Animating with Purpose: Movement and Expression | Claudio Salas | Skillshare

Animating with Purpose: Movement and Expression skillshare originals badge

Claudio Salas, Animator & Designer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
12 Lessons (1h 15m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:36
    • 2. Understanding Animation Styles

      5:16
    • 3. The Power of References

      3:49
    • 4. Using Emotion in Animation

      2:36
    • 5. Beginning Your Import to After Effects

      8:48
    • 6. Rigging and Finishing Your Import

      10:15
    • 7. Animating the Head, Neck, and Torso

      13:56
    • 8. Animating the Books

      13:14
    • 9. Animating the Face

      6:06
    • 10. Animating the Arms, Legs, and Feet

      5:18
    • 11. Exporting to Share

      2:57
    • 12. Final Thoughts

      0:43
42 students are watching this class

About This Class

There’s more to animation than walk cycles. Join animator Claudio Salas for this fascinating deep dive on the next level of animation: expressing emotion!

Figuring out how to get just the right attitude across in your animation can be challenging, but luckily there are rules of physics and human motion that can help! Join Claudio in this dynamic class that not only teaches the process of animating an emotionally-driven character, but provides the skills and tools to understand how to express a range of emotions in your future work.

While animating a happy character named Noah, Claudio will bring students through the process of deciding on a style, finding a reference, and getting joyful motion just right. You can follow along with Noah or design your own character! With Claudio’s clear and meditative teaching style, you’ll learn how to:

  • Import and rig a character design into After Effects
  • Spot the basic physics of motion out in the world
  • Animate happiness, and what differentiates happy motion
  • Use “magic tricks” on your brain with animation

Whether you’re a walk cycle pro and looking to learn something new or a more seasoned animator who wants to try a different approach, take your animation to the next level with Claudio and Noah!

___________________

This class is open to all levels, though some experience with Adobe After Effects is suggested to make it easier to follow along. Familiarity with plugins is also helpful, as Claudio demonstrates his favorite After Effects plugins throughout, including Overlord, Motion2, and Labels.

Looking for an animation class that's perfect for beginners? Check out Bee Grandinetti's class on creating a dance cycle in After Effects!

