About Character Preparation for a Multi-pose Deformation Rig

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 prevent 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 About Swapping Drawings.

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 topic to learn how to break down a character: About Rigging.