image, browse, we're going to select trainers master, open that up, and then simple, continue, continue again, save as a cut image, save that. We want to select the trainers that we just uploaded and then bottom right-hand corner, insert images. We will now go to width and change it to 11.6 inches. That shrunk them down to the right size, and then we're going to just move this to fit the mat size. Then we are going to just click on, "Make it" at the top right. Now click "Okay". Click on the "Image" and we'll rotate this round. We'll snap to the mat and then we'll just move it up. So that is all ready to go and now we're going to hit "Continue". Found the machine, and so were able to load our card in, so line it up with those little marks either side. Apply a little bit of pressure to the end whilst you push in the feed button. There we go. Our machine is now ready to cut. Just need to press the "Go" button here, the flashing cricket and it will start cutting. So now that final sheet is finished, press the eject. Out it comes, and now we want to remove the negative space. These little trainers, all tiny. Really tiny there, look. So we got to be really super careful getting this off. Bend your mat away. Then just really make sure that there is a release on everything. That everything comes away. See that looks pretty good. We've got some cute little footprints there, the negative space. Keep that. Now all we want to do is take these off in exactly the same way. We finished with the machine now so we can turn the machine off and we can close the machine up. So to close it. You just lift the flap, give it a little push, push that down and it just automatically closes. Now we're going to have to be incredibly careful and we've got to remember there are two shoes for each. So this is number 1, and this is also number 1. Do you know what I'm going to do, and I don't know if this will work for all of them, but it might work for some. Is I'm going to put on this one, which I think is the left foot. I'm going to put L1. This one, I'm going to put R1. Hopefully this will be helpful. So then the next one, that'll be an L2, and that'll be an R2. So let's do L2, R2. So L for left and an R for right. L12, and R12. So I've got my first second there already. Because these are so tiny and I I don't want to lose anything, I'm going to put these in the bag already. So this is the first second, and that's the first second. So I'm going to get those in this bag, already. So I get all those in here. Then we've got second one is done. So now we'll do all the rest of them. So I've finished taking all of the trainers off the sheet and I have now numbered them all and put them in the appropriate bags. Now we have all of our cutout organized and is going to be a fun game of jigsaw. So we'll start with packet 1 and we'll start assembling the first 12 dances. I'm going to show you my method for doing that. Then we'll go through each packet at a time. The next lesson is for the ambitious ones out there. Those of you that have decided on a multi-layered character. So you're using multiple colors that will need to be stuck together once they're cut out. I'll be using the dancer as an example and showing you the whole process of how to do that. 12. Sticking Layers: You decided on a multi-layered cutout. I love it. This lesson is going to talk you through how to stick all those layers together, the best glue to use, and how to keep organized so that you don't lose pieces or get them all out of order. [MUSIC] The next part of the process is to start sticking all characters together. I'm going to start with bag number 1, and the glue that I like to use is called Cosmic Shimmer, and it's an acrylic glue. The reason I like this glue is because it's really strong. You only need a tiny little dab of it, and it will hold most things together, especially card, and also it dries really quickly. This is the perfect glue for sticking together these layers for doing cutout. If you're looking for something, look for an acrylic type glue. If you can get this Cosmic Shimmer, then I highly recommend. It's perfect and it lasts for ages. I've had this for well over a year and there still glue in it. We're going to start with second one, and I'm going to take this out. [NOISE] We have now got a fun game of jigsaw. We've got to organize all these pieces into their numbered piles. Let's lay them all out. We'll start with the bodies. We've got 12,11,10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. That's all of our bodies. Make sure you can see them all. For our first second of animation, here are all the other pieces. Now we're going to put all these pieces on the correct bodies. We've got trouser 11, trouser 8. [MUSIC] That's all of our trouser pieces. Now we want to add all of our shirt pieces onto the correct pile. If we just turn them over, we see the numbers. We've got number 1 here, number 2. [MUSIC] We've also got some little pieces. This piece here, I'm pretty sure that's a nine. Make sure that you've used good handwriting because some of these are tiny little pieces and it's quite hard to see. This one says five. This little one says six. Then the final thing to add to the pile are all these little trainer shoes. Let me pair all these up. We've got 12. [MUSIC] I start putting these on, so these are the number 1s. This one is a two. [MUSIC] Like we've all of this process, it's going to take you a little bit of time, but it's fun. I think this is funny. It's like doing a digital. Number 3. We've got any other number 2. [MUSIC] That was successful. We have managed to create a pile for each of our first 12 characters and not a single piece has gone missing. Now the next part of the puzzle will be to try and work out which way round these pieces go, to fit onto our character. [MUSIC] Let's start with our first character and get that laid out. Here's number 1. We have got body number 1, trousers number 1, shirt number 1, and the trainers number 1. Here we have our set for the first character. If our planning was correct, which hopefully it was, then all of this should fit together nicely on here, so the trousers should line up perfectly. We put that where the trousers should be. You can see it's really easy to line that up. The trousers fit pretty nicely on there. That looks like quite a good fit. Then we can try the shirt on. You can see there's a pretty good fit on the shirt too. Now if there's any bits of the flesh color, the background color is showing through at the edges and you think perhaps it would look a little bit neater if that was trimmed away, then you can always trim this before you stick this on as well. I might actually do that a little bit. It doesn't really matter which one goes on first. I might do the trousers first, but I'm just going to trim the flesh color slightly, just on the, I think mainly the head and the legs on this one. Something to bear in mind when you're doing a layered character, is that even though it looks weird, you can design the bottom layer to be slightly less big, to actually shave some of the artwork away because that means that the layer that sits on top will sit on top more nicely. I'm just literally cutting, slithers off my character. Because this is all going to be covered over anyway. If you're noticing that that's a problem, you can do this. There's no reason why you can't do this. I'm just going to take a little slither off the back of the legs. Maybe a little bit of the knee here. Then I'm just going to see how the trousers look on top now. Whether that looks a little bit better. You can see that there's less flesh color showing on the front now. That looks a little bit neater. In fact, there's probably a little bit more I could just take off over here. Then a little bit just behind this leg here. You don't have to do this, personal preference. I'm a bit of a perfectionist so if I notice that something's not quite right and it can be corrected, then I'll want to correct it. That's looking much neater. In fact, we can take a little bit more up here. Just like that. [NOISE] Let's see how the shirt piece is looking. See that shirt piece is looking quite good. But perhaps we can remove a bit of flesh color of the bum area and maybe just on the tip of the hair there. [NOISE] Quite happy with how that's going to look now. Then we've got the shoes and I've said that this was the right one. That seems to be correct. Again, you want to hold the shoe in place and make sure that you're happy with how the background color is showing around the edge. That looks fine to me. Then we can try on this one. We can see that that shoe looks pretty good as well. I'm pretty happy with that. This is now all ready to stick. I said I'm going to do the trousers first. On the back of the trousers, get your glue, and we're just going to put a little bit of glue on the back here. Like I said, you don't need a lot of this glue, in fact, that might be too much. Just a little bit everywhere. If you've got too much on there, we can prepare the other piece for the t-shirt already. Swipe a little bit of that glue off. [NOISE] Just make sure that there is a little bit of glue everywhere. Like I say, this glue is really strong and it dries very quickly. It's super-duper good. We're going to pick up our trousers, and we're going to line those up with the body. We're going to get that stuck on top. Push it a little bit, get it into place. I feel like that's looking quite good. Then we'll put the top one as well. If we just carefully line that up, it should fit on perfectly. Give it a little wiggle. Make sure that everything connects well together. You can see that that's looking pretty good, pretty decent. Then we also have our shoes. I'm going to do each one of those, one at a time. A little tiny bit of glue on the shoe, let's button up. You just carefully put that one on, it should line up perfectly because we planned everything out. You can see that it does. It fits out perfectly. Just like magic. Then we'll put a bit of blue on the other one. Then we'll get the other foot glued together like that. There we have our first little character. Looks pretty perfect. I think that'll be animated from this angle. How cool does that look? Pretty good. I'm going to go and stick together all the other ones, and then I can show you how they all look in a sequence. This next lesson is a bonus lesson on how to improve the look of your multi-layered cutouts. Sometimes things can look a little bit messy, but there are ways to resolve those issues. If you're finding that you've got through the process and something's not quite right, or you just want to make it look a little bit more aesthetically pleasing, then this is the lesson for you, and we're going to go through how to make your cutout look absolutely beautiful. 