Hot Dog - Manual

Design and animate limbs in After Effects.

Introduction

Installation

To install Hot Dog you simply need to follow these 2 steps:

  1. After unpacking the archive of the plug-in, copy and paste the files contained in it, based on your operating system, to this specific folder of After Effects:
    • On Windows this folder is located in:
      "(after_effects_install_path)/Support Files/Plug-ins"
    • On Macintosh this folder is located in:
      "(after_effects_install_path)/Plug-ins"
  2. Make sure the user that runs AE has permissions to read from and write to the Plug-ins folder. If you have issues with your license file you can try to:
    • On Windows:
      run After Effects as administrator or change the permissions of that folder from Properties > Security > Edit..
    • On Macintosh:
      change the permissions of that folder from Get Info > Sharing & Permissions

User Interface

Hot Dog User Interface elements

1) Template Save...

Choose a filename and save current Hot Dog design as a template. All default as well as user templates appear in the HotDogTemplates panel.

2) Size in pixels

Affects the radius and offset parameters of all shapes(see Hot Dog Builder)

3) Single curve

Switch between using 1 or 2 curve segments.

4) Roundness

Determines the curvature of the middle joint. Irrelevant when Single Curve is on

5) Hot Dog Builder

Design a Hot Dog with up to 20 shapes. Control radiuses, trims, offsets, caps, joins, gradients, and masking. Designs can be saved and reused with Template Save...

  • Radius (start & end)
    Hot Dog Radius ui settings
    • Drag the bigger circles up or down to control the radius at the start and end of the shape. Shift-Click to snap one radius to the other.
    • The smaller circles can be dragged horizontally to control the blending between the radiuses.
  • Trim (start & end)
    Hot Dog trim ui settings
    Drag the handles horizontally to change the start and end of the shape along the length of the curve. Shift-Drag snaps the trim to discrete steps for finer control.
  • Offset (start & end)
    Hot Dog ofset ui settings
    Drag vertically to Control the offset at the start and end of the shape along. The offset is perpendicular to the curve. Shift-Drag snaps the offset to discrete steps for finer control.
  • Cap (start & end) - Determines the look of the shape at the beginning and end.
    • Round (default)
    • Flat
    • Square
    • Inverse Round
  • Join - Controls the look of the connection between the two segments of the shape. Irrelevant when Single Curve is on.
    • InRound
    • OutRound
    • Flat
  • Gradient - Create a gradient with up to 20 points. Control the interpolation between any 2 adjacent points.
    Hot Dog ofset ui settings
    • Color Bar - Click on the bar to add a color point.
    • Color Points - Click and drag along the color bar to change the position of the point. Double-click a point to change the color. To remove a point click and drag vertically away from the bar.
    • Blend Points - They appear between any 2 adjacent color points. Click and drag horizontally to change the blending of the 2 colors.
  • Masking - When enabled, the current shape is masked by the previous one in the shape stack.
  • Shape stack - Create, select, reorder and remove shapes. Supports up to 20 shapes. The shapes in the stack get rendered from left to right.
    • Plus Button - Adds a new default shape. Alt-Click (Opt.-Click) duplicates the selected shape instead.
    • Minus Button - Removes the selected shape.
    • Shape Icon - Click to select. Drag to reorder.

6) Skeleton Proportions

  • Arm Length - The length of the whole limb relative to the layer width or an absolute value (see Relative To Layer Width, Absolute Size)
  • Elbow Position - The position of the middle joint as a percentage of the length of the whole limb.
  • Relative To Layer Width - Determine whether the Arm Length is relative to the layer width.
  • Absolute Size - An absolute reference size that is used if Relative To Layer Width is off.

