Animate a Butterfly in Aftereffects (The Easy way) | Feroz Quazi | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Animate a Butterfly in Aftereffects (The Easy way)

teacher avatar Feroz Quazi, Motion Graphics Artist

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Class Intro

    • 2. A quick overview

    • 3. Preparing the Butterfly

    • 4. Using Simple Math (Sine curve)

    • 5. Animating the Butterfly

    • 6. Bringing it in 3D space

    • 7. Final thoughts

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Hey everyone, this is my latest class on Aftereffects. I'll be breaking down a simple animation of a butterfly animation. Whats really cool about this class is I'm going to show you and help you understand how a simple expression will save you tons of time to create a cool effect like this.

Now I want to know if there any cool examples you can think of an oscillating motion? Like a machine perhaps that loops over and over? A running man? A mouth opening and closing? The possibilies are endless with Math.sin() 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Feroz Quazi

Motion Graphics Artist


I'm a cinematopher, motion graphics artist and small business owner with a studio based in Los Angeles, Caifornia. I'm here to share useful skills on motion, video and photography all together for you.

If you'd like to be updated of my new classes, just hit the +Follow button. 

Visit my full profile for more :) - Feroz Quazi

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Class Intro: Hey, and welcome to my latest sculpture class. And now in this class, we're going to be learning how to make a scene that looks like this. Now understand this scene is a winter scene there Snow, There's a landscape, there's a deer, there's a lot of stuff going on. But I am going to break down specifically just the butterfly and emission in the foreground and how to make it look dynamic and realistic. But I'm gonna do it in such a way that it doesn't take too much time because that's what it's all about being efficient. So having said that, let's jumping into first class. Let's go. 2. A quick overview: So as I mentioned in the introduction of this class, we're going to be focusing on these butterflies and this butterfly animation and how to make these flutters look very natural. And the way I'm doing it is simply by controlling the speed with just a couple of key frames here. So that's what's really going on. And what's interesting is if I make this like, you know, two, it goes really slow. And if I make this like 47, it's fast. So that's what's interesting about this, is you can control the speed of this were just a couple of key frames. And to understand this animation, we're going to have to do a small trigonometry lesson, and I promise you it won't be that bad. But once we get into it, you'll be totally fine and you'll understand why this is so easy to do. So let's get into the next lesson. 3. Preparing the Butterfly: Okay, so the first thing we gotta do now is we gotta prepare it as butterflies that we can start any meeting it. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna go into and we're gonna type in butterfly. Ok. Now the cool thing about this is it's all copyright free. So we're gonna click on free download. We'd go show in Finder. And then we're just going to bring it into our after-effects file. Now, I've already prepared mine, but let's go ahead and bring this N. Now we're going to just scale this down because it's pretty big. And then what I'm gonna do is I'm going to grab this pen tool by pressing this or pressing g. And then I'm going to start masking out the left-wing, the body and the right wing. So I'm going to fast forward this part and let's get back to it. So what I've done here is I've separated this into three parts, the left-wing, right-wing, and the body. So let's go ahead and let's rename these parts. So I'm going to name this layer L1, Nimbus one, R1. And this one is going to be mined by now before we move on to the next chakra, where we're gonna do is we're just gonna make these all 3D layers. Actually this, suppose we're the left-wing. I'm going to press y. I'm going to bring the anchor point here. I'm going to grab this, bring the anchor point here. And the body, it can just be an ascender. It doesn't really matter. So before we get into animating these layers, where I'm gonna do is we're going to jump into a quick trigonometry lesson. And then we're going to start animating it. I promise it's not going to be hard. Let's go. 4. Using Simple Math (Sine curve): Okay, so this is the dreaded trigonometry lesson. I promise it's super-easy, it's not hard. I got you. The first thing we need to see is this, the sign of an increasing number. Let's just call it x is always going to be a value between positive one and negative one. And as its number increases all the way up to infinity, this resulting number will always be between positive one and negative one. It's never gonna go outside this range. So that's what's really cool about this. Now here's another cool thing about this, is that this sinusoidal wave looks like this. I mean, I did a terrible job. But it's, it's really cool because it eases into the positive one. It eases into the negative one. It doesn't look like this because that would make our butterfly flaps super robotic and we don't want that one to look smooth. So we're gonna take this sine equation and we're going to multiply the result by 85 or 90 in the expression for this in After Effects is math dot sine. And that's it. That's all we need to know. The sign of an increasing number is always going to be a value between negative 11. So having said that, let's jump into the next lesson and I'll show you what else to do in After Effects. Let's go. 5. Animating the Butterfly: Okay, so now we're gonna get into the meat of this thing, which is animating this butterfly. So we've got the left-wing, right-wing and the body are separated. And we went, we wanna make sure that anchor points are where they should be. Because let's do this. Arming L1, let's press R to reveal the y rotations. And then this is what we needed, this emotion that we're looking for, rape. Okay, let's do this layer, new null. Let's go into effect. Expression controls, slider control. Okay, let's do this. Let's go back into the null. Let's press E to reveal the facts and then dropped down to reveal the slider control parameter. So let's do this by rotation, where rotation, alt, click on this wire rotation or click on this way rotation over here, both the wings was grabbed this pick whip and put it on the slider. Let's grab this pickup and put on the slider. And then this one of them, we're just gonna do this times negative one. Okay? The reason we did that is because we want to get this complimentary motion going on. Okay. So make sure you do one of them times negative one. Ok? So now what we're gonna do this, pick whip, Alt, Click on the stopwatch, on the slider. And let's do this. Time, times 80. Now, the rate at which this is increasing is TY, is at the rate of time, times a, which is fine. It doesn't really help us, but what we need is oscillating type motion. So let's do this math dot sine, okay? And the bracket is going to be time. And then outside