Tag Archives: Animation

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.

Second Animation: Pops

Things Learnt

  • Shortcut for Masks


  • Using Masks for Pops

Create a shape > create a mask > Key the expansion of the mask to animate growth

Mask on add mode, displays more of the original shape, and Subtract hides it.


I also, added lines flowing across the screen by myself to see if I had actually learned how to use the repeater function from the previous video, and I think I can count this as a success.

Harvard Citation

MtMograph. (2014). Summit 49 – 5 Minute Accent Explosions – After Effects. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z58VpFg30k. Last accessed 13th Oct 2016.

First Animation: Ball


Things Learnt

  • Centred Anchor Point

When creating a shape (as I have experienced) the anchor points can be all over the show > go to the shape > double click the shape > it will create a shape the size of the comp

  • Create a Uniform Shape

Continuing on from above > go to the the (Specified)Shape Path 1 > Size > and then (on a mac) alt + double click the paper clip and it will make the shape a uniform size > then you can simply adjust the size to your needs

  • Drag object along axis

Hold down shift whilst dragging an object and it will stay locked on the x or y axis

  • Jumping to Keyframes

J – takes to previous keyframe and K – takes you to the next one

  • Copying Keyframes

(Like with the mouse in First Year, when I was trying to do this, I was clicking in the wrong place)

cmd+c on the keyframe you want copied and have the playhead over where you want the frame to go, then cmd+v

Harvard Citations:

MtMograph. (2013). Summit 1.1 – Intro to Motion Graphics – After Effects. Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mtv8QptWNbg. Last accessed 13th Oct 2016.

Zombie Run

My brother kindly did the reference footage for this, but won’t let put it on youtube because he says he looks like an idiot.

I was aiming to have the  red arm look as though it was reaching out to grab someone, as this was initially going to be combined with Amy’s running Malcolm as part of our lip sync animation and interacting between two character’s animation.