13. Cleaning Up Imperfections: [MUSIC] When you are sticking together your layers, sometimes things can look a little less neat than you might like. This lesson is all about getting that aesthetically pleasing look and making things as pretty as possible. I'm going to be showing you some top tips for doing this and methods that you might like to take to correct anything that you feel needs a little bit extra just to make it look as good as it can. I'm on dancer number three now. As you can see, I've started the first two here. They're looking quite cool. I want to give you another top tip. If you're using a pale color behind for your background color like I have here with the skin tone, and perhaps you hadn't factored in perfectly making this background layer smaller so there's little tiny bits that show through, you want to try minimize that. You can just get some normal coloring pens. [NOISE] Get a color that matches so we're using red for trousers. Then before you even stick the trousers on, just where the trousers are going to be color that red on the edge. Can you see here? Color this red like here. [NOISE] What this will do is it will just be less noticeable. Obviously, you can only do this if the color that's sitting on top is darker. If it's going to be a lighter color like the trainers, then this method won't work. But if it's the trousers, which are red and they're sitting on this nice pale color, then you can literally just color the edges like this. It's not a perfect solution obviously. Ideally, you want them to cut and match up so that the background doesn't show through. But if you've already cut them out and there's just a little tiny bit that might show, if you color it in like that and then stick this on, then anything that is going to show around the trouser leg is going to be much less noticeable. You can see that that red, your eye doesn't pick it up. You see there's a bit of red there, doesn't pick it up as much as this color. That's a little top tip for if things aren't quite right, you can do that and equally on this top part for the t-shirt I can put black here. I just [NOISE] get a black pen and where the t-shirt is going to be. Make sure you only do it where the t-shirt is though. But I can just do black here because that's going to be where t-shirt is and then you put your t-shirt on top. If any of it is going to show behind, you're going to see this black pen here rather than the pink flesh. You can see it really does make a difference. Let's get it to focus one second. You can see it really makes a difference because you don't notice at all when you've got black pen there. Whereas a little bit of flesh here, much more noticeable. That's a top tip if you're having problems and your color behind is pale, just get your felt tip pens out color around the edge first. But again, be careful and do it neatly. In fact, just to add to this top tips. This one is number one. It was already stuck together. You can see that you're seeing a little bit of the flesh color around the legs and around the t-shirt. I've just put a bit of pen after sticking it together on this edge and that looks so much better, doesn't it? After you've actually stuck your character together, you can go around the edge with a pen so wherever you see the color underneath on the edge, just use a pen and carefully color that in. Do be very careful though, because we don't want to accidentally pen on the front of the card because that could start to look a little bit messy. But anything that might show up around the edge, just color that in black and it will look a lot better. You can do all around the hair as well. Here on top of the t-shirt arm. [MUSIC] You see how much better does that look. It actually looks so much neater, doesn't it? I definitely advise you to get your colored pens out and do that. But yeah, be very careful because you don't want to get black where you don't want black. [MUSIC] In the next lesson, I'm going to be showing you the animation basics. This is going to be going through the process of how to animate your cutouts in the most simplest way possible, the things to pay attention to, the best way of achieving great results. 14. Animating Your Cutouts [BASIC]: All of your cutouts are there and ready to go. Now we want to start animating. In this lesson, I'm going to be going through the basics of how to animate your cutouts. There are lots of things to be aware of and to remember to get the best results, but I'm going to be covering everything. Let's get started. Animating your cutouts is trickier than some of you might think. But the first thing you want to do is go into dragon frame, put a color in the scene and make sure that you're focused on it. The next step is, we need to put the reference footage that we've been using the whole process. We use this to write a scope. We use this to basically guide the entire process up until this point. We're going to bring in the actual reference footage as a lineup movie, and that will mean that we can follow that along frame-by-frame and it's going to help inform us of where we need our cutout within the scene. To bring off footage into dragon frame, we want to go up to file and load reference movie. Then we're going to select our dancer clip and it's just going to bring that straight into the scene. Now, this is a little bit large, but on the right-hand side you will have a little panel for the clip and you can change the scale really easily. You can also change the opacity if you want. I'm just going to scale it down so it fits nicely within the frame below my actual dancer. This means that it's going to be really easy to see what we're doing and to match it up, especially because we have used the same colors in this example as well. Once your lineup movie is in there, we can start animating. I've just taken the first picture, and now I'm flicking between that picture and the next frame that I want to take. Now, what we want to do here is we want to look at what isn't moving. You'll notice that his right foot stays on the floor. That's a point of reference that we can use to help line up our next cutout. As well as this, I put onion skinning on because we have to take the cutout out of the scene and then place it back in. This really helps with being able to see roughly where our cutout needs to be. When you feel like you have lined it up as well as you can and got into position, you want to pull the onion skinning back and then flick between the previous frame and the current frame to be really meticulous at checking that everything's lined up. To use onion skinning and dragon frame, there's a slider at the bottom of your screen. If you pull the red dot from the center to the right, will mean that you get a preview of your previous frame with a slightly dropped opacity on top of your current frame. If the red dot is in the middle, then you'll just see the current frame that you're on. When you're flicking between frames to check that everything's lined up, you really want to pay attention to multiple aspects. You want to make sure that your character doesn't slip horizontally from left to right. Like I said, look at what isn't moving like his right foot and use that as a reference point to make sure everything is precisely lined up. Another thing you can do is you can look at the reference footage and you can look at the angle of the body and you can make sure that your cutout in the scene looks the same. It's also worth bearing in mind that your cutout can shift not just from left to right, but also on the z-axis as well. Your cutout is standing upright, but it can tilt backwards or forwards, and you don't really want that to happen. However your cutout is positioned, you want that to stay consistent throughout. Do also be careful to make sure that your cutout stays at the same angle while standing up every frame as well. You can see that I have used a rig. These cutouts aren't going to stand up on their own. The best way to use a rig in this scenario is to have it off to the side and to try and stick it behind the cutout so that you don't really see any of the sticky tack around the actual character. This is going to mean that it's gonna be very easy to erase in post-production. We'll take a clean plate of our environment and essentially we'll be able to take that regard addressed by erasing it. But I have got another example where I animated the squirrel, which I'll show you later, where I put the sticky attack a little bit lower down. This was problematic for editing because it meant that a clean plate didn't work, and it also meant that it was a little bit messy to clean up. But I'm going to show you how I approached this as well, just in case you find yourself in that particular scenario. Like with all animation, the most important part of bringing your cutouts to life accurately and in the most absolutely mesmerizing way is observation. You need to pay attention to how things are moving, and honestly, little tiny, subtle changes can make such a difference. If you're speeding through your sequence, you may think things are lined up, but it's amazing how much they might not be lined up. Even the slightest difference, the slipping of a foot, the angle of a body can really mess with the sequence. Do really pay close attention and use that reference footage as a guide and flip between the frames to just make sure that things are definitely working. You can see that the foot is just about to leave the floor. Then you want to look at what else is going to be not moving on the character. He's got his arm on the floor. Now we're going to use the