the brackets we're gonna do time times 80. Okay? So now we've got this oscillating movement going on, but it's moving at the rate of time. So let's do this inside the bracket. Let's do time times six. And then that goes at the rate of time times six, which is called now we're kind of getting somewhere rate. So let's do this. Let's grab this slider control and we'll just add another slider control gonna expression patrols, slider control. Okay, I'm gonna call this, I've been called The first one. Wing flap because this is just the wing flap and emission. This, we're going to call this wind speed. And what we're gonna do is something very simple. We're going to grab this six or whatever number you have over here. I'm going to pick with it. And we're going to pick up and put it on this slider over here. Okay, note, so now you can see that we're just missing one bracket, so we're gonna put that bracket and when cloudless, okay, so now we've got this as we increase this value over here, the wings speed. So collider, we can get that speed is like going times 44 right now. And then as I increase the value goes even more faster. So which is, which is fantastic. And you can even keyframe this and press U to build keyframes. And we can start with like unknown, like six, and then work your way up and then bring it back to Lake unknowing three. And you can just alternate. However you want this to move, which is great. So now we've got this butterfly motion going on. So I'm just going to delete this. And yeah. So you've gotten this motion and as cool as you can see, it's just a matter of making good design decisions and good animating decisions because you want to make it look realistic rate like this doesn't look too bad. Okay, so why don't we do this, let us remove this key frameless is keep it on one speed. Okay, so now we're gonna do, we're gonna jump in the next lesson. We're going to move this in 3D space. Let's get into it. 6. Bringing it in 3D space: Okay, so what we're gonna do is we're going to grab all of these layers now. And I'm gonna pre-cum everything. So let's press Command Shift C. And I'm going to call this butterfly 3D princomp. Ok. And what I'm gonna do is I'm going to press continuously rasterized. This is very important. And we're gonna make this 3D and press R to rotate it and swing it this way. I'm going to bring the acts this way. And there we go. Now we can kind of adjusted our, However we like. And I'm going to press ass button for the Scale. And I'm just going to scale this down. Maybe something like that. I'm gonna pee for position. I'm going to key frame this area and I'm just gonna go back a bit. So let's push, pull this keyframe back. And then let's kind of, you know, have a travelled from here. And then let's make sure we go like here. Now make sure your comp is about 12 seconds longer of at least five seconds long. So you can really appreciate the distance that it travels. And as you can see, it looks okay. We can turn on the motion blur. And as you can tell, it doesn't look as organic. So we're gonna do is you can also click on the stop watch and we're gonna press wiggle. One comma 12. There we go. And then I'm going to right-click on this and Emergo to transform R0 of auto orient and orient along path. Okay, so what this does is we're going to have to go back into the rotation and just kind of adjusted and turn off the motion blur and just kinda adjusted so it lines up with this path. Okay? So once you do that, make sure you use these parameters. You'll see that it just kind of follows the curvature of your, your pathway, your position pathway. Okay, so this is really important, especially if you do something that looks like this and then it starts to follow that. So that's really important. Let's turn on the motion blur. And let's go back. Let's go back here. Let's turn on the motion blur here. And then let's see how this logs and that doesn't look too bad. Okay. Well, we can do is you can even like, you know, slow down the speed, the wind speed over here. Maybe make it like four ish, and then increase it up again and then have it kind of mediated around 50, you know. So this is a so that's what I'm really looking for is how are you going to, you know, make it look organic. And as you can see, you know, we had a little bit of a little breathing room between the flaps, You know, sometimes butterflies just float just for a bit. You know, you wanna give it, you want to give it some of that organic feel. So this is kind of a, a taste, this kind of a taste maker part. But this is something that I would highly encourage that you work on. Okay? I think the speed over here is way too fast, so I'm going to just bring those down. It's down. There we go. Maybe this here. There we go. Okay. So what I'm trying to do is just try and make it look like it's a little bit more organic looking. And there you go. I believe anything over as soon as it goes to this speed, it doesn't look as nice, so we're just gonna break it down. And there you go. So it looks kind of realistic. Okay. I think these flaps are a little bit too strong. Okay. So bring that around 40. Cool. Great. Okay. So yeah, just adjust the speed however you think it looks good with. And then what we're gonna do is I'm going to duplicate this layer with command a, D. And I'm going to make sure I click on this so I can see where it's going. And then we're just going to duplicate this butterfly. And let's make another one. Let's adjust these vertices. Let's see how we can make this look. Maybe this one does look a little dive down. And then you can even adjust the speed at which dives down. There we go. Cool. And then you can just kind of offset these. So they're not flapping in the same time. So offset the keyframes and omega, something good. Okay, I'm gonna do one more real quick on remembering this year. Maybe do this, something like that. Now what we're gonna do is I'm going to go into hue and saturation. And yeah, you can even color these. So I'm going to bring this color here, maybe make this green. And now we've got a composition with three different butterflies at three different colors. Okay, I think this looks great. And I think this would really, really help you in your work. And I think this would be awesome. Okay, so let's do a final render it. Let's take a look at this. Cool. Let's get into the next lesson and conclude what we've learned. And I think I would love to see what you guys come up with. Ok, let's go. 7. Final thoughts: Ok. Congratulations, you made it through this class. You've learned how to mask a butterfly from a picture. You learned how to animate its wings using math dot sine and its wink speed at the same time. And then bringing it into a pre-campaign, orienting it along its path. So these are really cool concepts to learn and I think they will come in handy for your client projects and your personal projects. And I can't wait to see what you guys come up with because i'm leave a Dropbox link of a aftereffects file. And then you can open this up and send me in a butterfly animation that you made. And maybe you make an environment out of it too. So I'd love to see that too. So having said that, thank you so much for watching, I'll be seeing you in the next class. Take care.