How to Make Dope Animated Loops Vol 1 | Nick Greenawalt | Skillshare

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How to Make Dope Animated Loops Vol 1

teacher avatar Nick Greenawalt, Motion Designer

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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

10 Lessons (46m)
    • 1. Dope Trailer

    • 2. Introduction

    • 3. Design

    • 4. Animating Eyes

    • 5. Morphing Shapes

    • 6. The Fingers

    • 7. Time Remapping

    • 8. Texturing & Final Touches

    • 9. Rendering

    • 10. Final Thoughts

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About This Class


Have you ever wanted to learn how to make a cool loop in After Effects? Well then, you are in luck! In this skillshare class we will be animating a sneaky set of eyes peeking out of a letter, shape, or whatever your heart desires.  

I’ll take you through the whole process - from setting up the file in illustrator or Photoshop -  to animating in After Effects. Along the way you will learn many of my dirty little tricks that I have picked up in my travels as a professional motion designer. I have even deleted all my fancy plugins and be pretending that I use straight out-of-the-box After Effects so it will look just like yours! This class is aimed for beginners, so no knowledge of any programs is required.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nick Greenawalt

Motion Designer





My name is Nick Greenawalt and I am motion designer living in Philadelphia. My name is Nick Greenawalt. I make videos for YouTube and teach courses on the internet.


I've always been lazy and I love learning new ways to work less. After Effects can be a daunting program, and while there's no "right" way to do anything, there are a lot of wrong ways. It's become my mission to pass on the ways of clean and efficient animating to help you save time.


But obviously you can't take my words for it, here's what some of my students have to say:

"THANK YOU! This class was simple enough that a newbie like myself could easily follow and you showed off some tools and tricks that I h... See full profile