arm at the front of his body to be the reference point, and the idea is that you'd make sure that that arm was completely lined up so that when the foot comes off the floor, you're not really worrying so much about that. It's much easier to line up the part of the cutout that is constant. This is going to change from frame to frame because before we were lining up via the foot, now we're lining up via the arm. You'll find later on in this particular sequence that there are some moments where the character actually goes up into the air, completely leaves the floor. If we move ahead to one of those points, here we're at the point where the character is now going to leave the floor. We've got this frame where the characters on just one arm and after this picture, the character will be airborne. In this situation, you want to look at where an arm is in relation to the next frame. We've got the arm here is touching the floor. When we move ahead to the next frame, look at where that straight arm is in relation. You'll see that the hand is in the same plane of motion. It's in a vertical line upwards. We want that hand on the airborne dancer to line up with where that arm was when the dancers still had contact with the floor. Then another thing to look at here is the angle of the body. You want to pay attention to the other hand on how far away it should be from the floor and whether the body is moving at the correct angle. I think this looks pretty accurate, but that's something that you might find tricky, and again it's observation, taking your time before you take the picture. Now the next image after this airborne image, the characters coming back down to earth. Again, you want to look at where is the arm in relation to the arm in the next picture? Is there any part of the character when you flip between images that isn't moving? Is the leg in the exact same position or has the leg moved? Is there any part of that character's body that you can line up and use as a reference? If you look at the two pictures together, his bum area, it turns but it doesn't actually move. That shows you that the character is staying at the same height in the air and you can use his middle section as a reference point to line things back up. Then in the next picture he's actually making contact with the ground again. Again, you want to look at the angle of the legs to help you arrange position and also look at where their arm is. The arm that's now coming down, needs to look consistent from the frame before. You're lining things up based on that arm. Looking at the orientation of the legs, that leg sticking out at the side is almost at a right angle. You want to look at that and you want to look at your cutout and make a judgment call as to whether you think that looks correct. If we take the onion skin off and we flip between pictures, you can look at the shape of his arm before it reaches the ground and the shape of his arm when it has touched the ground. Now, you can look at the angle of that leg and then you can make a decision as to whether you think it looks correct. I think that looks pretty good, so I've taken the picture. Now we have got a lovely good point of reference again, the arm is completely stable between this frame and the next. We just need to align the arm up with our cutout, make sure it doesn't shift forwards or backwards, and then we'll be ready to take the next picture. When you're doing your sequence, wherever character you've chosen to cut out, wherever you're animating, look at this stillness in your character from frame to frame. Focus on whatever isn't moving and try and use that as a reference point to line up. This is a particularly difficult one to animate to and track in some ways because there's a lot of movement happening. But there are still moments of still, there are moments of contact which we can use as reference. I'll show you briefly how I animated the BMX and also the squirrel and in those examples, I'll touch on some different aspects of lining up things well as well. Now we're onto the BMX example and as before, we're loading in the lineup movie as reference, and I'm just shrinking that down so that I can have this in the scene below the actual BMX bike that I'm animating. You can see I've taken a similar approach with my rigging, put it off to the side and I am holding it up with the sticky tack behind the cut-out so you can't really see it. Now with this animation, you'll notice that the bike actually exceeds the edges of the frame. When I did these cut-outs, there would be flat edges to some of the images because obviously, it cuts off at the edges of the video. Now, my plan for this was I chose a part of the sequence that was going to loop. It's about two seconds long, and the idea was this guy can keep swinging his bike around and around and around forever because it would loop. I planned to put this on Instagram, so it didn't really matter that things were cut off because in the edit, I'm going to crop this animation to a square, which means that things will fit nicely. I'm not going to pay too much attention to that lining up for this because when you shoot still images, you have got a really large image, it gives you the scope to zoom in when you're editing. That means that I don't really have to line things up in the frame when I'm taking the pictures, I can sort that out in the edit, and I'll show you how I do this as well. I'm just making sure that everything's focused. If you've not done that before, you go to the cinematography window, and then you can zoom in and check the focus. Just take a test shot and that will show you the sharp image of how things will look when you export things out. When you're animating something like this, there's multiple parts to look at. You've got a lot of movement in the bike because the bike's being swung around. But the actual character on the bike remains quite stable. His body is going to be quite central to the frame the whole way through. You can use the body of the character as a good frame of reference as well as that front wheel because you'll notice that it's the back wheel that swings around and that front wheel stays fairly constant. There is some movement, the beginning of the sequence, the wheel comes forward slightly, so you want to bear that in mind. When you take your cut-out out of the frame, I always pull the onion skinning across so that that gives me a guide for lining things back up. When you think you've got it roughly in the same place, do take the onion skinning off because it can be more of a hindrance than a help at that point, and you literally want to just flip between the frame that you've just taken and the frame that you're about to capture, and just flip between that, look at the reference footage and check that you're happy with how things move together and line up. All of animation is literally observing the frame that you're on and the frame before, so you're taking a picture, and then you're just watching the changes. It's like spot the difference, and you're just making sure that those differences are working well together. If you keep doing that throughout your whole sequence, then you'll end up with something that you're happy with. Try not to get overly stressed out when you're animating, no matter what you're animating, just focus on the frame that you're on and the frame before. I'll jump ahead in the sequence to where we've got the bike being cut off to just show you other ways that you can line things up if you want. We're now getting to the point where the bicycle is cutting off. You can see that there's a flat edge on the tire and this is because the bike is now leaving the frame. It's going out of shot because the shot was so tight on the actual action. Now, what you might want to do in a situation like this is use the guides available in Dragonframe to help you line up your shots. That straight edge with all our cut-outs should always fall in the same position. You could use a couple of straight line guides to just put some lines where those flat edges are. You'll notice that the character has also lost the top of his head. We can put a line across the top where his head's cut off. Now, this again, might be helpful for some of you, others of you may find it annoying and you may want to just trust your eye and your judgment more because sometimes things won't quite line up for various reasons. You may have had your card tilting at an angle, which perhaps you didn't even realize, that's another thing to pay attention to I mentioned before. You're not just lining things up from left to right where you can see that's worked really well with the lines, but you're also paying attention to the angle of the card. Are you keeping your card upright every frame or is there a frame where it accidentally tilts back a few degrees or tilts forward a few degrees? That's going to change the way things look. Do bear that in mind as well. I did capture a piece of footage whilst I was animating the BMX just to show you a side view and what I mean by that as well. Pretty simple stuff and now I'll go on to show you the squirrel and what I meant about the sticky tack and a bad way to rig. Again, as with the other examples, I have put in my reference footage, and I've just decided to scale that down so that it fits in the scene with my squirrel. You could overlay it like this. You could actually put your reference footage directly on top, but that might be distracting and it might be difficult to see what you're doing. I suggest just putting it in the frame, probably parallel to what you're animating, and just shrink it down so that you can watch them side-by-side. That's quite a good way to observe what's happening. You'll notice that in this animation, I decided to not use the sticky tack with a wire. I decided to just put a blob of sticky tack behind the squirrel on the desk. My hope was that I would, well, be able to conceal this behind the cut-out. Unfortunately, there was such a small amount of contact with the squirrel's feet that you could still see the sticky tack through. Because of the angle that I was animating and everything, I couldn't think of a way to improve this at the time, so I