Transcripts

1. Introduction: I'm an outsider. It feels like, because I saw these images move and that's why I got into it. With that movement, we're doing magic. Hi, my name is Claudio Salas, and I'm an animator. Animation makes me happy. When I'm sitting down animating, I'm in my happy zone. I studied graphic design when I was young. It helped me set the foundations to my animation experience. I've been doing this for about 12, 13 years, and I still love it. So this class is about character formation and how to convey emotion with a character and movements, giving life to this character. Today, we'll be looking at some references and then we'll be looking at some different animation styles. See what type of animation we'll choose and apply to three different emotions, and then we're going to animate a character. You should take this class to improve as an animator or just try something new as an artist. This class will really help you elevate that and to think about what other details can you add to your animation to make it better. You should probably bring some knowledge and aftereffects already. Other than that, just have a happy and excited smile on your face. Make sure to share your work in the project gallery. I really can't wait to see what you've put there. I'm excited to teach this class because animation is just so much fun. Thank you so much for joining this class. Let's get started. 2. Understanding Animation Styles: If you see a friend walk on the next block when you see them walk, you'll recognize that movement. So your brain is really programmed to pick out those patterns and recognize those exact movements, and it's really fascinating that that's how it works. You can really take any shape and move it a certain way, and your brain will just fill in the gaps. So let's see how this works in art. So right now we're looking at this is actually just dots animated. So someone animated this and it's not a human walking in, and it's not little lights that someone put on a person. But it's this study made by two psychologists a long time ago, and they're just analyzing how brains perceive movement. So real life physics have patterns and when you learn that as an animator, you can use that to your advantage. Now that you know this about simple movements, we can actually apply this to ourselves, to the way we move, the way we express different emotions, and that's what we're going to explore now. I'm going to show you two examples of different animation styles, one more traditional and smooth and one more snappy. So here on the first example, we have a very traditional, it's called traditional because it was invented back when Disney created all these old movies. It's realistic in the movement. So this is just looking at the way she moves, she's moving in a realistic way. So this is based of real life acting, whereas the second example, you're clearly seeing what the difference is. So there's just a little clip from this and this is a very snappy style. So here in this shot, we have this character, this main character guy, and he's just sitting and you see his hand, the arm is the only thing that's moving in this frame. What I love about it is that it's just so stylized, not only in the way it looks, but also in the way it animates. Here I want to pause on this moment and appreciate a little bit. So here he looks at the phone ring and he realizes who it is. We don't know, but it's definitely something scary, I guess. It's a phone call he doesn't want to receive. So this is shown by these very extreme poses, and as you can tell they're very carton in the way it animates, it's not mimicking real life at all. Another thing that differentiates these two is the economical way. Not only is it cheaper to make this type of animation, but it's more fun. I mean, to me, this is just a taste thing. If we actually paused here and we see that whoever designed these frames, they had that in mind. So both design and the way it moves, both of these styles are effective at conveying emotion. They're just very different in the timing and the snappiness or the smoothness of it. So they're both great. So let's talk about timing. Here, I have three examples. Three circles just moving the way they do when you animate them. They all have the same timing, the difference is the spacing, so that's what makes this difference. At the very bottom, that's what you would see in the graph editor in After Effects starting on the left, like that's just if you right-click on a key frame and add easy is, that's what you never thought you would get. The middle one is more of snappy. If you pull the anchor points in your graph, in your key frames, that's the result you would get. Then the last one, you've actually added a touch of artistic choice. So this is like the in-between frames and they're actually hand made to create this extreme movement for smear, it's called. So in the example we just saw of Cinderella, the left one is the more smoother looking one, whereas the second and third one are the ones that mimic more of the snappy animation we just saw as well. So what I like about this example right here is that we can utilize this to our advantage. For example, as you can see on the face in the middle, from this bottom frame to this top one we change expression, and that's something we're going to try to utilize as we animate. Because you can't get away with so much. It's like a magic trick, that's actually what magicians do. So we're doing magic. So I'm going to show you in this very last example that this is what a magician does. So these movements are exactly the same but because we add a little bit of anticipation to it, you start looking at the one shape and your brain just fills in the gaps. So as you can see, there is no middle frame, your brain pretty much fills in the gaps. Next, we're going to talk about the power of having a reference. 3. The Power of References: Having a reference is important. Depending on what you're going to animate, you can find the relevant reference for that. As you get more comfortable animating characters, it gets easier and easier to actually do your animation. Some great references are other animators. So here's a clip by Gunnar. They're so talented and these guys made this little clip on Instagram that I just passed through and it's so brilliant in so many ways. So it's first a character that has control, and then the character loses control and goes into this really crazy, non-control version, and then back again to the control version. So what I love about how they estimated this is just how snappy it is. I'm going to step through here and it goes from this very controlled shape. You can't really anticipate that she's going to do a strip looking at these extreme poses. It just doesn't make sense. It gets blurry with all the poses that they have in here. But here, for example, she's upside down and in just two frames she's right backup. That's such a brilliant way of animating. So the second example is by another animation friend in this industry called Robin Davey. He made this little loop of this girl running. Her face is pretty much still. It's a still post, which is very efficient. I love that. She just has a big smile and the big eyes. What he's found in here is very much a good bounds. So she's skipping and you can really tell the arcs here like looking, for example, at the hand they're doing this back and forth movement and there's a little bit of detail. I just love how we found this bounce. I tend to look in my hand when I start animating something and find this rhythm. It's such a simple rhythm. It's just up and down, up and down, and I really love the simplicity of that. This little clip shows there's one character tripping