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1. Dope Trailer : Have you ever wanted to learn how to create Dope Animated loops? Well, do I have good news for you. My name is Nick Greenawalt and I'm a Motion Designer who loves creating doped animated loops such as this, this, and most importantly, this. In this class, we'll be making a sneaky letter animation and go through my entire process from designing an illustrator to animating an After Effects. You can even watch me pretend to know what the different Render Settings mean. This class is aimed for beginners and no outside knowledge of any programs is required. I can't wait to see you in class. 2. Introduction: Hello Skillshare people. Welcome to class. I hope you're excited to create a sneaky, creepy letter peak with me. Please remember to share your progress at each stage in the projects and remember that you can speed up or slow down the videos if you are irritated by my chill demeanor. Feel free to reach out with any questions, comments or concerns that you might have. Before hopping into design, there are two things you'll want to create. First, you'll want to create a mood board. I like to use Pinterest because it's easy to use and supports guess. This will help you figure out what colors, textures, motion moves, and general feelings you want to evoke with your piece. Next, you will want to make a rough sketch or storyboard. Normally a storyboard is multiple frames, but I'm lazy and thought I can capture this in one frame. It doesn't have to be anything special. You can make some simple notes about what moves you want to make. Once again, please share this concept phase. I want to see your thought process. Once you do this, we are ready to start designing. 3. Design: So let's get started. I'm going with a sneaky and for neck. I'm not a particularly great sketcher, but maybe yours will look a lot better. So couple of things we want to do before we dive in. We want to figure out a color palette, and if you are doing a letter name, you want to figure out a font. So couple of resources online we can do. Color lovers is a great place for color palettes. This guy, Mr Puqo on Instagram, puts up great color palettes, love him, coolers. A great site. You can just press "space bar" to you, find something you like, I've already found this color palette ahead of time, which I'm going to use. Adobe fonts, if you have an Creative Cloud membership, is a great place to look for fonts. I'm going to use this font Ohno blazeface because it has a ton of weights. So this is going to make the morph very easy. So we can morph from a thin weight is 12 font to a thick weight is 72 font very easily. If you're doing a more, if you want to look for a font that has a lot of weights. So for a color palette, what I'm going to do is take a screenshot of this, and I'm going to paste this into Illustrator. With this selected, I'm going go to image trace six colors. When that happens, click "Expand". So now these are vector shapes and then new color group. So this is all called stractures. We can go ahead and delete this. We don't need any more. We're now ready to get started illustrating. So the background, I'm going go at this dark blue color. If you're following along in Photoshop, just keep in mind that you want to break everything apart onto separate layers. Because if you're doing this in Illustrator, you can do it later, but Photoshop, you wouldn't do it as you go. I want to make my end shape. So let's make it this reddish color. I'll make it that thick one, thick end, make it pretty big and center this. I'll call this layer and thick a little bit bigger. Then I'm going to duplicate this layer and we'll call this one End theme, and I'm going to make this one the 12-point font. Then what I'm going do, is I'm going convert both of these ends to outlines because I don't need them as text anymore. I want them as live shapes. Create these tile lines, and you'll see why later. So what I want to do is create another new layer, and let's make the eyeball. So get the ellipse tool, and we're going to create an eyeball to make it this tarnish color. We'll grab the pen tool and this anchor point. We're going to click on the edges here. Looks a little wonky right now, but we'll grab the top, drop it down a little bit to bring it up a little bit mess with these handles till we get something that's looking a little more like an eyeball. That's looking a little better, maybe bring it down a little more. That's a pretty good. Call this layer eyeball. Again, another layer on top and make its own green and this one iris. Duplicate this again, make this blue, make it a little smaller. Call this one pupil, and then we'll duplicate this one more time, you drag it up to the side here, make it this eyeball color. It looks pretty good and call this one eye shine, and then we're going to do is we're going to make another new layer, but we're going to grab all of these elements here, copy them, and then paste them onto this layer. We just need all of these on one new layer because this is just a reference layer. They don't need to all be separated because we're just going to animate this eye one time and then duplicated layer so they don't need to all be separated again. I'm going to lock this and just play around with these positioned. There's pretty good. So let's make the hand, let's call this layer second eye. Lets make the hand layer. The rounded rectangle tool, make it this orange. Make one of these fingers. I want this to be well-rounded and somebody grab these corners here. Rotate this or drag it here, Command D, Command D. These hands are looking a little big for this guy. Once again, I'm going to break all these fingers into individual layers because they're going to want to be animated separately. So let's go ahead and do this and then name them for your future self. Finger 1, finger 2, finger 3, finger 4. Then one more time, we're going to make a new layer. Copy all of these four Command C and then paste them onto here. This layer, once again, is just for reference because we're just going to duplicate the actions later. I think that looks pretty good. So let's save this N-design-V2, I'm going to pretend like I haven't already made this and before and save it. Now we're ready to animate this. 4. Animating Eyes: All right. Now we're ready to import our file in the After Effects,. Let's go to File, Import File, find our file and make sure you're importing is composition retain layer sizes. Now let's double-click into our