Intro to After Effects: Creating a Personal Animation | Chris George | Skillshare

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Chris George, Animator & Motion Graphic Designer

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12 Lessons (1h 12m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:40
    • 2. Getting Started

      4:30
    • 3. Designing Your Text

      5:51
    • 4. Reveal Text With A Pop

      6:36
    • 5. Revealing Text with Scale

      2:50
    • 6. Revealing Text With Cascading Type

      8:38
    • 7. Creating a Transition

      7:53
    • 8. Designing Your Character

      11:35
    • 9. Animating Your Character

      3:44
    • 10. Bringing Everything Together

      9:05
    • 11. Polishing Your Animation

      7:34
    • 12. Exporting and Final Thoughts

      1:45
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About This Class

Want to add motion into your creative toolkit? Join artist and animator Chris George to learn how to create the perfect personal project for getting started with animation. 

In this demystifying and super actionable class, Chris walks you through the basics of After Effects by showing you how to design and animate your first animation. The class pairs step-by-step actions with practical demonstrations so you can get a deeper grasp of how the techniques are being used. By the end of the course, you’ll have a holistic understanding of After Effects and a personal animation that you can use all across the web. Along the way you’ll learn how to:

  • Animate text in three different ways
  • Design a simple character with movement in mind
  • Combine text and image in an eye catching final animation

But more importantly, you’ll gain an understanding and confidence with After Effects most important features: Text Layers, Shape Layers, Nulls, Masks, Velocity, and Effects. Once you have this foundation, you’ll be able to start your journey in animation and advance your motion graphic skills.

Rather than beginning in design software like Illustrator or Photoshop, this course is design as you go, and can be completed entirely in After Effects. Starting with font and color choice, you’ll have the opportunity to personalize your project without spending hours designing from scratch. 

While aimed at beginners, this class is also valuable for intermediate animators looking to deepen your fundamental knowledge of the software or to gain insight into a professional workflow. 