over a rock and then these four other characters just copying him and they're laughing. It's just such simple. They're using so few poses in here in such an efficient way and fun way. I'll break it down a little bit. So first we have this little walk and then he trips. So what I love about this, I'm going to step between these two. So here he's happy and all of a sudden his face is just like, oh, and he flies up. He holds up there and then just with one little key frame right here where he starts falling. Because up until this point we're floating in the air. But this frame just show that we're going to fall and then on the next frame he is flat on the ground. That is such a core and efficient way of animating. Then the four characters do exactly the same thing but also add a laugh at the end which makes it even more pleasurable to watch. So if it's either recording yourself or if you're going to find a clip online or maybe a movie you saw, go ahead and analyze that. That's what I do. I actually just frame by frame and really analyze every single part of this reference and take out the key elements and that's what I use as a base for my animation. So next up, we're going to take my character design from Illustrator into aftereffects so we can start animating. 4. Using Emotion in Animation: So how I started to figure out what I wanted to animate for this class, I started by listing a bunch of different emotions; happy, sad, angry, confused, excited, energetic, and scared, and these are way too many, of course, so I selected my three that resonated with me the most. Then I listed like four or five different moments for each of these. So for happy, I listed five different things, and I chose just one of those. Same for sad, same for angry. So for each of these emotions, I picked one favorite, what we called a moment, this is what I'm going to have in the back of my head when I visualize, when I'm going to animate. So for example, for the first one, is for happy, I chose a moment where my character is going to be happy reading a favorite book, when he's sad he's going to be missing his family and friends. That's pretty vague, so you can visualize that in many ways. Then for the angry one, I chose to visualize our little character holding a device that is not working. If it's a phone or if it's the Apple TV remote that's not working the way you wanted to, yeah, something like that. Just getting angry on his little device. From here, I actually started sketching. I have this better version of this here. I'm comfortable in Illustrator, so I chose Illustrator and started sketching my happy character. I didn't want to limit myself to only the reading a favorite book. So I chose different things, and what makes a character happy, and when I designed this character, I actually chose based on many different projects that I've worked on in the past. Like something that I feel comfortable animating. Bringing it back to what makes this a happy character. First of all, it's the strong poses, it's the joyful animation, it's very snappy, it's very playful. So the rhythm is the one thing that makes it very playful. Also the exaggeration. Books are balancing a lot, and books would normally necessarily do that, and not in that control. But he's very happy. He has an intention when he's running. So if this, for example, was a sad character, maybe he was sad about receiving books, or maybe he has got homework to do. Here, what I would change is the poses. He wouldn't be that excited to receive some books. The pace, the rhythm, would be very different. He would maybe carry them as if this is a burden. But yeah, right now, he's super happy about these books. 5. Beginning Your Import to After Effects: So what we're doing in this lesson is importing things from Illustrator into After Effects, and this is how I do it. After that little sketching session, I ended up sketching some more and ended with these five frames. Going into After Effects, I'm going to create a new composition, and I'm going make it square, 1080 by 1080 because it's going to be Instagram friendly. We're going to make it about 10 seconds long, and we're going to name that comp to Noah Happy, because that's who we're animating. So these are the faces I'm going to be using, and I've actually gone ahead and put them behind this head, and you can see they're all stacked. So he looks creepy when you do that so that's why I put him behind the head, but these are the shapes we'll use, eventually so we can actually hide this for now. We're just going to import all of this into After Effects, and I'm using this plug-in called Overlord. It's this thing that's really going to make things easy for importing into After Effects. It's just pretty much one button, and it imports all your layers into After Effects. So this little plugin cost $45, and it saves me so much time, definitely worth those $45. So now, I'm going to rename and recolor these layers just to keep things more organized. I want to mention one more plug-in or script, and this is for After Effects. It's called Labels. This is what it looks like full screen, but it's one of those time-saving tools. So what it does, for example, is the torso, I can just easily click on a color. For example, I want the torso to be orange, there it is. So it just saves you one click really, so instead of clicking one, two, you just pretty much click once. When you're working with a lot of layers, it really adds up. I've gone ahead and recolored all of these, and I just wanted to show you one more little thing about this plugin, Labels, is that not only can you recolor them with one click, but you can also, if you press shift, for example, and press your color, it selects all of those layers. Also time-saving thing. So now, I'm going to make a little null for the face just to make sure all the face elements live under the same element. So a null object is a layer that is an empty layer pretty much. It doesn't get rendered, it's just this little empty square guide that shows you, and you can parent things through this layer. So I have one more plugin, and this is Motion-2. It's a plug-in that has a collection of many different tools, but the one I use a lot in here is this create null button. So instead of going layer, new, null object, I can just go ahead and click this button, and it creates a null in the center of the composition. One thing that I love about it too is that nulls normally come in this shape. So the actual anchor point is on the top left corner, but in this null it's actually in the middle which to me makes a lot of sense when you're controlling things. So this is going to be my loop controller for the face and another thing that's great about it too is that, if you have an element selected and press this button, it automatically parents this layer to the the null. Now, I'm going to go ahead and change the anchor points on each layer. The main ones where I know I want the rotation to be at a certain point, for example, the head, I want to rotate along here. I'm also going to keep parenting things so they make sense. Torso, pretty much everything is going to be connected to the torso eventually. So I'm pressing command to snap the anchor point to certain points, and that's a little tool that's really handy. All right, now, we have the first frame from Illustrator imported. We're going to keep importing all these frames and roughly time it out so we have them played out in this timeline. For each frame, we're actually going to only import whatever is missing from the previous frame. So here, for example, we can clearly see between these two frames that the arms and the books are the new ones, we already import a happy smile. So we only focus on these elements