comp here. We want to break this into chunks. Let's start with our eyeball here and double-click or highlight all of our eye layers and let's right-click and precompose. Call this EYE. Now we have an eyeball comp. Let's double-click into here. The first thing I'm going to do to tidy this up is I'm going to click this "Region of Interest" button and draw a nice little box around this eye and go up here and click "Crop Comp to Region of Interests". This will just make our bounding area a little bit tighter. I want to start this off with the eye lid opening up and blinking. To do that, I want to convert this layer into a shape layer. Since I made this an Illustrator, it can read that shape player data. I'm going to right-click this eyeball layer and click "Create Shapes from Vector Layer". If you did this in Photoshop or for some reason this button isn't working, then you might have to create a new shape layer and just recreate this layer with the pen tool. But I'm not going to do that since mine works. Let's open up this contents here and make a key frame for the path. Let's go ahead and maybe 10 frames and make another keyframe and now go back to the first one and bring down the eyelid so that the top and bottom meet at the middle so that it's closed. Now if you play this, spacebar, you can see it opens up. But we want to add some easing here so that it looks a little bit nicer, so if you easy ease this second keyframe with F9, now it'll look a little bit better, but I want some more exaggerated ease. Someone clicked the graph editor and used this is more. Let's see here. Not like that. Not like that either, someone do this. I actually prefer working with numbers, so if I hit command Shift K, you can see easy ease is 33 percent, and I want this to be something higher, like 69 percent. There we go. That looks a lot better. Then maybe after a few more frames, it will blink back down. You can copy this first keyframe and paste that down and you want the blinks to slap down. So they're going to have this linear keyframe and they open back up. This one should be 69 too. When they open back up, they have this easing. When they slap back down, they have this linear keyframe because you want them to be fast like this. Let's see what that looks like. I think that looks pretty good for right now. How do we get the rest of the eyeball layers to be masked by this layer. We could duplicate this and have them METT each time, but that's a sloppier way to do it because then we'll have to have a bunch of layers. So better way to do it is to apply an effect called SETT METT to each one of these layers. With this effect, then, we will choose the eyeball outlines for each one. Make sure that you have this button right here continuously rasterized selected. Let's copy this effect SETT METT for each one, boom, boom. Now, let me make sure that's highlighted. When the eyeball opens and close, it's going to hide each layer. Now we have the eyeball opening, thinking, beautiful. Now what we want to do is we want the eyeball to look around. Let's right-click here and create a new null object and parent the iris pupil and I shine to this null object. We'll call this pupil control. I like to write things in all caps sometimes because it makes it seem more serious and I'm a very serious animator. Now, when we move this around, everything is going to look with it. Beautiful. How about once the eye lid opens up for the first time, make a position keyframe and we'll have the eye start looking around like right here. Right out here, make it go like this and then like that. I'm going to try to keep these in line with these keyframes. I feel like that might make it look a little bit better. Then once again, you can either easy,ease these with F9. But I don't think that's going to look as good. I don't think easy ease is really the best easing. I'm going to hit command shift K, it's going to bring this up. I think that a little bit higher of a number, usually it looks a little bit better. That's pretty good for right now, but I want this to keep going, so I'm going to just make a few more here. Maybe to 10 seconds, and then it'll look back. Let's see how this looks. Then maybe when this comes back to the center, we can have the pupil squint like it's judging you, maybe something like this. Make sure that these are used properly. Sometimes it defaults back to 16, which looks a little funky. I want this to really squint. Then I would at the very end, it goes back. Almost 10 seconds, the loop is over and this blinks back. Now we'll go back here and with the second I layer highlighted, if we all drag this eye onto it or will replace. Oops, let's move it over a little bit, move this one up a little bit. Now, we have two eyes that opened up and look around. That's a pretty good start for a now. We can always go back and adjust some a little bit, but I like the way this loop looks. I'm going to go to 10 seconds where our loop ends and I'm going to click "N", and now that brings our work area end. 5. Morphing Shapes: The next chunk that we want to do is we want to make this N morph out. Once again, we want to make this into a shape from a vector layer. So I'll right-click and do that. I just want to do that for the thin layer. We can go ahead and delete the old ones. We don't need those. I'm going to grab the thick layer and I'm clicking control squiggly, whatever that button is called. I don't think anybody actually knows. That will bring down all of the options here. I'm going to make a key frame on the path. Now I'm going to copy this key frame. I'm going to do the same for the thin one, open up the path and make a key frame. I'm going to go ahead and hide the thick one. Now, on the thin one, I made it half key frame. I'm going to go ahead, maybe one second, and I'm going to paste the key frame that I copied from the thick one. Now you can see that it opens up here. I'm going to solo this layer. That's all that I see right now. Look at that, it's opening up Let's go ahead and we can easily use this. If we want to, we can open up the get graph editor, maybe make this a little bit more extreme, like that. But once again, I'm weird and I like using numbers. This way I can keep everything the same for later, and it makes matching up the easings easier. If for some reason, your shape is doing a weird flippy thing like this. If it's for some reason doing a flip like that, you want to go in and look for the one point that's bigger than the other one. So in this case, it's here. Make sure that