just went along with it and I thought it would be a good thing to show you how to correct that in post-production because it is not quite as straightforward as a straight out rig removal with a clean plate. Also, just to show you that even when things aren't perfect in camera, they are often solvable in post-production. Another issue that I had with this particular animation was, in the scene, my squirrel is eating some seeds on this table. I thought it would be nice to have some seeds around my cut-out. I got sesame seeds, they're really tiny. Too tiny, in fact, to stick down. I thought you know what? I've been doing this for years. I'm not going to knock any of those seeds or blow any of those seeds. But I was animating the sequence for several hours because it was about 10 seconds long. I was bending an incredibly uncomfortable angle. I was frustrated, tired as we get with animation, and what happened? I wasn't paying close enough attention and I accidentally flipped a few seeds and they moved about. That means that any clean plate that I had taken with the seeds in shot, well, it wouldn't be helpful because the seeds have moved. That's another thing that I had to correct in post-production. But I can show you how I did that. These things happen for a reason. Everybody makes mistakes and I'm very open about telling you when things have gone wrong because I think that that helps you learn too, and it stops you from making the errors that I may have made with my own stuff. The other thing that was difficult with this squirrel was the fact that there isn't a lot of movement going on. It's a very subtle animation because the mouse moving, there's some hand movement. The body is pretty still apart from when the squirrel goes to bend down and then comes back up. The challenge here is that you have to be so precise with the placement of the squirrel to make it look correct, to get it to look realistic. With say the dancer, there was so much movement happening that a slight incorrect placement probably wouldn't be noticeable when you played it back. If it was a few millimeters out, you might just accept it. But with the squirrel, that wasn't going to be possible. Again, that's why this one took longer to animate. It was probably the simplest of all of the cut-outs, but actually, the simplicity made it a challenge. That's another thing to bear in mind with your own animations. The things to remember here are to rig and put the rig out to the side so it's easy to erase. Always make sure to take a clean plate as well. You can do that at the beginning. Take a clean image of the environment, or you can do that at the end, or if you want to be really safe, you can do it at the beginning and at the end. You want to make sure that all your settings are correct though. You want to make sure that the plane of focus that you set your camera to is the same. I tend to do mine at the end because often I'll put in the cut-out, check the focus, and then at the end is obviously the same, so I'll just take the cut-out out of the scene and then take a picture of the environment at the end. Yeah, I hope you found this helpful with knowing how to better and successfully animate your cut-outs. Some of you may have been drawn to this course because of the original animation I did with my dog, Lily. In that animation, I involved my hands. I'm going to briefly explain in a bonus video that will follow this one, how you would go about doing that. In the next lesson, I'm going to be going through some more advanced animation advice and techniques. This will be useful for those of you that are being more ambitious and perhaps want to have your hands involved. Things can get a bit more complicated. I'm going to be tackling all of that in this more advanced animation lesson. 15. Animating Your Cutouts [DYNAMIC]: [MUSIC] So you want something a little bit more challenging? I've got you covered. This lesson is going to be more advanced animation techniques, so you're set up to go as ambitious as you want with your cutouts. Let's get started. Here we have that animation that I did with my dog Lily. Now I took a different approach here. I learned from this process because this was the first time that I had properly tried this cutout process in 3D space and using my hands. The thing that I found out straight away is every single time I had to change the dog cutout. I couldn't do it with just one hand. I had to put the pencil down, and use both hands to line up the dog before putting my hand back in the right position with the pencil held on that left-hand side. By doing this, the movement of my hand was not as precise and smooth as I would've liked. There was a lot of mobble, because trying to line your hand up, get the finger positions correct, get your hand correct in 3D space, and just to look as if you have done a fluid motion, it's almost impossible to line things up like that. What I did and this is what you would have to do if you wanted to have your hands in shot, is I made sure a bit like when you're doing a split screen, so you know that effect where you put yourself in a scene multiple times, you make sure that you don't obstruct where you are elsewhere in the scene. I had to make sure but my hand didn't cross the dog cutout. It didn't interact. There was enough space between my hand animation on the left and the dog animation on the right. This meant that I'd be able to composite two different animated versions together to correct my hand. What I did was I went through the whole sequence. It's not really about my hand, it's about the dog. The aim for this first animation part was to get that dog animation perfect, spot on. I would be taken care with my hand, but it wasn't really about my hand. I just wanted to get the timing right for the movement and flicking that bowl out for the dog to catch. I went through and I animated the whole sequence, and then my trick for getting things to look more smooth was to then export directly from Dragonframe this sequence with the rigs in and everything. Then open up a new scene in Dragonframe and load the first part of animation that I'd already just done as a lineup layer. You know how we had been putting our lineup movie and you can see it here with Lily. I didn't shrink it down on this version. It just is full screen on a dropped opacity, which is really annoying. That's why I didn't teach that in this class. But basically, I loaded in the animation that I just done with my hand in as a reference movie, and I put that to the side. I made that small. Unfortunately, at the time I didn't document that part of the process. But hopefully you can understand what I did. Then I re-animated my hand. I looked at where the hand was in position with the animation that I've done with Lily, and then re-animated the hand. There was no dog in the second version, it was just my hand and I can put those images on screen now to show you. I can show you how my hand played out on its own and how the original animation played out on its own. Then in Photoshop, for every frame, I brought these two versions together. Now this is something that you could've done in After Effects, you could've marched out in their. That's the method that I'm quite so comfortable with. I much prefer to do things in Photoshop. I've used Photoshop probably more than After Effects. I just composited the two images together for every frame, and I'll show you briefly how I did that as well. I can show you the change, the difference that it made, and that is how you would animate your hands in frame with a paper cutout. This is for the more advanced animators out there. It's hard enough getting your cut outs to line up and look perfect. This is really adding another layer of complexity, but it does look amazing when you do it well. This is my method for getting around that problem and getting everything to look absolutely perfect and smooth. I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions on how I did this or anything else that I've explained in this course so far, then just drop a post in the private Facebook group and I'll be happy to help or you can even book in a mentorship session with me which is a live one-on-one video call. I can have a look at what you've done and I can try and help you out as much as I can give you advice. Perhaps you've got an even more complex idea that you want to talk through with me. I'm happy to do that as well. I'm happy to help you problem-solve, help you work out the best way of doing things. In the next lesson, you are going to learn the basics of how to edit your images. This is for people who just want to edit out a rig or perhaps some sticky tack, and to correct some simple things that may have gone wrong during animation. 