7) Animate Here

  • Shoulder Position - Animate this point to change the position of the beginning of the curve.
  • Hand Target Position - Animate this point to change the position of the ending of the curve. Drives the Inverse Kinematics rig (see More Options -> FK/IK)
  • More Options
    • Elbow Bend Direction - Determines the direction of the elbow when using the Inverse Kinematics rig (see FK/IK)
    • Stretch - Allows the limb to stretch beyond its length to reach the Hand Target Position when using the Inverse Kinematics rig (see FK/IK)
    • FK/IK
      • FK/IK Blend - Enables the smooth transition between a pose created with the Inverse Kinematics rig and a different pose created with the Forward Kinematics rig. (0% means the final pose is exactly the same as the Forward Kinematics pose, the default, 100%, means the final pose is exactly the same as the Inverse Kinematics pose.
      • Shoulder FK Angle - Determines the angle of the first joint in the limb. Affects the Forward Kinematics rig (see FK/IK Blend).
      • Elbow FK Angle - Determines the angle of the middle joint in the limb. Affects the Forward Kinematics rig (see FK/IK Blend).
      • Settings
        • IK Visible - Toggles the visibility of the Inverse Kinematics controls in the composition panel.
        • FK Visible - Toggles the visibility of the Forward Kinematics controls in the composition panel.
    • Guide Layers : Create - Click here to create 2 guide layers and connect them as controllers to Shoulder Position and Hand Target Position. Optionally choose to propagate the rotation of the limb to the rotation parameters of one or both guide layers (see Use Shoulder Rotation, Use Hand Rotation)
    • Use Shoulder Rotation - Enable this before clicking Guide Layers: Create if you want to connect the rotation of the shoulder(start) joint of the limb to the new start guide layer. Useful if you want to parent another layer to the shoulder(start) joint and you want that layer to inherit the rotation of the animated limb. On by default.
    • Use Hand Rotation - Enable this before clicking Guide Layers: Create if you want to connect the rotation of the hand(end) joint of the limb to the new end guide layer. Useful if you want to parent another layer to the hand(last) joint and you want that layer to inherit the rotation of the animated limb. On by default.

8) Parent Here

Use the parameters in this group if you want to parent any external object to the final positions or angles of the limb.

9) UI Settings

  • Controls
    • Draw Handles - Toggles the visibility of all handles.
    • Handle Color - Changes the color of basic handles in the composition panel.
    • Handle IK Color - Changes the color of the Inverse Kinematics handles in the composition panel.
    • Handle FK Color - Changes the color of the Forward Kinematics handles in the composition panel.
    • Handle Radius - Changes the radius of the handles in the composition panel.
  • Skeleton
    • Draw Skeleton - Toggles the visibility of the skeleton.
    • Skeleton Color - Changes the color of the custom skeleton UI in the composition panel
    • Joint Radius - Changes the radius of the joints in the composition panel.

10) Shapes

  • Shape Array
    • Gradient 1-20 - to animate any gradient, enable keyframing on the relevant parameter here.
    • Shape 1-20 - to animate any shape, enable keyframing on the relevant parameter here.

11) Internal

Internal Hot Dog Data.

12) Blend Mode

  • On Transparent - Ignore layer content and draw Hot Dog over 0 alpha.
  • Solid - Draw Hot Dog normally. Useful when mixing multiple Hot Dog instances on the same layer.

License information and Activation

After acquiring an Activation key for Hot Dog from aesweets.com you simply need to press the Register… button next to the effect name in the Effect Controls panel in After Effects, enter your purchase e-mail and the received Activation key in the Activation popup and then press the Activate button

Activation window

1) Email

Lets you enter your activation e-mail (or view the one in use if the product is already activated).

2) Key

Lets you enter your activation key (or view the one in use if the product is already activated).

3) Activate / Uninstall

Activate the product with the entered activation email and key (or uninstall if the product i already activated).

4) Cancel

Close the activation window.

5) Get activation key

Go to Hot Dog page at aesweets.com with option to purchase new activation key.

NOTE / Activation: Make sure your After Effects and your machine can access aesweets.com for the activation process to take place. If you have firewall or proxy add the needed exceptions or disable them before the activation. You can turn back on your firewall and proxy server after the process.
NOTE / Uninstall: If you're planning to transfer to another machine you must first remove all license data from your current computer - each license serves only one machine. After uninstalling your copy of Halftone contact our support for further instructions.

How to use Hot Dog

You can check our video guides on how to use Hot Dog at https://aesweets.bg/help-center/hot-dog/faq/

Applying the effect

1) Select Solid to apply the effect.

2) Find the Hot Dog effect, located in the AESweets subgroup in the Effects and Presets panel of After Effects or simply use the search bar at the top of the panel to type in 'Hot Dog'. With your solid selected double click on the effect or drag and drop it onto the solid.

3) To change the parameters of the effect use the Effect Controls panel or expand the Effects Subgroup of your solid in the Composition Timeline Panel.

4) For information on each parameter refer to the User Interface section of this manual.

5) Create cool stuff.

Changelog

2021-06-01 - v1.0.0 - Hot Dog v1.0.0 release date.