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After Effects Bend Playing Card Tutorial - 3 SIMPLE Steps!

In this guide we'll go over the simple steps you can take to create a bending illusion with a playing card layer in After Effects. There are two methods to go about doing this in After Effects. 1 - The puppet tool method and 2 - the CC Bend It Method. By using the puppet tool, you can achieve a desirable 2D bending look, however it won't be as realistic compared to the CC Bend It method. The only downside to the second method is that CC Bend It is a paid third-party plugin, so you'll need to buy it first.

January 13, 2023
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How To Bend, Flip & Transform A Playing Card Layer In After Effects?

In Adobe After Effects, you can create the appearance of a bent playing card using a combination of animation techniques. One common approach is to use the Puppet Pin tool to create a bend in the card by pinning specific points along the card and then animating the position of those points over time. Additionally, you can use the distortion tools such as the Bulge effect or the Liquify effect to create the appearance of a more realistic bend in the card. Another way to do this effects is by using a combination of the compositing techniques mentioned above to make the card look more realistic and to blend it seamlessly into the scene.

In this guide, we'll go over the steps you need to take to create your own 3D bending playing card animation in After Effects. By following this tutorial, you'll be able to to achieve the same effect as us in just a few clicks! The same techniques outlined in this tutorial can also be used to bend any 2D layer in After Effects, so you can get creative with it! Start bending 3D UIs, web pages, photos and more!

Using the Puppet tool to bend and deform the playing card in After Effects

The newly released puppet tool in After Effects is a tool that let's you create bending points on a layer, then gives you control over how those points re-position and stretch the layer over time. This tool can be very helpful for creating a 2D style bent playing card (or any layer of that sort) in After Effects. Here's how we did it:

  • Import the image and create a new composition.
  • Place the playing card image on its own layer. Use the keying effects to make sure the background is transparent.
  • Select the playing card layer and choose the Puppet tool.
  • Place pins on key points on the image where you want to manipulate the shape. We recommend 1 in each corner, and 1 in-between each corner.
  • Use the Position properties of the pins to change the shape and animate the pins if desired.
  • Use deform options and apply mesh for added control over the deformation.
  • All you need to do is twist each point to make it look like the playing card is bending.

Using the CC Bend It plug-in to create a more realistic bend in the playing card

The CC Bend It is a Third-Party plugin, not a native feature of After Effects. So you'll need to purchase and downloaded it before trying this method on your own. the CC Bend It Plugin/Script can create a more realistic bend in a playing card by allowing you to adjust the curvature of the bend, the angle of the bend, and the amount of bending.

WTFx has made a great tutorial on how to bend layers using the CC Bend It Plugin. Here's an overview of what he mentioned:

  1. Import the playing card image into After Effects and create a new composition.
  2. Place the playing card image on its own layer in the composition.
  3. Apply the CC Bend It plug-in to the playing card layer by selecting it and going to Effect > CC Bend It
  4. Adjust the properties of the plug-in in the effect controls such as Bend Axis, Bend Angle, Bend Curvature and Bend Dimension to control the direction, amount and curvature of the bend respectively.
  5. You can also add realism to the bend by adjusting properties like Bend Softness, Bend Noise and Bend Center
  6. Animate the bend over time by keyframing the properties in the effect controls.

the best part about using CC Bend it as opposed to the puppet tool is that CC Bend It will allow you to create more realistic bend that appears to be in 3D.

Animating the bend in the playing card using keyframes in After Effects

Animating the bend in a playing card using keyframes in Adobe After Effects involves adjusting the position or other properties of the pins or the properties of the CC Bend It plug-in over time, creating a change in the shape of the card that gives the illusion of movement. Once you have completed the steps to apply CC Bend It to your layer, simply animate the effect controls through time. Here's how we did it:

  1. Go to the composition's time ruler and move to the point in time when you want the animation to begin.
  2. Add a keyframe to the position or other properties of the pins or the properties of the CC Bend It plug-in by clicking the stopwatch icon to the left of the property.
  3. Move to a later point in time, where you want the animation to end, and adjust the position of the pins or properties of the CC Bend It plug-in to the desired shape of the bend
  4. Add another keyframe to the position or other properties of the pins or the properties of the CC Bend It plug-in.
  5. Repeat this process for additional keyframes to create more complex animation.
  6. Preview the animation by pressing the spacebar or clicking the play button.

By adjusting the position of the pins or properties of the CC Bend It plug-in over time using keyframes, you can create an animation of a bend in the playing card that gives the illusion of movement and realism.