16. Image Editing [Basics]: [MUSIC] At this point, you've got everything animated. Well done, this is a super-duper achievement. But now you probably have some editing to do. This lesson's going to talk you through the basics of image editing. This could be removing rigs, perhaps correcting something small that went wrong in camera. I'll also be showing you a method for painting out rigs or sticky tack where you don't even need a clean plate. Perhaps that's because you've got to take one, it does happen. But sometimes your clean plate just doesn't work. I'm going to show you how to get around that and to get really good results even if you don't have a clean version of your set. Let's get started. Here we've got the BMX rig removal, nice and simple. We have got our clean plate opened and we have got some BMX images. What I do is I just split my window, I go up to Window and I split it. Then I click down on the clean plate and drag it across holding down Shift. Hold down Shift, drag it across and it will land in the correct position directly on top of the other image. If you double-click the background layer and click "Enter", it will release the background lock and you can then change the order of layers so you can put the clean one underneath the one with the wire. You just simply want to go to the eraser tool, make it quite large, give it a soft edge, and then literally just erase that rig out. It's so magical. Look how cool this is. It's so easy. When clean plates work, they really do work. When you're getting closer to your subject matter, just make that eraser tool a little bit smaller. When you're going around the details, this is so quick and easy. My method of choice is Photoshop. Do it however you want to do it, but this is the way that I enjoy doing it and I do really enjoy doing it. I'm a bit weird like that. But yeah, when you're getting close small eraser tool just to get around things neatly. You may even find that you can see on this cutout there is some tufty bits of edge of the card. You'll see later that I actually had a blunt blade and I show you how to change your blade. That meant that the cutouts were not quite so clean on this BMX. You can go in there and erase any fluffy edge bits that you want to clean up if you want, or you could leave them. It's up to you, it depends what aesthetic you're after. But you can go in there and just make little corrections. You see this little bit here, you can just erase that out and you can make things look really neat and tidy if you want. Then when you have corrected everything, the rig's out and you're happy with it, you just want to save this as a new JPEG. You want to change the name because then that means that you'll always have the original just in case. To do that, I just go to File Save. I keep it in the original folder, that dragon frame, put it in and I save it as the same number, but I just change the format slightly. I will call it BMX_008 if that's what the number image was before. Then I think that's best because then it means you always do have that original image in case you did something wrong or you need to edit something at a later date. We'll do another one. I've got my screen split again, hold down Shift, drag the clean plate across, double-click the background, and then change the order of the layers so that the clean plate is underneath. Then get your eraser tool, soft edge, nice and big, and then just rub that rig right out. It's really simple. At this point, we're not worrying about the fact that the tire is cut off because we're going to be lining things up and framing this for a square so that we can put it on Instagram. I'll be showing you how to do that when we stitch everything together in the edit. That will be nice and easy. Again, when you're getting close to your character or your cutout, make the eraser tool a lot smaller so that you can get a really nice, neat, clean edge close to the subject. If there are any little imperfections that you want to tidy up, you can just erase the fluffy bits off the edges as well. If any of you that are interested, I used a 24-millimeter prime lens for this animation, and I had my f-stop set to 2.8. This was a really shallow depth of field which again makes rig removal even better because you've got really nice soft background, and then you've got your sharp subject in the foreground as well. It looks very nice and cinematic. Another basic rig removal example I've got to show you is with the dancer that we animated. What you want to do actually is with your clean plate, bring that in, and rename that. Save it as clean plate because that way you will never going to get confused, it's going to stand out to you and you're going to see that that's your clean plate every time. I'm going to bring in the first few dancer images into Photoshop and then I'm going to go up to Window and I'm going to split my screen. Then I'm going to have that clean plate in one of the sides and then I'm going to have the dancer in the other side. I'm going to hold down Shift and drag that clean plate across, double-click on the background to unlock it, and then change the order so that I have my clean plate underneath and my character on top. It is exactly the same process as before. Eraser tool, make it nice and big, soft edge, and then we're going to erase that rig out. Also, make sure that if there's any shadow caused by your rig to erase the shadow as well because otherwise, that will ruin the illusion. Then as you're getting closer to your subject, you make the eraser tool a little bit smaller just to help you get a neat edge close to your subject and your cutout. Make sure that you get everything. You'll notice that underneath his tummy there's a little bit of sticky tack just on the edge. We want to zoom in and we want to make sure that we're erasing not just that wire at the top that we could see, but also the sticky tack that is protruding underneath his tummy as well. Just like with the BMX, because we're already in there and we're editing and we're doing this anyway. If you're a bit of a neat freak and there were any imperfections in the edge of your cutout, any fluffy bits or bits that you just want to correct, then feel free to go in there with the eraser tool and just take those out as well. It's really quick and easy, it's not really going to add to your workload. If you want to do it, you might as well do it. Other people, I can totally understand you want to keep it rough and ready, keep it raw because it's going to look more handmade if there are those little imperfections in there. It's a bit like having the fingerprints in the plasticine when you do Claymation. Totally personal preference. I don't mind what you do, but I'm just showing you so that you know and you think to do that if you want. Again, we're going to save this as a new image. You can see that this is what the image is originally called and I just changed the file structure a little bit. I take out all of that useless information in the middle and I just save it simply as dancer and then the number. And then that means that you've got your original one. That's all safe just in case you did something wrong. Then you've got your new version, which will pull into the edit afterwards when we make our animation up. I'll just go through one more. We've got the clean plate on the right, I hold down Shift, drag it across, then double-click on the background so that it releases the lock and you can then place the clean plate underneath the image with your character on. Now we will make the eraser nice and big with a soft edge and we'll just go in there and rub that rig right out again. So satisfying, I love doing this. I love that reveal when you get that rig out and it just is wow, that looks so cool. When you start playing the images back altogether and you actually see wherever it is floating or free-standing, it's just brilliant, isn't it? It's amazing. It's like magic. I love it. Again on this image, we've got a bit of sticky tack protruding underneath his belly. We're going to make sure that we get that bit of sticky tack erased as well. If there are any parts of the cutout that you want to clean up neat enough, we can do that as well. [MUSIC] The next lesson is going to be covering more advanced techniques for editing your images. I'm going to have all the top tips and tricks for getting the best results there. 17. Image Editing [Advanced]: If you went a little bit more ambitious with your animation, which I highly admire, then this lesson has got you covered because it's going to be advanced image editing. Let's get back into photoshop. You'll notice that when I was animating the squirrel I place these little seeds around him because in the actual footage he was eating seeds. And I took the risk of having these just on the set. If I happen to accidentally knock one of which I did several, they would move and that could potentially ruin the animation. Now, it's quite good for a reason because I can now show you how I'm going to correct base. Isn't it brilliant? But we're all human and things go wrong. It means I can explain all these things for you. So we want to get rid of this sticky tack underneath the squirrel. We zoom right in. I just want to use the eraser tool to hopefully show that clean plate through for it to actually look good. Let me see what happens. I just erase here. It's going to look all right. It does seem to line up but obviously, it is too bright because there's a shadow being cast. So you can go to image adjustments brightness, contrast, and pull that brightness down a little bit until the area in the gap matches more consistently but it's one method of correcting the differences to just adjust this slider until it matches, and then you can conceal that. We've also got to get rid of this bit of white tack here. The best way to do that is actually to probably use the clone tool. We want to go onto our top layer, select the clone tool, make this a bit smaller. We're going to hold down alt, select a bit of a shadow here, and then just paint over the white tag, stealing shadow that already exists, and pulling it across to fill the space. [NOISE] There we go. We can see that we have no concealed the shadow there. And I think there could be a little bit more. You have to be as specifically neat as I'm being but you could say that there was a little bit more to erase here. There we go. We have our squirrel looking quite neat and tidy. You can see the clean plate showing through and that is lining up and looking fine. That is one way of correcting things. We are going to have this issue of these seeds jumping about. One method is to either change out the whole background, which will mean cutting around the squirrel and putting in one of these plates that we made. The only issue with doing that method is this little guy is casting a lovely soft shadow here. We're going to lose that. I think I'm going to take a different method of correcting these images. What I'm going to do is we've got a clean plate underneath this squirrel now. So I'm going to remove all these other images. Once grow one we're going to now go and we're going to open up squirrel image number 2. And so this method of rig removal is more long-winded than other methods. I loved the control of it. I've been doing stop-motion professionally for quite a few years now. Sometimes the method on teaching will take longer but I like the control and I like the results I get. Other people will mask stuff in after effects and do stuff in bulk like in lumps directly on the video. I'm not keen on that method. You might be keen on that method if you are using that method but I prefer the control