Animating Inanimate Objects

Ever try to make a statue talk?

Bust of Washington

Statue of Washingto

In this tutorial you will learn to use Photoshop CS5’s Puppet Warp tool to animate the mouth of a statue and save the resulting images to build a movie that simulates an animated talking mouth.

  1. Select and save an image of a statue from ClipPix,  For an picture of a president click on the American History & Government collection.
  2. Select President’s of the United States and locate a statue of a president.
  3. Right click on the image and save the image to your computer.
  4. Open the image in Photoshop CS5.
  5. Open the Layer panel from the Windows menu if it is not already open.

    Layers Panel

    Multiple layers of Washington's Statue for editing.

  6. Right click on the background layer and select duplicate or press Command + J (Control + J on a Windows computer) to duplicate the layer.
  7. Make four or five duplicates of the layer.
  8. Layers can be shown or hidden by clicking the eye icon in front of each layer.
  9. Select the top lay, it should be highlighted in yellow.
  10. From the Edit menu select Puppet Warp.
  11. If the image has a mesh over it take the check mark out of the Show Mesh option in the Puppet Warp option panel.
  12. Use the Puppet Warp curser so set points around the mouth. Place one point on the left corner of the mouth, two points on the top lip, another point on the right corner of the mouth, and two more points along the bottom lip.

    Puppet warp points on Washington's face.

    Puppet Warp points placed on Washington's face.

  13. If the points are moved at this time the full image will move, to hold the rest of the image still place additional points along the jaw line up under the eyes on the checks, and on the tip of the nose. Watch that the overall image does not move around, if it does then the image will look jumpy when it is added to a movie to make the animation.
  14. Move each mouth point slightly and observe the effect it has on the mouth and total facial expression.
  15. Try making the lips pucker, open, frown, and smile.

    Washington Smilling after Puppet Warp applied

    Puppet Warp tool used to make Washington smile.

  16. Look at yourself in a mirror and notice how your mouth changes when you say different words and letters.
  17. After adjusting the image click the √ (check) in the Puppet Warp options panel to set your image with the adjustments.
  18. Click on the eye icon for the layer you are working on to turn it off and select the next layer in the layers panel. Remember, if you select a layer to work on yet have the eye on for a layer above your working layer you will not be able to see the adjustments you are performing.
  19. Make adjustments to the second layer using the same techniques you did with the first layer.
  20. Continue this process for all layers.
  21. Save the layers as JPEG images. This can be done by turning one layer on at a time and selecting Save Image As.
  22. For a quicker method for saving the images select File > Scripts > Export Layers to Files.

    Export Layars as JPEG

    Export layers as JPEG images.

  23. In the Export Layers to Files dialogue box select a location for the saved images, provide a name, select JPEG as the file type, and make any other adjustments you deem necessary. Then click Run.
  24. Each layer will be saved as a JPEG image.
  25. Open MovieMaker, iMovie, or any other movie program and import the still images.
  26. Drop the images into the time-line and set their duration to .2 seconds. You can use the same image more than once and you may need to adjust the exact time depending on the audio you plan to use.
  27. As the audio dialogue plays the images will change making the appearance of the statue talking.
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