Creating Animated Characters in After Effects

Learn to create and animate highly controllable characters using After Effects. In this course, author George Maestri covers every step on the way, from designing the characters in Photoshop or Illustrator, or drawing them straight from After Effects; assembling characters with hierarchies; making realistic deformations with the Puppet tool; automating rigs with expressions; creating realistic head turns; and showing advanced techniques such as using null objects as bones. Finally, the course shows how to perform a basic animation with the character and ensure the rig works correctly.

Topics include:

  • Importing Illustrator or Photoshop files into After Effects
  • Animating shapes
  • Organizing scenes with null layers
  • Working with the Puppet tool
  • Creating replacement animation using time remapping
  • Automating head turns
  • Creating a master control node with Expression Controls effects
  • Setting up a scene for animation
  • Animating dialogue

Course Timeline:

Creating Animated Characters in After Effects Introduction

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Creating Animated Characters in After Effects Using the exercise files

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Creating characters in Illustrator

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Creating characters in Photoshop

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Designing Joints

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Drawing mouths

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Drawing hands and eyelids

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Importing Illustrator files into After Effects

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Importing Photoshop files into After Effects

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Drawing After Effects

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Copying paths from Illustrator

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Animating shapes

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Understanding how layer hierarchies work

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Understanding the importance of the pivot point

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Assembling the upper body

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Creating leg hierarchies for efficient walks

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Organizing scenes with null layers

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Adding puppet pins to a character

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Controlling mesh density

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Creating overlap pins

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Creating starch pins

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Using the Puppet tool with hierarchies

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Replacement animation using time remapping

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Mouth replacement

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Creating blinks

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Creating Head Turn Head Shape

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Creating a head turn: Ears

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Creating a head turn: Facial features

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Creating a head turn: Hair shape

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The Basics Expressions Controlling The Wrist

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Moving hands from front to back with expressions

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Using expressions to control pupils

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Creating a master control node with Expression Controls

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Creating blinks that move with a head turn

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Controlling blinks using opacity

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Attaching mouth shapes to a slider

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Creating mouths that move with a head turn

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Working with absolute values

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Setting up null objects as bones

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Attaching puppet pins to bones

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Strategies for parenting legs and feet

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Setting up a scene for animation

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Blocking out the shot

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Animating dialogue

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Animating blinks

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Creating Animated Characters in After Effects Goodbye

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