the other point, they're matched up. See how this one is big and this one is big. I'm going to go ahead. Now, click on this point and set this to be the first vertex. This one would be the first vertex. That way, that should fix the flipping. But if you do it with the fonts, the way that I had it set out, you shouldn't have the flippiness. But a lot of times, after effects is annoying and likes to make your shapes flip, so that should fix it. Let's unhide this layer. Maybe we'll move the eyes about 10 seconds forward so the shape can open up and then the eyes come out. That's pretty good. Now, we're ready to work on the hand. 6. The Fingers: The idea for the hands is that we want them to come out of this space in the N and then push it out. What we're going to do is maybe push. We need a little bit of dead time where the N isn't doing anything so the hands can come out of this space, so let's actually push these forward a little bit, maybe ten or so frames here to give these fingers time to come out. That should probably be enough time. You can always adjust it later. I've actually been a bad boy and I didn't name all my layers. I'm going to go ahead and do that now, ''Background'' and I can delete this thick layer, I don't need that anymore and this other hand layer, I don't need that anymore, go ahead and delete that and I'm going to save again, you should be saving constantly After Effects loves to crash. Now let's add some key frames to this fingers. We want to key frame their final position. We'll make three key frames without doing anything there. One position here, a position here, and then one position for their final one. Then we'll work backwards. We had the final position here, which is where they first start pushing. We're going to go in and push them back to about here. Then we'll go back again. Then this is where they come out of nothing. I'm going to ''Command Shift K'', and I'm going to put in 0, 69, 0, 69. Now, if you look at it, you're going to come out and they're going to push like that. I will also want to add some slight scale to these. Would be selected as S. If you press ''U'' that will open up all the key frames that you have on your layers. I'm going to add some scale properties to these as well. They're going to reach 100 percent scale right here, and we'll go back to here and maybe they're at 90 right here. Once again, 0, 69. If you're curious about why I'm using these numbers, these are just numbers that I really enjoy and I think that they pretty much always look good. I like hard key frames when they come out of nothing or off screen and then hash, then these ease key frames when they come into the action. That's basically an idea for how these moves should work. Look like that. One more thing we want to do here is we want to fade these on. We could mess up their opacity, but what I want to do here is I want to match this color. I'm going to add it right-click ''Layer'' and add a ''Color Overlay'' and match my color here. I'm going to change this opacity. It's going to go from 100 to zero. Once again, I want to ease this 69, 0, 69. Then we can just copy it, ''Control C'', copy that to each one. What you want to do is you want to copy the actual effect here, and then you can paste it to each layer. Now it looks pretty good like that. I'm going to stagger each layers, one frame like this. Make sure that it's made up to move the whole thing over forward slightly, so that it looks like it matches the pacing of the end growing out. I think that looks pretty good. I'm going to precompose these, and call this hand. Now I'm just going to duplicate this, ''Control D''. If you notice me saying command a lot, it's because I also work on Macs all the time, so I can't keep my key commands straight. I'm going to rotate this. If you click ''W'', you get your rotation tool. I'm going to rotate this around and put this in a good place here. Make sure it looks right. That doesn't look right. It doesn't look right at all. I'd have to rotate this a little bit. I'm just going to play with this until it looks good. Still not looking all right. Why, won't this look right? Now looks good. 7. Time Remapping: What we need to do, a few things to get this looping right. We're going to go in to our hand comp. This is about two seconds and eight frames length here. To make it simple, we're just going to say this is three seconds because that's easier math and math is for nerds, and I don't like making it difficult. So let's just say three seconds. We're going to time, go to time remapping and let's make key frame here. Since we're going with a 10 second comp, we'll say three seconds less than 10 is seven. We'll make a key frame here. One frame before that. So now, here we're going to copy this key frame, paste it here, and then copy the first key frame, which is zero, and paste it at the end. Now what happens is, it's just going to basically play once it hits seven seconds, now it's just going to play in reverse like that. We can copy basically these timer app and key frames and paste it on the other one. So if you play it through, that's going to look like but we also have to do this for the N. So the N animation happens, it goes to 10 frames in, and then this animation is about one second long. So let's go 10 frames back 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and that's about nine seconds. We'll grab this key frame, we'll copy it and then go one second back. From 9-8. That doesn't look right though. I think it should be just about here I'm looking at the hands here, it should be about there, wait a second, I grabbed the wrong key frames. There we go. I'm going to save this and then one more problem is our eyes. Our eyes don't close soon enough so I'm going to make the eyes shut much sooner. The eyes should shut about right here. So if we click in here, this is when the eyes need to close. I'm going to move this back and have it happen about right here. Let's see if that looks better. Still not quick enough. Let's bring this key frame in more like here. That looks better. You can see that this still we're having some weirdness right here. So right when this eye closes that frame, I'm going to trim this, "ALT Bracket", bring it back one more. So now right when the eye closes, they're gone. But I have to do that for both eyes. Now let's watch this whole thing. Beautiful. I think we don't want this to just play again right away. If you watch the time remapping codes, these are just going to start playing again so watch here. Wants to keep going, that's because we have these key frames that happen over here. So I've delete this key frame, otherwise they're going to rebound. So I'm also going to trim these right here. Let's make it so that this animation doesn't just loop again. Let's have it go on for a few frames to just give it a second before it loops. There we go. Alright, now it's time to move on to my favorite part of this, texturing and final touches. 