of doing things one image at a time. We've got our second image here. Now what we're going to do is exactly what we did on the first image. You can see that most of the problem on the second image is the white tack underneath. We've got the problem of the shadow here. That clean plate probably won't work because it's not going to be the correct shade but we can give it a go. So we've got our image 1 here on the right. We've got a clean plate underneath. If we hold down shift and drag it across, we've now got that clean plate on image number 2. Again, double-click on the ''Background" hit "Return" and we can now drop the clean plate behind. We zoom right in. We want to get rid of this sticky tack underneath the squirrel so on the eraser tool. We want to just take this out. Getting nice and close. Make sure we're on the right layer. So we want to be on a top layer. We're just going to erase this sticky tack and see what happens. We will see the table color that is showing through is not dark enough for that shadow. There's a few things we could do here. We could make this even darker. So we could go to Image Adjustment Brightness and Contrast, and pull up brightness down to try and match the darkness of the shadow, which we see on the right-hand side. We're trying to match this shadow here. Obviously, we need to neaten up this edge here though. That might not be the best method so if we cancel that. Can you also see there's a little bit of reflection here of the white tack? Another method is to go back to that clone tool. Now what we can do, is we can clone a little bit of this desk in front to cover up the reflection here. We're covering up the reflection of the white tag that we saw. We're also correcting the edge here and we'll just take this shadow and do exactly what we did in the other image and just steal a little bit of this good shadow and bring it across. We'll see how this is looking. Now obviously the best outcome for doing this animation would have been to conceal all of the rig-in camera. Make sure that none of that sticky tack is showing at all so we wouldn't have to do any rig removal. That was my original hope. Unfortunately, because I like to work small my squirrel was so tiny that I couldn't physically hide the sticky tack because I needed more sticky tack to hold it up. This area here where I was putting the sticky tack was just so small but we've got image 2 done there. Let's flip between image 1 image 2, image 1 image 2, one, and two. There's a little hair or something here. [LAUGHTER] I don't know what that is. I could get rid of that. I could correct that. I'm not going to I'm just going to leave it. We're focusing on the squirrel and if you look between the two square images, they play well against each other. There's nothing that we've done that looks wrong. They look good. This method of rig removal, yes, it does take longer but basically, you want to go through your sequence one image at a time. We've got image 1 currently on screen. I'm going to flip to image 2. You're comparing those two images. If they look good together, then you've done a good job. Then when we open image 3, which I will do now as well, we'll be comparing that to image 2. Select open up image number 3. This method is well, actually, if you have forgotten to take a clean play, a tool, which often, well not often, but sometimes even myself, I can get so lost in animating that especially when I'm trying to document for YouTube because I'm trying to do so many things at once. I will forget to take a clean plate. And this method of rig removal and editing means that you can do it without a clean plate. You just need to have the patience to rebuild the picture. It's just like photo manipulation. Now we've got the third image open. Again I think the clean plate would be useless anyway because we've got a blob of sticky tack underneath the squirrel and honestly, it will be the wrong color and everything because of the shadows. So we're going to go straight in. We're going to forget about using the clean plate and we're on the clone tool and we're just going to use it to clone exactly like we were doing before. We take a good bit of shadow and paint that over. We're just going to completely rebuild the shadow for our squirrel. All you're doing is you're selecting a good part of what you want by holding down "OK", that will create a selection. Then you're literally just growing that in to cover up what it is that you don't want. I guess this does take a bit of skill. I've been using Photoshop for over 12 years. I use it pretty much every day now. Probably been using Photoshop every day for about the last six years, maybe, maybe even longer than that. I'm in Photoshop quite a lot and I am quite good at now doing this editing. Like I say, it's probably not the quickest way but for me, it always gets me the results I want and that's what it's about really. [NOISE] Just rebuilding the shadows. [NOISE] Now you may want to blend a bit better. You can always go up and change the opacity. We're going to grab a bit we want here, we've got 50 percent opacity. Then plunking that on this edge is just going to blend that darkness in. It's going to look even more natural. I'm quite happy with that now. We've got the issue here perhaps, of a bit of a white tag reflection. But let's flick between image 2 and image 3. We've got image 2 and image 3. We can see wherever we think there is a white tag reflection on the table and I do actually think there is one. There is this area here, you can get a hint of the white tag. I'm going to go back up to a 100 percent opacity on the clone tool, make it slightly larger. But take this good bit of desk here which is slightly lighter in tone, and I'm going to pull that across and cover over this slightly darker patch here to try and cover the reflection a bit. I'm pretty sure that's sorted it out. Let's zoom back out. Now we'll flip between image 2 and image 3, image 2 and image 3, two and three. Now the only thing that perhaps you could say if you'll being very picky, is that this darker shadow here may have been attributed to the sticky tag that was underneath. So actually perhaps the shadow shouldn't be quite that dark. If you decide that and you make that judgment call, you can just grab some more of the lighter shadow and instead, fill that area with the lighter shadow area. Instead, it's up to you what you do. If we zoom back out, we'll now flip between image 2 and image 3. Image 2 and image 3. You can see that looks pretty good. Image 2, image 3. Now if we go through the whole sequence. Let's get them in order. We've got image 1, image 2, and image 3. I think that's looking pretty good. So hopefully this made sense to you. I think that's really good. I'm happy with those results. I have a really high level of being happy, so for me to be happy, that's quite a big deal. This method of flicking between images is also going to alert us to when the seeds have moved, and at that point, we can do a correction with the seeds by taking the seeds that are good from the previous picture and using the same technique. In fact, when I get to a mishap with the seeds, I might show you how to do that as well. But yeah, I recommend using this method if you want full control and you don't mind taking a little bit more time. Now we've reached a point in the sequence where the seeds have moved a little bit. Now I'm going to explain to you how I am going to deal with this. You can see that that seed closest to the squirrel at the front is moving at twists and basically, I'm going to split my screen. I'm going to drag the squirrel I just edited, which was number 42, but I'll drag that over to sit on top of number 43 and then pull it underneath. I'm going to use that previous image, image number 42, is going to become my clean plate essentially for image number 43. That previous image is now sitting underneath this one. That means that when I erase the seed that's moved on top, underneath you're going to see through the seed in its correct position from the previous frame. I'm also able to erase the sticky tag from underneath the back of the squirrel because the shadow from the previous frame is almost exactly what I need to line up as well. We're essentially using the previous frame here as a proper clean plate. That's why I'm saying it doesn't matter if you haven't taken a clean plate because if you're editing your images systematically one-by-one, you can just use the frame before for the clean plate of the next image. So you can see here I'm just erasing that seed and the other seed from the previous frame, which is underneath, is now showing through. You can see there's a few little bits, a few little imperfections where I erased around the edge of the squirrel. I'm not quite happy with, so I've gone back to using the clone tool just to correct a few areas that haven't quite lined up because my squirrel cutout has moved a little bit. But now if we flip between image 42 and image 43, you'll see that there's no movement in that seed. That seed is completely static and that's because the seed that had moved on top we erased. I'm going to save that as a new image. That's all good and correct. Now I'm just going to quickly pull in the images that I've edited so far of the squirrel into my editor. I'm using Premier Pro. I'm just going to play those together as a sequence just to show you how this has worked and how the seeds are in fact unaffected and they stay still despite the fact that when I animated they moved. Because by using this technique, you're always erasing what you don't want and keeping what you do want. Hopefully that made sense. Hopefully that gave you some ideas. If things move in your own scenarios, in your own animations, how you can perhaps correct that. Yeah, you can see that the finished squirrel animation is looking pretty good. [MUSIC] We're now at the point where most of the work has been done, but we still need to stitch our film together. We need to get it in the edit and put all those images in a sequence, perhaps add some sound effects, and then get it exported and ready to share online. That's what the next lesson is all about. Just tying things up and getting your film ready to share with the world. 