Preparing the Character

Before building a puppet’s deformation skeleton, you must prepare your character. The best way to proceed is to have the limbs on separate drawing layers. This is similar to a standard cut-out puppet preparation, but uses fewer pieces. Since this is a more advanced type of puppet, you should keep the character’s head, hands, feet, and facial features on a separate layer from the body, arms, and legs. This will avoid the extremities from being distorted if the limbs are stretched during an action. It will also let you use drawing substitution to swap hands, feet, eyes and mouth poses during animation—see Swapping Images.

There are many ways to break down a cut-out puppet. The example described in this chapter uses these pieces:

Left Ear
Right Ear
Left Eye
Right Eye
Left Eyebrow
Right Eyebrow
Left Arm
Right Arm


Left Hand
Right Hand


Left Leg
Right Leg


Left Foot
Right Foot

Refer to the following topics to learn how to break down a character:

About the Model
Relative Sizes
Studying the Model
Breaking Down the Character
Adding Extra Drawings