Tag Archives: After Effects


I completed the kickstarter video and I am quite proud of myself for doing so because initially I hated doing the lip sync animation. I don’t know how some people do it, because only having 1 minute and 12 seconds was a lot. However, once I actually watched it back I was really satisfied with the outcome, and look forward to trying it again in the future.

I watched a really straightforward tutorial for how to create the lip sync. Initially I was going to attempt to use shapes and morph the mouth using different keyframes but this proved both problematic for creating the mouth shapes that had teeth and it didn’t look right.

So watching the tutorial you simply create the layers of different phonemes in illustrator, bring them into after effects and make each layer one key frame. Each keyframe pays after the other and then you just cut the comp down to the correct time.

Once you add the slider, expression and control (watch the video for how) you simply slide the slider until you get the appropriate phoneme and key it.

I did a quick version of the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGKXUJpvcIc

However, I noticed (prior to receiving Danny’s proper character versions)that I had forgotten to make the layer 3D so there was no shadow from them and also they don’t blink. Another issue is, I designed the characters in photoshop and thought I turned off the white background layer but apparently hadn’t, leading me to key out the white background and subsequently removing the whites of their eyes. Whoops.

I rectified these mistakes in the final version, although just before I hit render I thought I had gone deaf. It turned out at some point when editing the video I deleted the narration so I had to bring it back in and edited it again and try and match it up with the lip sync. Nothing is ever straightforward with me. Anyway… Here’s the kick-starter:

Danny did the concept art for this, (which you can see in the background and the tow main characters at the front).

Harvard Citation:

BloopAnimation. (2013). After Effects: How To Build a Mouth Rig For Lip Syncing (2D animation). Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lanbndDl1lg. Last accessed 1st Jul 2017.

Logo Development

I’ve been learning quite a bit about after effects the past few months and when Danny and I discussed creating the logo for, the then, Faolen Studios it came in handy.

Danny liked the idea of a jumping wolf design and so I created this.

Screen Shot 2017-04-24 at 19.16.35.png

I firstly drew the shape of the wolf jumping in Illustrator then went into after effects. I made a black background, added a layer with triangular particles flying out and then brought in the wolf as a new layer and changed the alpha settings.

Then when I was satisfied with how the particles looked in the wolf and that there were no gaps, I rendered out a frame as a .jpeg.

However, after thinking about it, Danny thought it was too detailed so I bumped up the particle size and got this.

Faolen Studios Logo 1

Now Danny has created this logo, (not the finished version). Also trying to think of a new name for the company at the minute it is now Blu Q Studios.

Blu Q Studios Logo

Lamp Test

Here is the lamp morphing into a monster. I don’t like that it goes over itself and I don’t fully understand why it’s doing this. I can move the points on the shape but it still seems to just fold over itself regardless to get to the next shape.

I intend to have the transformation process obscured by a fast blur and have the stages moved closer together at a later stage and hopefully that will, if not fix the problem, at least obscure it.

I need to really focus on the animatic at them moment so I’ll return to this issue at a later date.


UPDATE: I finally uploaded this test to youtube.

First After Effects Walk Cycle

This is the result of following the tutorials cited below which taught you how to use the puppet tool to rig in after effects. Exactly what I learnt from those tutorials is detailed in the previous post “Character Rigging”.

Harvard Citation:

MtMograph. (2013). Summit 4.1 – Character Rigging – After Effects.Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yRFBgojsHk. Last accessed 29th Oct 2016.

MtMograph. (2013). Summit 4.2 – Character Rigging – After Effects.Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9YlzbxxcoE. Last accessed 29th Oct 2016.

Character Rigging

I figured this would be a useful skill to have, and also it seemed pretty fun to do as well.

Things Learnt:


  • hold alt and drag on a layer and it will duplicate it
  • when moving shapes to different layers > select the shape > click and drag the dot in the layer panel up to the new layer

My Character


After Effects

  • Import the illustrator file as a composition
  • Use the pan button to move the anchor points from the centre of the screen to the bending points on the character e.g. for the arm, place the anchor point at the shoulder
  • Pick-whip the various body parts the the appropriate parents, e.g. the head is parented to the body, the hair is parented to the head etc
  • Parent the body (which everything is ultimately what every limb is connected to) to a null object so then you can scale the body via the null. If you don’t use the null to scale, then every limb scales proportionally to itself and not in relation to the character overall
  • Puppet Tool : simply click the pin icon and then click along the centre of the image to add the pins where the character should bend. Recommended expansion is 2 and triangles is 450.
  • Animation wise, have the “puppet” label selected down in the composition tab, and then simply move the pins into the required position and it will automatically key them
  • Parallax : make all layers 3d > create a camera with depth of field enabled > create a null object and parent the camera to it (use the null object to move the camera) > simply play about with the depth of field & aperture settings in the camera until you’re happy with the results