18. Stitching Your Film: You've animated everything, you've edited everything, all your images look ***** and span. Absolutely perfect. But you've just got a sequence of images. We now need to turn these into a film. So this lesson is all about stitching that together. I'm going to be using Premiere Pro, but you could use any editor that you have. If you want a free one I highly recommend Da Vinci Resolve. It's really good and it's super professional too. So we're going to pull in all of our still images and export it and get it ready to share with the world. Don't forget to share it with me as well. I'd love to see what you've created. Let's get started. So the final part of the process is stitching your animation together at the end. I'm not going to show you about sound effects, but I'm just going to show you how to bring your images into Premiere Pro and organize them to create your little animation. One of the first things that people often struggle with is where to find the images from dragon frame. You will have this master folder which is gray. You want to double-click on that. Then inside that is a red folder. If you double-click on the red folder, you'll find a green folder. That green folder is where your high-quality images are found. Now obviously I did my rig removal, so I have got the original dragon frame images above and below are the renamed images where I had done the rig removal. I'm going to grab all of those images and I'm going to pull them into my project window in the bottom left. I'm going to now close that and I'm going to create a new sequence. So I'm going to go up to File, New, Sequence. I'm just going to go for DSLR 1080p, and I'm going to go 24 frames per second. Then I'm going to call this dancer. I'm going to press OK. That's going to make my new sequence. Now I'm going to select all of my images in that project window. So click on the first one, hold down shift, click on the last one and you'll have them all selected. Then if you right-click and you go to speed/duration, click on that. You can change the duration here to be just two frames long. Mine is defaulting at five seconds. You can change this in your Premiere Pro settings, but you can also select all of the layers and then change it manually like this. That means that when I pull them onto the timeline, each image will now last for two frames, which is what we want because we animated at 12 frames per second and our sequence is set up at 24 frames. So I'm going to click Okay. Then the next thing that I want to do is just drag all of these across into the timeline. Here we have my dancer images. Then what you want to do is on that first image, JPEGs are captured at a very large size. They're bigger than you need for 1080p, which is what most people still use for video, Some people use 4K, but 1080p is what I have set up for in this particular sequence. So you want to use the scale on the left-hand side. So in the effect controls, you can scale to whichever size you want your composition to be. So you could go as wide as you want. You could zoom in a little bit, maybe move it down, position that first frame, how you want it to be. Then if you right on that frame and then click Copy. You can select all the other frames in the sequence. Right-click and then paste attributes will mean that that information is added to all the other frames. So you'll see all the other frames are scaled to the same amount. It is literally as simple as that and you can start playing back already the animation. So it's really, really easy. Obviously, you might want to add sound effects or music. I'm not going to add at this point in time. Then when you have finished and you're happy with it, you just go up to File and then Export Media. Then in Premiere Pro, there are lots of different presets which are useful for most people. If you're a professional you might want to set up your own custom settings. But I used the presets. I'm finding them really good. There's a few that I use. Sometimes I'll go to high-quality 1080p HD, and other times I will go down to the actual YouTube 1080p full HD. So if I'm actually going to upload on to YouTube, this means that it's in a format which YouTube is going to prefer. Also, it means that your upload time would likely be a little bit faster. Then what I do as well is, I always check this box that says you use maximum render quality. Then you just click Export and it will just export. I'm going to show you another example as well because I mentioned throughout the course about the BMX and how that's a little bit different. So let's now put all these dancer images into a folder. So to do that, they're currently all selected. You can click on one of them and then drag down to the folder icon at the bottom. That will just automatically put them all in a folder. I can call that dancer. That will mean that things are nice and neat and tidy. You can even put your sequence in another folder and call that sequences. It's always best to keep things organized, otherwise it can become quite a mess as you'll see when we open up the next project. Because my folder is a little bit of a mess. So we're now going to open up the BMX images. I've got them in my BMX master folder. I'm going to click on that gray folder. Everything's already opened up. Click on the red one, which then leads to the green folder. The green folder is where all of the high-quality images are. Then obviously we have got the ones which I had done my rig removal on. So I'm now going to bring all of those in. So select them all, and then just drag them to the project window. Then I'm just going to go up to make a new sequence. So I'm going to go File, New, Sequence. But this time we're going to do something a little bit different. So I am going to go down to custom, and there are some sequences that I have already created for a square and for a portrait bone shape. So I'm on Insta square, which I've created already. But what I'm going to do is I'm going to settings and I'm going to show you what I've set it to. So it's actually set to 25 frames per second because normally I will use this composition for video. But I'm going to change this to 24 frames. You'll see that the frame size is a one-by-one ratio. So it's 1080 by 1080, and the pixels are set to square. You can see the time code is 24 frames per second. When you're happy with everything that you've got here, you can save this preset. I'm going to call this BMX and yes, "Save Preset" and you can choose a name for the preset so this could be 24 SQUARE and when you press "Okay", that will land in your presets. When you go down to custom now, you can see that there's this option to click 24 SQUARE and that means that every time you want to have a square animation, it's going to be setup there ready for you. I've made the sequence name BMX and I'm going to click "Okay" and now you can see we've got this square here. So we're going to do exactly the same thing with our images, we're going to select all of them, hold down Shift and right-click Speed Duration and I'm going to change the duration there to be just two frames. Then I'm going to pull all these images across into the timeline. We're going to expand the timeline so we can see more clearly and go on to that first image and up to the effects on the left I'm going to change the scale. Now, the tricky thing with this is, I've set this for the first frame but remember the action in this one cuts off. Scale up the first frame there but this isn't going to be particularly helpful because we go through the sequence. We're going to have that bike cutting off, you can see here. We actually wanted to make the framework for one of these middle frames. I'm going to go with this one. Let's affect the scale now. We can see that's the image there. We want this to fit in our square. If we scale up a little bit, move it around in the frame, scale up a little bit more. You can see that now the character's head is cut off, the wheels cutoff, and it fills the frame really nicely. If we go any smaller, we're going to start seeing the actual edges of our cutout. That is what I'm happy with. I'm going to actually right click on this layer and I'm going to label it in a different color so I know that that was the one that I've just scaled. Then I'm going to go up to copy, so right click "Copy" and I'm going to select all of the other images and then right click "Paste Attributes" and the same here, Paste Attributes. Hopefully now we will find that the animation well fits. Let's have a look. You see that playing back, that looks pretty good. There are a few moments where things aren't quite right. Here look, the head is cut off. We actually need to change things further so we go to this one and we scale up again. Now the head is fitting there and I'm going to change the color just so that I remember which frame that was. Where I'm I? Is going to let me change it to that and then I want to right click again and Copy and then select all the other frames and then Paste the Attributes. Then we can play it back now and see how it looks. You can see that there is not a single point in the sequence where the sides of that cutout are being shown. Then what we can do is we can render as well to play this back correctly. You can see that looks pretty good and if we actually change the color of all the layers here and then if we whilst they're all selected, do Command C to copy and then Command V to paste and change the color of the new ones. We've now got a sequence that's twice as long. Let's watch and see if it loops. You can see how that animation loops. Do you know what I've done? I think I've actually imported that as a one frame instead of two frames because it's going a bit fast. What you can do if that happens is you can actually nest that sequence and you can then change the speed of the nest and you can put it to 50 percent, make it last twice as long and then we play that. You see, there you go. That is much, much better speed. That is the actual speed, let's render this. That is the actual speed that it should be playing back at. Looks really good and it looks really well. I liked that. I think that's really good. I am happy with that result. Say you then want to export this. The export will be slightly different. If you go up to File and then Export Media, instead of going to that drop down and selecting YouTube, you want to make sure that the source scaling says Scale to Fit and you want to keep it with the preset match source so that is going to match the settings of our composition so you'll see it's translated to 1080 by 1080 and a 24 frame per second frame rate and I've got that maximum render quality ticked. Then you just literally want to press "Export" and it will export your animation as a square. That is how it would look if you uploaded it to Instagram. I hope that made sense and you should now be able to export your little animation out in whichever format that you want. The next lesson is another bonus one. This time on cricket machine maintenance. I wanted to go through some things that we are all going to encounter with our cricket machine, such as how to change the blade when it gets blunt and also how to revive your maps when they've lost their stick. You may not have hit these obstacles yet but somewhere down the line, you will need to change your blade and you more than likely will need to go out and buy a new mat, unless you watch this lesson in which case you might be able to resurrect your current mat and revive it's stickiness. 