right now. What's pretty awesome about this overlord, it lets you import things as separate layers, but also as if you click and select this little split shapes to layers button, it lets you import it as just one group, and then you don't need to deal with all the layers, and that's what we'll do for each book. All right. So we can also start timing this out. So we'll set the first frame to last for two seconds and then the second frame to last for two more seconds and so on. Here we go and then we're also actually start setting keyframes already. For this one, I'm going to have the face position move up. So we want to set a keyframe for the first post and a keyframe for the second frame and second post. So something like that. But right now, we have a linear keyframe going on. So we just want to make that a whole keyframe just so it doesn't move until our next keyframe right there. We're want to do the same here. So what we have here is Frame 1 and Frame 2, and what I like doing is setting these little markers up here that you can easily navigate to and I do that by pressing shift and any number on the keyboard. Shift 1 makes a one, Shift 2, and so on. I can now easily just pressing one and two toggle in between these frames. I'm going to make sure I parent these layers to torso and parent the hands to each arm. We also want to change the anchor points. Another thing that's different is the shadow as well and you can see it's just moving slightly over. Since that's going to be animated later on, I'm going to make a little leg for it right now, and it's made by this little tool that's new and I believe it's After Effects 2017, we added this function. What this does is we're going to pull up the actual path for this shadow and we're going to select both of these points and just create little null objects. You can see that each of these handles now have its own null, and why we're doing that is because we want separate control and be able to add separate different easing on each of these little shadow. Another thing I noticed too, and it's different, is the head. It's actually moved up a little bit. So we're going to try to stay true to this design here. So what I'm going do is actually, I'm going to import this again then this whole character, and this is just one layer right now, I'm going to right-click and make that into a guide layer. That way, it doesn't get rendered or I know with his little icon that it's different from the rest. What I'll also do is introduce you to one more little plug-in that I have for After Effects. It's called FX Console, and it's this little window that appears here. It appears with a little shortcut. I have it set to shift tab, but what it does is it pretty much just affects and presets window. You have over here, instead of going to this window and typing in fill, which is what we want, a little fill, double-click it, we'll just see a few steps by activating it and typing it in here instead, and then press enter. Lower the opacity so we see through it and then lock this layer, and now, we're going to move the head up to match the reference. 6. Rigging and Finishing Your Import: So before continuing importing the next frames, I'm going to make a face and rig, and that is to simplify so I don't need to work with all these layers and turning them on and off all the time. Instead, we'll have a little drop-down menu that will help us get there. I'm going to create a drop-down menu control, and that I can find either under the effects here or I can just type it out with my little affixed tool called drop-down menu control. It's applied to this invisible null. What this is, is pretty much a little drop-down menu that you can edit. I'm going to call this eyes. The eyes are the ones that I want as a separate little button that so I can activate when are we going to blink happy, when are we going to do a regular blink and when are we going to have the eyes open? We will have these three items and we're going to go in here and edit them and just rename them. Now we have this little drop-down menu where we can select the three. But now we need to link everything into here. I'm going to show you some expressions. I'm going to do that inside of each little layer, and we're going to focus on these three, right? We want to apply it to the opacity. So what I'm going to do is pull up the opacity and I'll click to start to expression. This is a simple script. Well, it's simple because it looks simple but it's powerful. I'm not an expression expert, but I know these things and this is how I do it. I learned it a long time ago, so it's pretty much an if expression, if or else. We're going to open this up and start linking things, right? The one good thing that expressions are good at. So we start over if and then not that link but this one, link that to here. This adds some weird complex section but don't look at that, just stay with me. Here I'll just explain briefly what it does. In this drop-down menu, we have this number section. This is one, two, and three and this is what we'll identify in the expression. If number one, which is eyes open is activated, then give me a 100 percent opacity. You need to add these little brackets in there. We say else, it's going to give me zero percent opacity. That's pretty much it. If I have it selected and it shows me my eyes, but if it's not selected, then the eyes disappear. I'm going to do the same on the other layers as well. I'm actually going to save some time and copy this opacity and past it and go to opacity. Select that, paste. By pressing EE we go in and see the expression going on here. But what we want to change out is number two. So if number two is selected, can be a 100 percent opacity, otherwise can be zero. Let's go to number two, and that is selected and not the first one. Same thing here. Paste, change it to if number three is selected, can be a 100 percent, otherwise zero. Now we should have the full rig on. Yeah, actually we have them inverted. This is three and this is two just so we remember. Eyes open, blink, blink happy. Yeah, perfect. Now we're going to add a little face control for the mouth as well. I'll just be through that. Perfect. Let's set a keyframe now, this is already a whole key frame as you can see, so we don't need to make it into that. We'll add a key frame for the big smile and the little smile goes here. Perfect. Now it's time to import the third frame. As you can see here, the difference between the second and the third is that the arms are slightly down, the head is slightly down and the books are all the way down here. We're going to go ahead and just import this as a reference actually this whole section. We'll do it similarly to what we did before. Instead of a fill, this time, we're applying a toner. Once I have that 250 percent capacity, so we can see through it and start repositioning. This is our third frame, right? So we'll go ahead and make a third little marker at four seconds in temporarily and will start matching this now. I'm going to rig the arms right now. All right, so this little arm rig is only going to affect the position and the rotation. I'm going to go ahead and split up these two x and y position so that I have better control over those. Let's make the arm right our main layer. This is going to be the only one that animates, that we set keyframes to. All right, so now we're going to start linking things. This is pretty much going to e a mirror, right? We know that the torso is in the center of this comp. The arm over here is just the equal amount of distance from left to right. What we'll do here is we're going to set a negative amount. We're going to do some math. We'll apply is this little times negative one on this value. That mirrors