Note: All you need to complete the class is a copy of After Effects.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: You can make an amazing personalized intro, just like this one in a little over an hour with absolutely no experience necessary. I'll walk you through each step and show you how easy After Effects can be. Hello, my name is Chris George. I am a motion graphic designer based in New York City. Didn't know how what I was going to say right after that. Six years ago, I created my first After Effect animation using just YouTube tutorials. I was very happy with how it turned out so much so that I decided to go back to school for motion graphics. Eventually, I was able to start my own studio with my two business partners, Emerson Bowstead, and Justin Vega. Now we have Oddsense studios where we get to make cool stuff, seen here. What we're making? Just like my first project, we're going to be making a self-promotional piece, including three skills or services that you provide, your name and a animation of a character to represent you. If you're interested in learning After Effects, this is a great place to start. Not only will I be walking you through each technique we use step-by-step, but I'll also being going over demos. We'll be discussing big picture concepts to make sure that you understand what's going on and the skills we learned can be applied to future animations. Really quick before we start, keep in mind that if you run into any problems, please reach out to me, and shoot me an email or follow me on Instagram and send me a message there. I'll be sure to get back to you and help anyway I can. I promise. 2. Getting Started: Okay, welcome to the project. I want to get to After Effects as soon as possible. Beforehand, I just have a very small amount of preparation I what to do with you. For that, I'm going to grab my laptop, and I'm just going to open up a text document. All we need to do is figure out three skills or services that we provide. For mine, I'm going to do Design as my first, Animation as my second, and then Illustration as my third. Then we need to know our names. Then the next thing we need to do is figure out a palette. I love color and I know what I like and what looks good. But, often I have a hard time choosing specific colors for my pallets. What I like to do is go to a website called coolers dot-com. Here they actually generate random palettes for you. I'm just gonna go through and click Space-bar a couple of times and see if anything catches my eye. Ooh, I like that one. Okay, here already we've got a great palette. I think it's got some nice blues, nice off-white, and great yellow. That feels like a really good foundation for what I want to make. What I'm going to do is just take a screenshot of this palette and save that to my desktop for later. We are just about ready to go. One piece of preparation you can do that I'm not going to do is actually draw myself beforehand. Later on we're going to be creating illustrations, and animations of characters that we feel best represent us. It can be a drawing view or it could be drawing of an animal that feels like you, whatever you what to do, it could be a monster. I don't care. It's just going to be a little character. I'm going to just illustrate that as I go later. If you want to do a little preparation beforehand, and draw yourself out, I highly recommend that to keep in mind that mine will end up looking like this. If you want to keep it at that level of complexity, that would be a good place to start. I think we're all set to go. I'm going to head on over to my desk and we can start working in After Effects. Now that we have a clear plan of what we're doing, what we're making. We can actually open up After Effects. Once you have After Effects open, you can select New Project, and you should see a window that looks like this. If yours looks different, it might be in a different arrangement. You can simply go to Window Workspace and then select defaults so ours look exactly the same. Before we dig in, I want to highlight a few key areas we should know about. Starting at the top left, we have our Toolbar. If you've used Adobe software before, a few of these will be very familiar to you, but if any look foreign, don't worry, we won't even need more than these five. I will explain them all as we need later on. Below your tools is your Project Window. Here is where you can find and organize all your imported files and compositions. To the right is our Composition Window, also known as our Stage. We could think of this kind of as our monitor. It's where we're going to be viewing all the work we create. Directly below that is our Timeline, where we actually create an animate layers. Now that we have our bearings, let's create our very first composition and kick things off. Because we have a new project, you can select the new composition button, but at anytime you can make new compositions with this button or in the top menu selecting composition, and going to new composition. Okay, now we are here with our composition settings. After renaming our composition text, we're going to go ahead, and match all the other settings to mine. I'll just go down, and explain a couple of these. Will be changing our frame rate, making sure it's at 24. Mainly just because it's a nice number to work with. If we have to do any math later on, 24 is a very easy number to work with. Lastly, we're going to set the duration for our composition. The way these numbers are organized, it might look a little weird, but it's by hour, minute, second and then the frame number. I'm going to set this to ten seconds because I don't think we're going to need any more than that. We're going to hit, "Okay". Now that we've got our composition all set up, in the next lesson, we can talk about layers, and add our first elements to our scene. 