19. Machine & Tool Maintenance: [MUSIC] Hopefully by this point you're cricut machine has had quite a bit of use. The blades and mat do last very long, but they're not going to last forever. In this lesson, I'm going to show you how to change your blade and also how to revive a mat that has lost its stick. After many sheets of cutting out, you will find that the stickiness just disappears. Your mat gets covered with bits of bluffing card and all sorts of stuff. [LAUGHTER] This lesson is going to show you how you can rejuvenate your mat and save some money not having to buy a new one. Let's get started. [MUSIC] I wanted to just do a quick lesson on machine maintenance and how to look after your cricut and other equipment that you have. I was creating my third example for you using the BMX gray on his bike. I cut out the first sheet of images perfectly fine. Then I went to cut out the second sheet, and you can see that it hasn't gone too well because it didn't cut all the way through. I tried to cut it again, I didn't quite line up and it just ends up chewing up the card. Why has this happened? Well, there's nothing we've done differently. We set everything up the same. The card is the same thickness. The machine is set to the same setting. The only thing it can be is this little guy here. This here is your blade and these get blunt. It's a good idea to have some spare blades just in case this happened. You don't want to be in the middle of a project and then it gets blunt, just like it has for me here. Basically my top tip to you is to always have spare blades. On your cricut machine you have these two areas here, and this one is particularly good for storing spare blades. There's a little magnetic piece and the blades are obviously magnetized [NOISE] and so you can put spare blades in there. Now I recommend that you always have some spare blades in case this happens, I'm now going to show you how to change the blade so that you know how to do that for yourselves. Make sure your machine is turned off. You don't want things moving, you don't want to hurt yourself. To remove the blade, you want to open tabby and that will mean that you can then lift it out. This is the piece that you take out of the machine. This is what it looks like. The blade is this little bit at the bottom. This is the blade and it goes down like that way pushing on the base. Now I do have a top tip. If your blade is blunt and perhaps you don't have a spare blade at all, what you can do is get some regular [NOISE] kitchen foil and screw this into a ball. [NOISE] Be very careful. Depress the blade here and just cut into the foil like this. [NOISE] Sometimes that will be enough to sharpen the blade inside to finish a project, especially if you just have one more sheet to go. But that's not always the case. Sometimes you've got a lot more to do and this is just a quick fix for having a small amount of work left. If you are needing to keep going longer then you're going to have to change this blade. The blades aren't too expensive and you can even buy some off-brand blades on places like Amazon as well. They are a bit cheaper. I'll put links to that in the class information as well. But now I'm going to show you how you actually change this blade here. Changing the blade is really simple, but do be extremely careful because it's very sharp. Even when it's blunt it's still sharp. But what you want to do is you want to push down on this button on the end depress that, and then you just want to pull the blade out. To slide out. You can see this is the blade is pretty easy to get out. But you can see that it is pretty blunt on its tip. That's how you get the blade out. You just literally pull it, but do be careful. Make sure to pinch here rather than on tip because you may cut your finger. But as you can see, even though it's sharp is not hurting me at all there. Once your blade is out, get a spare blade and they look like this when you get them. It comes with this protective plastic coating over the actual blade. Pull this off and it will expose the blade, you can see that they're, nice and sharp. Then to get it back in here, simply the same deal as before. We turn this around. To just push that into the end. Push it up. There you go. It just pings in, it just clicks in. That is the blade back in its housing. You can see the base glimmering just there. To put this back into the machine, you've got the flap still open here. You just want to place this back in like that and then close that flap up and now your new blade is all ready to go. If you have any spare blades, make sure their protective coating is on, and then you can use this magnetized piece here and keep them all nice and safely in your machine. Everything is magnetized, the flaps are magnetized too and this space here is a really good space for keeping other tools. You can put things like this in there. [NOISE] That means that everything stays with your machine and you don't lose stuff as well. Now I'm going to get on and I'm going to recap my second sheet of these. [NOISE] Now you can see that we just used the new blade on this new cut of the BMX. You can see this time around [NOISE] we have got a perfect cut. The next thing I'm going to show you in cricut maintenance is how to clean up your mat. These mats lose their stick over time and they get all sorts of fluff and dirt on them. But you can actually clean these up and they'll stay good. You won't have to buy new ones or you won't have to buy them as frequently. Let's show you how to do that too. When you cricut cutting mat has lost stick to the touch, after quite a lot of uses it becomes just a little less sticky. There are ways that you can clean this up. You can use this tool which is a plastic edged scrapie tool to lightly get off any little pieces [NOISE] and the large fragments that are on your mat, you just want to get them up like this, push them to the edges, slide off all those bits. You'll notice that it's still quite grubby in places. There's all this fibrous material from the card or paper or wherever you're cutting out. There are several methods for cleaning these things. Although if your machine is brand new, if it's within a year of purchase, Cricut, the company do not advocate cleaning the mats. They say if your mat is not sticky anymore to go buy a new one. But if your machines are older than a year, it's surpassed its warranty and you can clean your mats if you want. There's literally nothing wrong with doing it. I've found that you can get really good results. One of the best ways of cleaning the mat as easy you can do it still at your crop table, is to use some baby wipes. These are just normal baby wipes. You can use these for cleaning [NOISE] all things. If you're animating with plasticine clay is really good for cleaning your fingers as well. [NOISE] I'm just going to get a couple of that out. [NOISE] I'm going to clean my mat. Now the most important thing when you're cleaning your mats is to be careful. This stickiness on your mat is an adhesive and we don't want to damage that so use your baby wipe lightly, you circular motions and just lightly go over the whole mat. It's easy to see because of the squares you can just follow the squares along and you'll see that it's picking up some fibers already. It's lovely and disgusting. Just go like this over your whole mat and you will see that it cleans up really nicely and these mats they're not the cheapest things, so being able to clean them like this is super-helpful and it means that it saves you a little bit of money. [NOISE] You can see when we get to the dirtier parts of the mat how it really does make a difference. Like I said, don't push too hard, have a light circular motion. You probably going to need to have several wipes to do the whole mat. [NOISE] [inaudible] definitely you'll see a difference being made. You can see there how much cleaner the mat is looking. You want to now leave that to just dry in the air for about five minutes and then we'll come back and we'll see how sticky it now is. It's been about five minutes now and if I go back in there with my hand, look how sticky the mat is, there is so much more tack on there. That is going to be holding your paper for a good many times more and it means that you can make better use of the mats that you buy. Now [NOISE] the most important and crucial part is to get your protective film and to recover your mat. This is going to protect it even more and make sure that it stays sticky even longer. You can see the amount of stick [NOISE] well, how stuck this is on there now. It's quite dropped to peel that off. We have definitely rejuvenated the mat. That's a nice easy way to clean your mats and to get more life out of them. [MUSIC] In the next lesson, you will get a wrap-up of the entire course and I will be talking to you about what next.