2D Character Animation

with George Maestri
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2D Character Animation
Video duration: 0s 5h 50m Advanced


All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Creating character joints that really work
  • Building with the Puppet tool in After Effects
  • Understanding internal versus external forces in movement
  • Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes for dialogue
  • Setting up a scene in both After Effects and Flash
3D + Animation


(Music playing.) Hi! I am George Maestri and welcome to 2D Character Animation. Before an animator touches a computer, they should know the basic principles of animation, how characters move, how they walk and how they talk. In this course, I will show you how to design and create characters for animation starting with pencil and paper and then in the computer. I will show you how to make joints that work and create multiple parts for replacement animation. After that we will look at Newton's laws of motion and how those laws create the principles of animation such as Squash and Stretch, Overlap and Follow-through and also show you how to get a character walking and running.

Then we will move on to dialogue animation, including how to read soundtracks, rules for assigning mouth shapes and the basics of acting to dialogue. We will use both Flash and After Effects for creating character walks and lip sync animation in each of those applications. So, if you're ready, let's get started with 2D Character Animation.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about 2D Character Animation .

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Q: In the chapter "Creating joints that work,” the author uses a circular point for the joints in the arm animation. Do circles need to be drawn in the joints while tracing the character, or there is another method that can be used?
A: It doesn't absolutely have to be a circle, as shown in the video. However, that method is show because it’s the easiest way to make sure the joints will rotate easily.
It’s a matter of personal preference, so use whatever method will work best for each character.
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