Here’s a detailed breakdown of the workflow for the newest version of KinectToPin’s After Effects plugin. The new panel is designed to flow top-to-bottom: start at the top (choosing either 2D or 3D), then work your way down step-by-step.

  1. Install the the KinectToPin UI Panel by copying it and the accompanying .ffx file into your After Effects “ScriptUI Panels” folder. Restart After Effects, then open the panel by going to Window > KinectToPin. It should look like this:
  2. Click “Create [2D/3D] Template.”
  3. Open the template comp. To import your tracking data, you have two options:
    • Import your motion track directly via the “Import [2D/3D] MoCap Data” button. This method is good for short tracks, but VERY slow for longer ones, and may crash if you’ve recorded more than about a minute.
    • Alternatively, export your data from KinectToPin’s capture app by clicking the “Save” button. Open the resulting text file (which can be found in KinectToPin’s “data” folder — 2D AE points are in “saveae-points” and 3D are in “saveae-points3D”), copy its entire contents, select all the point controls on the template “mocap” layer (press U to show them) and hit paste.


  4. If you’re using the 3D template and have a character who isn’t facing forward, reposition the control points by manipulating the “mocap” layer’s rotation and scale parameters.
  5. Import or create your character’s layers: it’s usually best to import as a composition and choose “retain layer sizes.”
  6. Add the character layers to your rigging template. If the character is vector based (Illustrator or AE shape layers), you’ll need to precompose each layer individually before you add Puppet pins.
  7. Add puppet pins to all the layers that will be controlled by two or more mocap points, and name them to match the skeleton’s joints.

    1. Select the layer you want to rig.
    2. Switch to the Puppet Tool, and create pins where you want the joints to be positioned.
    3. Press U to show the pin names in the timeline, then select them and hit enter to rename them to refer to the correct joint. If you need to look up what to call them, refer to the red control layers — the names should all match. Repeat for each layer.


  8. Click “Rig Puppet Layers” to snap the layers to the skeleton.
  9. Select your rigged layers, hit S to show the scale parameter, then scale them all to fit.
  10. To rig the non-puppeted layers — the head, hands, and feet (AKA the layers with only one control point each)– all you need to do is rename their layers. They should match the control points they’re linking to, but with the addition of “_layer” at the end. So: head_layer, r_foot_layer, l_foot_layer, r_hand_layer, l_hand_layer.
  11. Click “Rig Head, Hands + Feet“, then scale them to fit. You may also need to adjust their anchor points (select each layer and press A).
  12. rig_head

  13. Something not lining up right? Adjust the position/scale/rotation of the “mocap” layer to shift the entire character, or move the red control nulls to tweak individual body parts. If it seems like a puppet pin is in the wrong place on a layer, delete it, add and label a new pin in its place and press the “Rig Puppet Layers” button again. You may also want to change the number of triangles on a given puppet mesh — too few and deformation isn’t detailed enough, too many and After Effects will get VERY SLOW.
  14. Once your character is ready to composite, drop its template comp into a new comp. If you plan to go close up and only need to do a 2D composite, enable Collapse Transformations. This will get back a lot of the image detail you lost in scaling down your layers to fit the puppet model. If you want to composite in 3D and need your Z-motion back, click “Create Axis Controls for Character Precomp.” Leaving everything unchecked will give you full motion in all three axes. Checking any (or all) of the boxes will lock your character in place in the selected dimension(s).
  15. finaldude