Sixth Animation: Koala

Things Learnt

  • Essentially all elements are created in Illustrator and then brought into AE
  • Use one of the colour schemes to create a good palette for your creation
  • Use the pathfinder to create quick shadows by duplicating the layer > offset it > select both layers and use the appropriate pathfinder button to trim the excess > darken the lower layer
  • All limbs should be on different layers for animating
  • In AE import the assets as different comps
  • For the koala comp I then rotated the limbs to make it appear it was climbing the try and then I moved the position of the background
  • Add an adjustment layer > drop on turbulent displace > increase complexity > decrease size – when your happy that’s the sketchy appearance created

Harvard Citations:

MtMograph. (2014). Summit 54 – Sketchy Style Animation – After Effects. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRdpJfixpeA. Last accessed 19th Oct 2016.

Fifth Animation: Map


Things Learnt

  • Create the map assets in Illustrator using separate layers for the separate items e.g. boat and land etc.
  • You should have 3 different illustrator files. The map, a file (the same dimensions as the map) but sliced into 5 different segments and a file with the leaflet at the end
  • Import the compositions (retaining layer sizes) into After Effects
  • First work on the comp with the slices. Parent each slice as follows; 5 is parented to 4, 4 to 3 etc. Then move the anchor points of each slice so they are on the edge of the slice joining it to the one on the right, however, 5’s anchor point is to the left
  • Make the layers 3D > go into top view > key the position of the layers and the rotation > move forward a few frames > use the y rotation on each layer to fold the map
  • Add a spot light off to the side to add shadow to the crease and an ambient light for the entire comp to light the shadows. Then lower the intensity, as it creates a white spot.
  • Go to the map comp and animate the boat by simply changing it’s position, I then added a wiggle expression to the rotation. Expression: wiggle(per second, degrees) I then played about with the values until I was happy with the result
  • Bring map comp into slices comp. Bring it below slice 1 (should be the bottom layer) > make map 3D > change track matte to Alpha Matte (map should then appear on slice 1)> parent map to slice 1. Repeat for remaining 4 layers ensuring the map layer is beneath the corresponding slice

Harvard Citations

MtMograph. (2014). Summit 38 – Animated Map Fold – After Effects.Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OjedL_51zU. Last accessed 14th Oct 2016.

Fourth Animation: Paper Plane

Things Learnt

  • Create Mask Perfect Size

Have the layer selected and double click the rectangle tool, if you then want to perfectly cut it in half diagonally then click off the shape. Then click on the shape again, select a corner and press delete (or backspace)

  • Creating 3D Precomp

With the plane created, you precompose the layers and move all attributes > then with the precomp created collapse transformations & make the precomp 3D

Using what I learnt by watching the map tutorial I was able to trim a path that looks like skywriting.

I feathered out the text which I created in Illustrator to make more fluffy.

Harvard Citation:

Mikey. (2014). Create Paper Airplanes in After Effects tutorial. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNg3-lHv_WA. Last accessed 14th Oct 2016.

Third Animation : Morphing

I basically created the silhouettes of famous cartoon characters in Illustrator and then imported them into after effects.

Things Learnt

  • Create a Path on a shape layer

Set a keyframe on the path > copy and paste the paths of the Illustrator image on to the AE path and key it

  • How to Make Illustrator Paths

Initially when I tried to copy and paste the characters into After Effects, all that was appearing was the outline of the shape and not the filled in version I had in Illustrator. To fix this, I noticed in After Effects the pen tool was used to create the shapes, therefore I used that to create a character (instead of the brush tool I’d been using) then copied & pasted it in. Hey presto! It worked.

  • Pickwhipping Colour

I created a background shape and dropped the Colorama effect on it, and then alt+clicked the colour on the fill part of the layer, then dragged the swirl up to the Character’s fill colour. This means that when the colour of the Character layer changes, the Background colour changes as well.


*Make sure there are no gaps on the Illustrator paths

*Group it with the path finder so that its one solid shape

Character Outlines

Character Silhouettes

Harvard Citations:

MtMograph. (2014). Summit 55 – 5 Minute Morphs – After Effects.Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p_9d7hteY4. Last accessed 13th Oct 2016.