3. Designing Your Text: Now that we've got a blink composition, we need to fill it with some layers. You can make a new layer at anytime by right-clicking in the left section of the timeline, clicking "New", and then selecting the type of layer you want to make. Out of this list, we only have to worry about these four. Text layers are obviously to create text fields that work a lot like other Adobe software. Shape layers allow you to create any type of shape or shape combinations using their preset shape tools or the Pen tool. Solid layers generate a composition-sized color. But unfortunately, you can't change that color once you set it the first time. Most of the time, you're better off just using a Shape layer. Lastly, there are nulls which are a little bit weirder. Imagine they're like a clear piece of plastic that we can attach other layers to. When you move that piece of plastic, everything associated with it also moves. It's just a great way to control elements of your scene, and I'll explain more about that later. Now, with our new composition, the first thing we're going to do is create a text layer. Here we can type in our first skill, which for me is going to be design. Let's just type that in. Once we have our first text layer, we are going to duplicate it. This is one of the only keyboard shortcuts I'm going to make you remember, and that's Command D, and that's duplicates it. We're going to click on the layer and hit Command D on a keyboard, and we're actually going to do it twice. We have three layers, and we're just going to drag these down, each individually. Now, we have three words that we can change. I'm going to make my second one animation, and I'm going to make the last one, which I need to select layer first illustration. Now that we've got all our text layers, let's actually make it look good. Let's look at our palette. I took a screenshot of that, so I'm just going to import that screenshot. I'm going to import it by right-clicking on the "Project" window, "Import", "File". Then I go into my desktop where my screenshot is, and opening it. Now with that screenshot here, I can just drag it into my composition, and boom, we have my palette. I'm just going to grab the anchors at the side, and holding Shift to maintain its proportions. I'm going to make it small, move it off to the side. Now we can actually add some color, and we'll start with the background. Were going to create a new Shape Layer. Click on "Fill", make sure it is our color. Stroke doesn't matter as long as it's zero points. Then we're going to hover over a Rectangle tool and double-click it. That will give us a perfect composition size shape filled in with this color. The best part is that we can change it to any color we want without have to worrying about going into any settings. Now, with our background, and I'm going to label it. To label a layer, you just click on it and hit Enter. I'm going to label this Background. Now we can style our text. This is where I hope everybody gets a little creative. You can choose whatever fonts you want. I'm going to walk you through what my thinking is. First, I'm going to change the typeface, so I'm going to select all three layers. In my Character box, I'm going to type in Arial Black, which is the typeface I think I want to use. I like that typeface. Now, I'm going to think about how big they are. At any point, you can click on these texts layers and resize them. If you hold Shift, you maintain that proportions. I am going to just start playing around with how I want these texts layers to look. I'm thinking I want them all to be around the same width, but all at different sizes. I'm just going to eyeball that here, design as we go. We'll just figure this out. I think that looks nice. I'm going to add some more, letting in-between the type. I'm just eyeballing this, but I like that. Hide this screenshot. Now that I like this lockup as these three together, I'm going to create a Null Object, which I'm going to right-click, and go to a new "Null Object", going to hit Enter on my keyboard to rename it, and I'm going to call it Type Controller. Then we'll do something called parenting. With all of your text layers selected, grab this swirly looking button called the pick whip, and drag it to the new null we just created, and let go. When you parent two layers together, you've got a parent layer and a child layer. The child will always follow the parent, but the parents won't follow the child. If, for example, you rotate a parent, the child will rotate around with the parent. But if you were to rotate the child, the parent wouldn't move at all. If that's confusing, don't sweat it, I promise it'll make more sense as we go along. Now that are type is pretty enough and parented to a null, we're going to start working on our timeline and actually animate. 4. Reveal Text With A Pop: All right, now we can jump into our timeline and start to figure out our timing. Originally, I laid this out as a 10 second composition, but I'm thinking this animation shouldn't take more than maybe six or seven seconds. Let's start by thinking we want design to appear almost immediately, so we're going to jump ahead to four frames and we're going to drag the beginning of design to that. If you scroll backwards, you'll see it doesn't exist. For now, let's grab an Illustration and Animation and we'll bring those back even further. We got design pop in and then we want that to breathe alone for let's say until one second. Then let's have animation animate on, and let's jump again to two seconds and let's see. Now, to get a feel for the timing, what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to three seconds where all of our primitive animation is completed by and I'm going to hit "N" on my keyboard or at any point you can grab these handles and slide them around to make your work area. Your workspace, which is defined by this little bar above the timeline, tells After Effects what section of the timeline you want to view when you playback. So now that we've got these three appearing in a good timing that we're happy with, we can start animating each individual one. Let's start with design. The first text reveal technique I'm going to show you is what I like to call a pop-in. It's one of the simplest way to reveal text, but I use it all the time in my professional work. How you make it is you click on the text layer you are going to be animating and you can hit "P" on your keyboard or you can toggle down and go to transform. You're going to click