Character animation artwork can be generated internally in After Effects or created externally and then imported as a wide variety of supported file formats. Explore what assets are best for your workflow in this video.
- [Instructor] Before we can animate characters in After Effects, we'll need some art or source footage to work with. We can generate the art all inside of After Effects. We can import art that's been generated externally, either inside of another app or generated on pencil and paper, that's then scanned or photographed. After Effects has built-in tools to create art internally, namely its vector shape layer tool set that is pretty similar to what you would find in Adobe Illustrator. Generally, you won't want to create solely with After Effects tools, since you'll get much more mileage creating art in other apps better suited for it. In any case, be sure that your art is created in such a way that is animation-ready. It's important to think in layers. If a portion of a character moves, what gets revealed underneath? Think about the joint areas and the places where limbs move. Create or modify the art to allow for that articulation. In order to get the most flexibility in our puppets, you may find it helpful to draw multiple angles of your character. This allows for easy art swaps for when the perspective changes on our character. While you can generally throw any image, video, and audio into After Effects and start working, it's much more efficient to create and organize the art in an external program like Photoshop or Illustrator with the end goal of animation in mind.
- Shape layers and masks
- Track mattes
- Rigging characters
- Using the Puppet tool for rigging
- Adding and adjusting keyframes
- Looping animation
- Animating with motion paths and motion sketch
- Adding cameras for multiplane environments
- Lighting animation
- Rendering animation