RubberHose 2 - RubberPin

Puppet pins, but way easier

If your idea is too complex for shape layers in RubberHose and the art needs that smoooooooth bend (unlike RubberRig), it's time for Puppet Pins. Loved and hated by many, it's now painless to connect a set of 3 pins and control them as easy as a hose and stretchable like all rigging methods. 

One unique feature of RubberPin is the ability to use multiple controller/pin groups on a single layer. Yep, go crazy.


RubberPin rigs are created by connecting the individual pin points to controller layers.

**NOTE** Pins are sorted from comp top to bottom (rather than based on creation order or selection order). So avoid arms that go straight out horizontally or bend upward. Put at least a slight downward angle on those limbs. 

  • Using the PuppetPin tool (CTRL/CMD+P) add 3 pins to a layer –this adds keyframes at the same time
  • Press U on the keyboard to reveal these new keyframes
  • Select these 3 new keyframes (or the properties themselves)
  • Click the button
  • A set of controllers will be created and expressions added to the pin properties
  • A fourth control will be created as a parent for the art layer and the end controllers*. Use this to scale, position and rotate the whole group
    • *note: the center controller should remain un-parented for correct positioning.

Bend Radius with Starch

By default, Puppet Pins bend pretty smooth but it would nice to customize the quality of a bend like Bend Radius on a hose. Sadly that's not how pins work. Along with Pins you can add Starch points. This allows a layer to be straightened in areas and curved in others. 

Play around with adding Starch near the end controllers or varying the Amount of a Starch point in the center. It opens up a new level of customization. 

Linking Pins to a Hose

Adding tattoos or complex texture to a hose was a lot of manual alignment in v1.0, but with RubberPin it's easy to bend layers and also link a set of pins to an existing controller rig group (this keeps layer count to a minimum).

  • Select 3 pins (like normal)
  • Then select a controller from the group to link to
  • ALT+Click the new RubberPin button

At this point the you can set the pinned layer to preserve transparency or the original hose may be duplicated (CMD/CTRL+D) and used as a track matte to mask the alpha of the pinned layer.

Tip: trouble Duplicating

Because of the expressions on the pins that make the linking work, the pins will get confused whenever you duplicate. Remove expressions then re-link the new layers.

  • Press EE on the keyboard to reveal expressions
  • ALT+Click the 3 stopwatches to remove the expressions
  • The Puppet Pin distortion will be removed and the layer reset
  • Link the hose to the duplicated controller group

TIP: Center Bias

As with RubberRig and RubberPin it's possible to move the center-point (in this case the middle pin) of the rig toward either of the controllers to lengthen a segment of the limb. On the Center controller layer is a Center Bias slider. 

Check out PuppetTools 3 

RubberPin was designed to be a simple way to control a set of pins as easily as you do with hoses. If you need some extra power for manual control over individual pins or a more traditional IK setup, I'd highly recommend PuppetTools 3. Use whatever works for the job.