the stop watch next to position and what that did is create our first keyframe. Keyframes are how we animate everything in after effects. When you toggle down into the transform properties of a layer, you'll see all the properties we have to work with. If you see a stopwatch icon next to a value, that means you can animate it. When you click a stopwatch, a keyframe is generated wherever your play head is at that specific moment. Think of keyframes as checkpoints for your animation. For example, if we've got a circle and we set the scale of that circle to be 100 percent at, say, the two second mark. Then we bring it back to the one second mark and we make a second keyframe where the scale is set to zero. After Effects will look between those keyframes, see that there's a difference and animate what happens in between them. The last thing to keep in mind with keyframes is that once you press the stop watch once, any changes you make to that value where there isn't already a keyframe will make a new keyframe. Just be very mindful about where your play head is when you're changing values to a property that you're animating. It's very easy to accidentally get extra keyframes where you don't want them and junk up your animation. Also keep in mind that if you change a transform property without the stopwatch selected, then none of that data will be recorded and you're not actually animating, you're just moving things around like you do in Illustrator or Photoshop. Okay, now that we've created a keyframe for position, we can drag it out a couple of frames, and then you want to move it whichever direction you want it to pop in from. So for this animation, I want it to pop in from the bottom, so I'm going to move it down. Then if I click "play", you can see, oh, interesting. [inaudible] you've got some animation. Now because I'm just working on this front section, I'm going to move my workspace to be a little bit smaller, and I'm going to make this a little bit shorter. There you go. Now, you might be saying yourself, "Oh okay. That's pretty boring." and that's because these keyframes are still linear. When we first create keyframes, they appear in the timeline as diamonds. That diamond-shaped means that they're linear. Linear keyframes, when they're played back, look very boring and unnatural. This is because linear keyframes maintain the same speed from beginning to the end. Where in real life, the speed of movements are there constantly changing. For example, if you were to slide a glass across a table, it would start off very fast and then slow down as friction slows it to a stop. If a glass were to move linearly across the table, it would look very strange. What we need to do is we need to change these by selecting them and right-clicking, and we can go to keyframe assistant and click "Easy Ease". Now the change that occurs between the beginning and end of the keyframe will start slow, get faster in the middle and then slow down at the end. Now this already looks more natural and better than before, but we want to really manipulate it and make it look a little bit more dynamic and really pop in. What that means is that we really want it to start off very quickly and then slowly slide into its final position. What we can do is we can select the keyframes we want to modify and click on the graph editor. If it doesn't look like this, you can right-click and make sure it says Edit Speed Graph. Then you can also click on this button, "Fit all graphs to view" so that you can see it more clearly. As I explained before, you can see the basic Easy Ease curve and now we're going to modify it. We're going to grab the handle on the right. Going to grab this handle. We're going to push it all the way to the left. Push this one all the way to the left as well, so now you can see it's going very, very fast at the beginning of the animation and then it very quickly drops off into a slow push to where it needs to land. If we play this back, you can see, boom, we've got a great pop in. Now what I referred to as the tail, which is where it settles into place is pretty short. It's pretty dramatic how quickly it slows down. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take this end keyframe and I'm just going to slide it out couple frames and play it, and we're going to see what that looks like. Wow, that's liking nice. Sliding in real comfy. Okay, with our first text layer popping in very nicely, we can move on to our second text reveal technique. 5. Revealing Text with Scale: For our next texture review, we're going to be using the Scale property to make our texts reveal, which would make now a good time to talk about anchor points. An anchor point is that we're little cross area you see at the center of all your layers when they're selected. Think of it like a pin that holds the layer to the composition. This is the point that After Effects moves, scales and rotates layers from. For our animation type layer, the anchor point is actually where we want it to be already because we want it to stretch up from the bottom. But if we wanted it to be somewhere else, you can change an anchor points position by selecting the pin behind tool and simply, dragging it wherever you want it. I want to just keep it at the bottom center. It's great, and I'm going to hit "S" on my keyboard. Or you can simply toggle down into the transform commands and we are going to select "Scale", get a keyframe in there. Again, this is where we want it to end. We can slide this back a little bit based on how long our previous Animation took. I'm going to keep it the same. Now, we can change the beginning scale. As you can see, the proportions are being maintained. So we can't squish the type down like we want. What we're going to do is, turn off constrained proportions, which is this little chain link button there. Now, you'll see that when we transform one property, the other stays the same. We can squish the type rather than just make it smaller. Now, we're going to change the Y property to zero. If I hit "Shift/" to make it full screen, or at any point, you can just click to fit there. Then we hit "Play". You'll see Design, Animation, Illustration. We got