it all the way over. So whenever we move this over now it's going to mirror that and it's super handy, very time-saving. For rotation, we'll do some math again because we want it to rotate a different direction or like the opposite direction. Again, times negative one. Now it's rotating like that and like that. Perfect. Magic. You take the position and the rotation, set a key frame for frame two and then for frame three. We're going to start matching. What we'll actually do for now, for timing purposes, we'll actually just go ahead and import these books as one layer. All right, pretty happy with that. You turn off that and also know you'd see them right now. We're going to continue on to frame four, start importing this guy. This is the fourth frame. Now we can go ahead and do the fifth frame, add the fifth marker there and switch back to illustrator to have a look at what changes. This is the only thing we use for the last part right there. What's happening here from frame four to frame five, this is pretty much because we're going to make a loop out of this. This guy is actually jumping or running with these books. This is just two frames to be able to tell what the extreme courses are going to be, the up-pose and the down-pose. Then go ahead and import this section as a guide. Right now, we have all of the frames from illustrator imported and pretty much ready to be animated. What I'm going to do now before we start animation time, I'm going to just kind of time this out roughly because right now two seconds for each course is way too long. It's better to do this now rather than doing that once we start setting too many key frames in here. What I'm going to do is to fill it out, see how long things should be in frame. I'm probably going to need to redo it later on, but this will save us some time anyways in future. So I'll just go ahead and do that right now. Not too precious about it right now, just whatever feels right. All right, and I think our animation will end somewhere around here. Now we have our character in after effects and next up we're going to start animating. 7. Animating the Head, Neck, and Torso: Now we're going to start the animation, and I'm going to start with the torso, the neck, and the head. All right. So now we're going to animate the torso first, and I'm going to go ahead and isolate the torso, the neck, and the head, just so we only focus on those three parts. So we'll shy everything else with this little shy button, and make sure we only have three layers. What we'll start on is the torso. We're going to animate a little dip, I call it. Every time there's a new change in an expression, I tend to do this little dip, right? I'll show an example of that. So this little clip shows a character for a brand, a very simple, similar vector-shaped character. This is the type of animation style I'm going to be using. What we're seeing here is we're seeing a bunch of those dips that I mentioned. So every time he goes from this pose to this pose, there is some little dip in position. So the body moves down, the head moves down, and there's also a little blink in between, and that's to motivate the change in position. I tend to do that a lot. I think as humans we do that actually. So whenever we look over and look at something new, we actually do a little blink. So I'm going to apply that into this little character as well. It's going to be, I'm going to time it out roughly for now, but I'm probably going to do a 10 frame action. So it goes from here to here, and in between those 10 frames, so 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and at this point. So this is our main action that is happening, right? Now we're going to start using the GraphIt a little bit actually. I'm going to pull this up. Zoom in here, and in the middle frame, I'm going to start pushing this down. So just with arrow keys, go down a bit, just eyeballic for now, and go down and then up. So that's what's happening, right? But we want to make sure there's a little bit of easing in there. Can command, click on these frames, and now we have a linear animation happening here. I just want to make sure this last frame stays on that frame. So we're going to make a hold key for that. We have this happening, that's the little dip, and now we just need to tweak it a bit. We're going to go ahead and apply easing. We're going to modify these easings. There's many ways of adding an ease, but we'll just use this button for now. The same here, there's going to be an least there. Like I was talking about earlier, we're going to do these extreme snappy animation. So right now it's very smooth as you can see, playing it back a few times. But what we're going to do is push this anchor point a lot more. So already we will see a snappier version of that. What we want to do is actually make this as sharp as possible. We could do many ways, right? We could for example pull these handles, so they are sharp, but we could also use a little tool, this one, ease shortcuts right here. This is actually a little plug-in that is created by a friend of a friend. So this is not actually out in the world. So I'll go ahead and share this little plugin and you'll find that in the resources section. What this does is it actually is little shortcuts for how far of an ease this should be, right? So if I take this one frame, you see as I click on these little buttons, you get different eases. I tend to use either 100 percent or 90 percent a lot. Then for the sharp ones, I just do a zero, and there we go. That's pretty snappy. Now what we're going to do is going to apply that to the neck as well. I can go ahead and copy paste these keyframes from there to there. You'll see this will pop very far down because the value is the same as over there. But what we'll do, which is a great little feature, by having this magnet, this snap button activated, we can go ahead and take our first keyframe of those three and snap it down into the original position. So this was a previous keyframe. So now you see that it's back into its place, and there's a little dip there. Actually one thing that we didn't do is the head is actually parented to the torso, but we actually want it to be parented to the neck. That way as the neck goes down, so does the head. That's a little bit too much right now, so I'm going to go ahead and pull this keyframe down. I'm going to undo and hold shift while I do that. That way we keep the same position and time, and that's feeling better. Just slightly just so you barely can tell what's happening. Then we're going to do exactly the same on the head. Now I'm actually going to introduce you to the first little trick I use, which is to offset these three. So the head is going to be offset 1, and that creates this satisfying natural field. It's like in real life, when you're actually bouncing something like for example your hair will move at a different rate but still bounce if you're for example running, right? You can try doing an offset on the neck as well, see what that looks like. I think that's too much, probably, he's slow. So whenever there's too much offset, I feel like it shows some type of like a relaxed feeling. So the more an offset, the relaxed he is. But here he's actually going to be pretty focused. So we're going to go ahead and continue this and do a similar thing here. So what we'll do is start with the torso. So now we have two little keyframes happening, and that's exactly what I want. But maybe the head, we're going to do the same thing. We're going to take this animation and apply it to the neck and the head, and then we're probably going to offset to the head, just that too. Well, we'll try it out when we get there. Let's have a look. Yeah, that's looking