8. Texturing & Final Touches: All right. Let's add some texture to the eyeballs first. I'm going to click into my eye. Let's open up this eyeball here. Then I'll put on full res just so I get to see it a little bit better. Let's start with the eyeball. I'm going to right-click here, I'm going to go to Layer Style, Bevel and Emboss. Drop-down that Bevel and emboss. I'm going to crank up the size a little bit, and I'm going to put both of these colors at dissolve. I want to pick a color. First of all is going to drop the same color as this, and then I want to make the highlights slightly lighter and the shadow slightly darker. That gives it a nice little, nice little texture that is the same style as my illustration. I'm going to copy this Veblen and boss to the iris and the colors aren't right but this just makes it a little bit quicker. I want to grab this and go to the shadow to be this blue, now that's too dark. I hate that. Make the highlight a little bit lighter. Shadow, just a little bit darker. Copy this again. We'll put it on the pupil. A little bit lighter. Make the shadow little darker. That looks pretty good. But now there's a little problem here. This highlight is been a little weird now. It doesn't really look like a highlight anymore. It looks like just a shape on top. Now what we actually need to do is we need to make this a mask of these. I'm going to make this an Alpha layer. With the pupil, I'm going to click Alpha Matte inverted. I'm going to duplicate the eye shine one more time, and I'm going to make the iris Alpha Matte inverted of that as well. Now that's actually a cut out of those two. That's exactly what we want. Great. Now both of our eyes have some nice texture in to them. Now let's go into the hand and do the same thing. We'll grab this one and we will add a bevel and emboss. I think it's still copied, we can just paste it on. Beautiful. I'm going over to grab this color. Let's make it a little bit lighter, make this one a little bit darker. Maybe mess with the angle a little bit, make sure that it's how you wanted. But the problem here is that this is going to look weird because this is supposed to be hidden in here. We're getting this weirdness. Let's key-frame this opacity, the shadow opacity and the highlight opacity, so that it doesn't appear until these things appear. We'll make these down at zero and zero. I'll just easy ease these, F9. Now we can copy and paste this bevel and emboss to each of these and make sure you do it when the layer starts. Let's see how this looks in the main layer. I think that looks pretty good. Let's just make sure. Cool. I like that. Maybe, let's see what else we can add here. Maybe we can add a shadow underneath this N. Maybe right here, this N wants to have some stylized shadow. I'm going to make a Shape Layer and drag it underneath the N, and let's add an effect called over here to Effects and Presets, that's an effect called Scatter. This is just going to scatter these pixels around. If you click Randomize every frame, it will make these jump around. I don't know if I really like this, but maybe it needs to be a darker color like this. Maybe I'll call this N shadow. Maybe this needs to be duplicated over here too. It's cool, am totally sold on it, but it's a little interesting. Maybe we want to create a new adjustment layer over top. Maybe we want to add some noise to everything. Maybe you want to add me 10 percent noise. I don't like to use colored noise, this is too much noise. I don't need that much noise in my life. Maybe we wanted to see what that looks like. Maybe five percent noise. Maybe we can add a little more movement to this. Let's create a new solid. We'll call this turbulent noise. Then we're going to add a new effect called, you guessed it, turbulent [inaudible] , curb turbulent noise. We went to bump up the contrast a bit. Then we want to drop down the evolution options here. I'll click random seed and we're going to type in time, times six. What this does is it creates a new, kind of creates this randomly created pattern. Each time. The higher number you do, the faster it goes, the lower number you do, the slower generates. Now what we're going to do with this pattern is we're going to hide this. If we create another new adjustment layer and we apply an effect called displacement map. Whoa, that's not what we want. We choose the turbulent noise and we put on luminance. Now we get this kind of, why isn't that working? Isn't working? Because we have to decompose this, decompose this turbulent noise comp, move on attributes in. Now, we've got this kind of jiggly effect. That's happening. That's way too aggressive, way more than we want. Let's name this layer Displacement Map, maybe two. Now it's a little more jiggly movement. I don't know if this is right for the vibe here, but I figured I would show it to you. Yeah, I think that's about it. 9. Rendering: All right, now I'm ready to render. I'm going to go up here to composition with this composition selected and add to Adobe Media Encoder. If for whatever reason you don't have Adobe Media Encoder, then you would just do add to render queue. But this is my preferred way to render. Once I click that, it's going to get loaded into Adobe Media Encoder. I'm going to choose my output, which is my renders folder and save it there. I'll choose my format, which is going to be 0.264 since I'm just going to put this on Instagram most likely. I don't really care too much about quality. I just want it to be fast and small size. I don't need audio. All this other stuff is fine and then we're good to go. Once it's done, I can just click this, open it up. Let's check it out. Look at that It's beautiful. You guys just render out like this and show me what you make. 10. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for making it this far. I hope you had a good time, maybe even learned something. This was my first SkillShare class, so I would love to know your feedback about it. Things you liked, things you didn't like. Let me know. If it really sucked, let me know and I'll never do it again. Thanks.