Character Animation: Creating Authentic Facial Expressions in Adobe After Effects

Fraser Davidson, Designer / Director / Animator

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17 Lessons (1h 13m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:38
    • 2. Meet Joysticks n' Sliders

      1:44
    • 3. Creating Your Illustrator Document

      0:40
    • 4. Designing Your Character

      7:48
    • 5. Separating the Layers in Illustrator

      2:45
    • 6. Importing Artwork Into After Effects

      0:53
    • 7. Refining Artwork in After Effects

      3:02
    • 8. Initial Character Rigging

      9:14
    • 9. Creating the Eye Joystick

      6:20
    • 10. Creating the Eyebrow Joystick

      3:51
    • 11. Creating the Mouth Slider

      3:53
    • 12. Preparing the Head Joystick

      12:26
    • 13. Creating the Head Joystick

      4:10
    • 14. Preparing For Animation

      3:13
    • 15. Animating the Face

      10:04
    • 16. Final Thoughts

      0:35
    • 17. Explore More Classes on Skillshare

      0:33
150 students are watching this class

About This Class

Discover the secret to animating vibrant, realistic facial expressions with BAFTA Award-winning director and animator Fraser Davidson!

The secret to animating your character’s head and facial features for fluid, authentic expressions? It’s all in how you use Joysticks n’ Sliders, one of Fraser’s favorite downloadable plug-ins for Adobe After Effects. Start by downloading this revolutionary plug-in and get ready to animate more easily than ever before!

Plug-ins are one of the easiest ways to level up your animations and customize your After Effects setup so you can create the exact animations you’ve always imagined—especially when it comes to detailed facial features and nuanced character expressions. From downloading and installing your first plug-in to final adjustments to your character, Fraser shares every step of his in-depth process for using Joysticks n’ Sliders to craft his personal, award-winning animation style. 

Through easy-to-follow, bite-sized lessons, you'll illustrate a simple character and animate their face and expressions along with Fraser in real time, learning:

  • Installation and set up for the plug-in
  • Practical applications of Joysticks n’ Sliders for expressive animations
  • Fraser's tips and tricks for getting the most out of Joysticks n' Sliders

Whether this is your first step into the world of plug-ins or you’ve been using them for years, this class will give you the tools you need level-up your animation and get the most out of Joysticks n’ Sliders—unlocking your ability to craft realistic and detailed movements in every character animation project you take on. 


This class is designed for students with a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects. Click here to download your free trial of Joysticks n’ Sliders before you take the class (just click “Try” instead of “Check Out”).