cool. This guy actually is moving way too much. The head, it bounces down a little bit too much. When I'm rewatching this, I feel it out. I'm just playing it back over and over to get a sense of is this too much or this's too little? Now we're going to go into the fun part, we're going to do an anticipation pose, and then we're going to run into the little looping animation. So the anticipation pose is there to just anticipate what's going to happen, we know this character is getting ready for something big, the big thing is that he's going to run. Where he's headed with his books, I don't know, but he's happy carrying the books, maybe he's going home, maybe he's going to his couch to read these three new books that he just has got handed. What we'll do, since this is going to be a loop, we can actually set the in and out points to only play back whatever we want to see. So let's go back to the torso, show keyframes. So the actual loop will start around here on the highest point of the run cycle. So I'm going to set my endpoint to start there, and my outpoint to end here. This is a loop, it needs to be exactly the same keyframe as the previous one. Doesn't need to, but it makes for a smoother loop. What I'm going to do is just copy paste this keyframe. So what I'm doing here is that, right? So this is not looking great yet. What we want to do, maybe we'll hide the arms as well just because they are distracting. Go back to the torso, and here we go. What we want is, like we did over here, a sharp down and then a smooth up. There we go, that's feeling better. But now we want to time it. So this is a run cycle, and it's going to be a pretty snappy and cartoony run cycle. So we're going to set the outpoint there, right there, somewhere around there. So actually just to explain this little loop. So the first frame of this loop is right here on the first frame, and the last frame on this loop is actually not on the same frame, but the frame before. So this is what we'll look at instead. We're going to start re-timing this a little bit. So I'm going to start moving these keyframes back. See, that's still too slow. Maybe even a lot more. Let's see what's the distance from here. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. That's where we're at, and then outpoint and outpoint. That's feeling better. Look at that. Now that we have this bounce going on, it's the little anticipation, and we've just applied it to the torso right now. So it's that from here, and then he goes down and then he goes up and starts to cycle. I'm going to copy all the way from here and paste that to the neck, all right. So now the neck is probably going to move too much because it's keeping the same value as the torso. We want just a fraction of whatever the torso is moving. Yeah, you can see that's too crazy. We're going to go ahead and tweak these to where we want it. A lot of this is just trial and error, and trying it out, seeing, playing it back and adjusting as you go to find your perfect result. Just go with your gut, trust your eye to feel it out. Yeah, that's looking great so far. So now we'll just apply all these keyframes to the head as well. That's feeling a lot better. Now to the fun part, this is exciting. Now we're going to do what we did back here, right? You can see there's an offset, and that's what we're going to play with right now, and that's going to be really satisfying once we're in this section, because now you can see all of them are moving the same way. But I'm just going to offset this one. So one thing I'm noticing in my loop animation, right? I told you that we would start here on the highest point. But since we're offsetting these frames, especially the head, and remember what I said about the first frame being exactly the same as the last frame. So right now, as you can tell, this curve is not identical to this curve. So what we want to do by offsetting where the loop will start, we'll be able to fix that. So what I'm going to do is actually start with a torso, and instead of the loop starting from high to high again, we're going to start from low and then go up and then low again. So I'm going to copy this keyframe, paste that there. So we want our loop to start and end from there. So removing, sliding this over, and this is now our new looping point. Actually let's keep the four there. Let's make number 5 marker there and a number 6 marker there maybe. That way we can loop this back. Let's just make sure that whatever we did down here is also happening to the neck and the head. So now in all of these, the first and the last frame are identical, and that's what we wanted in a loop. There we go. That's really great. So I think we're done. Now we're going to go ahead and animate the books. 8. Animating the Books: Now we're going to animate the books and we're going to use the same technique just with different objects. So one thing that makes sense to me is starting with the font stuff. I'm going to start with animating the books for the loop. First, I'm going to go ahead and set some keyframes, make sure that the artwork for these books are correct. You'll see here, if I go back to illustrator looking at this book right here, there is that closed version of it and an open version of it. What I've done is pretty much taking these angle points and bringing them down and a little bit out. That's what I'm going to do to set keyframes for that in aftereffects. So first of all, we're going to find the group where the path is. It looks like it's this one. Yeah, that's the one. I'll find the path and just set a keyframe. So we can pursue and focus only on that layer. So what we'll do is will have the books bounce. So we have the books over here. First of all, let's get rid of these temporary ones. I'm going to get rid of them right away. We're going to use them as reference. What is happening is that the books appear out of thin air and then land on his head or his arms. He catches them and then he starts running, and they just bounce in a loop, and it's off running into his home or wherever is going to read these books. What we'll start with is taking this one book, the first book, and we're going to go from there to here, from frame 2 to frame 3, two and three. We're just going to animate the position, separate dimensions because we only want to access the y. It's going to go from up there. Actually, we're just going to extend it all the way out. You go from up here to down there. This keyframe just move it down using my arrow keys. Make sure you're moving the layer. Now we have the top of the book cover. We went ahead and set a keyframe on the path, and we want to make sure that when the book falls, it's going to open up, and just to create a little bit of secondary animation just because there's the base and then there's the book cover that's open. That's just going to make for some interesting look. I'll show you when we get there. So one thing we can prepare for is on the first frame of the book appearing, the book cover will be closed, and then on the very last one as well, when it's down here. So lying between somewhere here, it's going to open up and start opening more and more and more and more as we hit the button. Before that, I'm actually going to go ahead and animate the position of it and the whole book and make sure it false in a nice and satisfying way. Right now, it's very linear, very boring. So we're just going to go ahead and start tweaking these keyframes. So as we hit the head, it goes pretty fast down, and the ease this up. It's like, make a little sound effect. Always helps me. We can mimic that, the book actually. I just copy these keyframes and I'm going to paste them on that position. So keep playing with us until feels right for you. Now we're going to add this little book cover opening right there. Go ahead and zoom in and find those points. I think it's this one and this one and start bringing them up. Yeah, that's right. So you see that when I started bringing these up, it automatically add the keyframe down there. We just want to make sure, because vectors work in a funky way. So we want to make sure we don't pass the point of where this edge gets really sharp because we want to keep artwork. Right now what we going to do is analyze when should we open this book cover. Right now it starts opening as soon as the book appears, and maybe that's fine, but I feel like in my head, it should almost start as we fall down. So on this keyframe where we're actually start going down, that's where we'll start the mission. I just know that I want to hold this keyframe for a bit longer. So I'm going to paste that here, this is the close version of the book, and then now it's going to do a linear movement all the way from here to here. But what I want it to be is not linear, but instead it should be an ease version. So when we're up here, it's still slightly closed, and then as it picks up speed and is at the very bottom, actually the very bottom seems to be here right now. So let's move this over here. So at the very bottom, it should be very open and it should snap into its position. We can almost actually use this in this easing. So now I'm going to introduce another plug-in that I have for aftereffects, which lets me copy the easing of these keyframes into any other two keyframes that I have selected. So selecting those, this little EaseCopy toolbar, press Copy, you get a confirmation that you copy two frames, and then select those and paste the ease. So now we actually have the same easing on the book opening as we do on the falling book in the position. Then we want to make sure that it's slumps on the next frame, slumps together. There we go. So right now if we go into the velocity keyframe window, it's set to 90, let's slower that to maybe 50. So we see a little bit more change in the beginning of these two keyframes, this and this. Now, we're pretty much going to apply this into the other books. There we go, that's great. Then we're going to do the last book. Same way the other books too. Lastly, make sure the cover opens up. So now, let's have a look at these books. That's looking great. I'm going to tweak it a little bit so we just have a little bit more space between them. There we go, and we want to add a little bit of secondary animation. there. So what we'll do is with this path selected, we can shoot up just slightly, something like that, and then copy and paste the last one. Just so you see, there's a little bit of grid lines goes up and then down, just a little bit. Yeah, it's too much better. You can tweak it to how you like. Now the rest should be pretty easy because we've set a bunch of keyframes here that we will be able to reuse some of these keyframes for future. What I can do here actually is to copy all of these keyframes, not only the little dip, but everything. Because it's all having the same type of movement as a torso. So it seems like the dip, is actually starting over here, which might be a little bit too early or not. That's fine actually. Let's just move the keyframes of books back a little bit, just so we can start all the books dipping in the same frame and do like that. Let's try that. On this frame, this is when will move all the keyframes back. There we go, that should be lined up. See how all these are hitting the same. Go ahead and hide this for now. I like hiding things that I'm not looking at. So Command Option, Shift click, that hides whatever property you don't want to look at. Now, it's perfect. So we applied it to the wrong book, but that's fine. Let me use the same animation all of them. So they're all going to have that same anyways. So I'm going to go ahead and apply it to the other two books as well. So in the same frame, looks pretty straight. Let's now go back out here and push these back. Now, we are doing the exact same move as the torso, and that's exactly what we want, but we want to make sure they're offset. So they're doing this little cute little bouncy thing. We want the offset to start from the lower here. Actually, from let's see, this lowest point and the highest point. So the highest point, that's where we want it to start. So I'm going to start shifting these over, and remember that this is the first book, second, and third. So first book keeps there, the second book there we go. That's looking to start. You need to make them jump a lot higher, of course, but that's looking cool. So now we're just going to go ahead and have set them to whatever we think looks good. The way these books move right now is very jumpy and very happy, I would say. Put the word happy in there because that's a little concept of this guy, he's just a happy guy and we want to put emphasis on that. Here we go. I think this might be it. Let's have a look. Now, that's great. Now, since we already animated the opening of the books, we can go ahead and copy those keyframes over. So starting with the first book, we'll go ahead and copy and paste opening of the book and make sure it lines up with the right timing here. So we want them to open at this point and then slam as soon as it hits there. Slam on this frame. I believe it's this frame. Yes, that's when it slams. Let's have a look at that. That's perfect, look at that. Now we can go ahead and do the same thing with the two other books. So this is good base. We can go ahead and keep tweaking it, especially making sure that the books don't overlap here. But overall, I'm feeling pretty happy about it. Let's have a look at it on that previous composition where we can see the full thing. That's looking very great, I would say. Our books are looking great, and next up, we're going to animate the face. 9. Animating the Face: Next up, we're going to animate the face. There is one thing that my teacher said when I went to animation school. He said that the face should be the last thing you animate and that's because the pose you have, what your body is telling should be strong enough that it can speak by itself. So I'm not going to do that here for this example but keep that in mind that the face should be secondary. So how I'll start this is by animating the eyes first. So we're going to add a few blinks here and there just like I said earlier. When we do the dip, changing position, there is always a little blink in between so we'll just do that into each pose. Let's find this face control and start adding these keyframes. Good point is right before he goes down, we're going to change it to blink. Actually, we haven't set a keyframe for that yet. So let's first of all do that, set a key frame, find that key frame, move it to the very beginning, and then add a blink. So he is going to open his eyes right as he goes up. So it's just that slight detail in there. It's very slight, but it's noticeable, and the same when the books hit his head. Add a blink on the frame when the books hit his head. Right now it seems like the eyes are a little bit too low, so I'm just going to add eyes position key frame on the blink layer. First, hold keyframe at the very beginning, and then on this frame I'm just going to push it up slightly just so we are in the same position as the eyes are. There we go. Then as he moves up, he is going to open his eyes and maybe he can close his eyes for a little bit longer. Well, let's blink that back again. That's perfect, look at that, boom. All right. What we'll do next is on that little anticipation pose when we're down here, I think I might try another blink down here. Maybe this is happy blink. Go to the blink happy, three frames ahead, and open his eyes again, maybe he can open his eyes. For the loop, I think that I'll leave it at that. It's now going to blink ever, just stop blinking, just happy forever. Now we're going to animate the face position because right now it's just snapping into positions which works, and you could leave it at that if you wanted. But we're just going to go ahead and add a little bit of in-betweens in there. Well, what's good about this is we can pretty much use the same E-Z path where torso was used in position past, or just move your line up, or it goes to happening, there, there is the last one. By holding shift, we snap these keyframes into whatever is hereby or in the same time. So that's a handling tool if you want to snap things quickly. This stage, I think we'll keep the face where it is, doesn't need to move down. Now as we dip down to this anticipation pose, we'll go ahead and if [inaudible] these key frames. Let's try that [inaudible] and now it's there. Lastly, we're going to add a little mouth change shape. So right here it's snaps, I could keep it. But I'm going to go ahead and add just a slight little mouth open thing happening. I'm going to do that by scaling the big smile actually. So one, two, three, four maybe. On the four-five frames, I'm going to put a keyframe there, that's the final scale. Then over here, I'm going to scale it down just maybe 70 percent and make sure we have the same easing. I remember it now, it's zero and it's 90 on this one. See what that looks like. Yeah, look at that smile. The smile is bigger and bigger as he goes up. Great. Let's have a look at this. That face looks great. All right, now we finished the face. So now we have the face done and we're going to move on to the rest of the limbs, and yeah, so here we go. 10. Animating the Arms, Legs, and Feet: So I'm going to keep going and I'll use the same techniques. I know this is finicky and labor-intensive and you're doing great, so keep going. So I'm going to add the hands now and the arms as well. I'll just use the torso as we've done in the past to reference. The hands are going to do similar thing that the books are doing, they're just going to appear out of nothing and what we'll do is just final looming on the arms, that's when we'll pop model. So I'm going to start with rotation first. It's already a given amount of rotation, I'm going to tweak that. Keep going. Something like that Like that. I just went ahead and finished the arms. I also had to tweak the books to slightly, just push them up so they don't overlap with the arms but feeling pretty good about this and now we'll move on to the next. So I'm going to go ahead and turn on all the leg layers and have a look at what things look like now with legs. The way we have them. Very stiff, and see can tell but we'll fix that right now. What I'm going to do is make sure the legs react to his movements, have a happy snappy way of moving his legs and start off with just the first little reaction sharp, or not sharp but when he raises his arms, he does this little thing again that we've been doing. So just going to go ahead and copy paste. They're easing actually because now we're going to be working on paths. First of all, maybe we should change the color of these legs into red, just temporarily so we can see these paths and you see here appear. But we're going to go ahead and set a key-frame for each or the torus also has a key-frame. So we have this, this, and this. Middle key-frame, we'll go ahead and add a little bit of knee bend and actually what we'll do is go to both legs at the same time when key-frame, also we have this leg and what's good about this is that we can count the steps we do, just to mirror them 1, 2, 3, maybe [inaudible] something like that looks bar right 1, 2, 3, and what we want to do is make sure we keep, this gap shouldn't be there, I don't like that. I think he should be something like this instead. So I'm going to go ahead and do that maybe a little bit lower which is eyeballing, I think this will, pretty much mirrored but now we're going to go ahead and copy the e-sink to sweet snap and then here like this. Paste, and now we get the same movement and look at that, it's already great, and I'll keep going with the rest as well. So here's my animation with the legs added. I also went ahead and added the shadow and we timed a bit of the overall timing a little bit. One thing that I want you to keep in mind is keep your arcs clean. So what that means is, pay attention to how the feet are now going back and forth. There is a clear arc here. If you look at my cursor, it's going this way, back and forth, and make sure that feels good when you're animating, make sure that the rotation is happening at the right moment because that's what adds to that whole satisfaction moments of seeing something that lines up to the previous frame so on. Next up, we're going to export this and so it's ready to share to the world. 11. Exporting to Share: Here is how you can export this to share. So here's our animation that we did, and we're going to set the in and out points, which are already in position really. But just make sure you select the part that you want to render. Let's have a look at it and see if this is how long we want it to loop at the end before it starts again. Feeling pretty good about that. Maybe it can end actually on the high part. So I'm just going to duplicate this and that's where will set our out point. Yeah, that's really great. So let's add this to the Render Queue, pops up this window where the main things you want to look at here is the Output Module. Make sure it's animation codec, that's fine and everything else is fine. So you choose a destination for this and we'll make sure we save it on the desktop in this little folder that I created, which we've been working from, it's this. There's an aftereffects, an Illustrator file or folder, and we're going to create a Render folder as well. Make sure to name your file properly. Let's call him Noah Happy, then press Render. We're using an animation codec because at this point we're going take this file and import it into Photoshop and reconvert it into a GIF format. So it doesn't quite matter, but as long as it's an uncompressed format, that should be fine. So we're going to open this file in Photoshop. So here, we can go ahead and make sure it's all there, everything is looking the way you wanted to, and then go to File, Export, and Save for Web. The main things we want to look at here is the file size down here, anything over 10 megabytes maybe should start tweaking. But we're lucky with this one, it doesn't have too many colors or too much information going on. So other things to look at, mainly is the colors, make sure that the high setting and that you're looping options is set to forever, and then press Save, choose destination again, and maybe in the same folder as the other file. This is just a GIF, and press the Save. Let's have a look at our file, here's our GIF. You did it, and that's your animation, and it's ready to be shared and put out there in the world. Go for it. 12. Final Thoughts: Congrats. You've animated a whole character. If you happen to want to animate another type of character, maybe a sad one or an angry one, I've actually put Noah animated in the resource section where you can find those animations there, just dig through and look at them if you want. Remember how I said that if you want to use references for inspiration, then I would be honored to introduce my animations as references. I would love to see what you made, so please share it in the Project Gallery. Thanks for taking my class. It's been a pleasure, and I hope to see you around.