it. Now, just like before, these are linear frames. They seem very boring. We're going to do the same technique as before. We're going to go down to keyframe assistant, Easy Ease. Then we're going to click on the Graph Editor. Now, we select this handle. You'll see nothing's changing with that green because you're selecting this red is actually the X variable that we had not animated all. As long as we move that handle out of the way so we can grab the important one, we can, and again, same thing happening and the red getting in my way. Grab that green. Boom. Now, if we go back in Preview, you'll see we get a great stretchy Reveal. Now, we've got two out of three of our Text Layers animated. Only one more to go, and I've saved the best technique for last. 6. Revealing Text With Cascading Type: This last technique is a variation of the pop that we did earlier. Just like the first, we're going to hit "P" on our keyboard with illustrations selected for position. Again, we can just toggle there in our transform commands. We're going to click the stop watch. Then just like before, we're going to space this out a couple of frames and modify where it is in the beginning. Just like design, I'm going to move it down. I'm going to select the keyframes. Right-click keyframe assistant, Easy ease. You're going to open up the graph editor, for this I'm going to make it a little bigger. Just like before, we want all these curves to look the same, so they feel the same. If we hit "Preview", you can see design, animation, illustration, but again, this is popping a little fast. We want the tail to be longer. Stretch that out already, that seems nice. We're going to extend our work area just a bit. To add some more complexity to the pop in effect, what we're going to do is we're going to count the number of letters and illustration. I did choose the longest word for this, so that makes it a little annoying, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12. We're going to duplicate this layer 12 times. Again, I'm duplicating by hitting command ''D" on the keyboard. You can see now we've got 12 illustrations. Now, what we're going to do is we're going to mask out all but one letter for each of these layers, mask are essentially shapes that you can draw on top of any layer. That shape hides anything that's not inside of it and you make one by selecting one of the shape tools and simply drawing a shape on a pre-existing non shape layer. You can also make custom shapes using the pen tool, let's start masking. We're going to go to the first illustration, we're going to click the rectangle tool. Let's start masking out each individual layer. We have illustration mask 1 that I has been masked out. We can now just go to Number 2 and we're going to grab this L and we're going to continue this process for all of these layers, I'll just fast forward a little bit. Go to A, so A you can see that it is off. If I try to select some of the A, you'll see that I'm definitely going to get this T, the crossbar. Instead, I'm going to select the Pen tool. Because for text layers, the Pen tool also creates masks. We're just going to create a nice custom mask for A, move on to T, do the same thing for T. Then we're back to normal letters. If we go back to full screen, you can see that we have 12 of these layers in our timeline. If we select them all and we hit "U" on the keyboard, will see all of our keyframes on all of these Illustration layers. If we hit "Tilde" on the keyboard, it will open any panel we have selected full screen. If we hit "Tilde" on our timeline, you can see I get a good picture of what we have going on. If we hit "Playback", you'll see it looks just the same as it did before. The magic of this effect comes from what we're about to do, which is staggering layer. If we go down here to our I layer, that's where we want our animation to start. I'm going to grab all the other layers above it by shift clicking. We're going to scoot them back just one frame and then we're going to command click to deselect that one. We're going to scoot them all back, command click, scoot back, command click, scoot back. I'm going to keep doing that until we get to the top. You can scoot these back more than one frame. You can have it be irregular, you can have it be random, so it's coming out not from the left to right, you can pull them from the middle. You can organize these however you want. But now if we come back and we hit "Play", you'll see, we've got really interesting animation look at that. Now, one last thing we're going to do before we're done with this illustration animation is something called pre-comping and pre-comping is important if in a situation like this, you have a bunch of layers for something that we no longer need to animate or worry about. We're going to do our first pre-comp and we'd do that by shift clicking to select all of our illustration layers, right-clicking and selecting precompose. Here we can name everything illustration and make sure move all attributes and adjust composition duration is selected and we hit "Okay". What that did is essentially group all 12 of those layers and move them to a new composition just like this one. You can see it nested right here, if we click in, you can see all 12 layers are still accessible. The only problem is that if we go back to our original composition, you can see that we lost our parenting. All we have to do is re-link these together and we're good to go. If we play it back, the only problem I have is that each individual thing is not centered on the screen when it's first revealed. The way we can fix that is by animating our null object called type controller and which we set up earlier. We can do that by creating position keyframes. You can reveal position by again hitting "P" on your keyboard or toggling down through these drop-down menus. But will make a new position keyframe and go backwards in time to, lets say, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 frames after illustration begins to appear. We can drag that final keyframe to right there because that's where we want it to end. Then let's go five frames before illustration, so 1,2, 3, 4, 5 and here we can change the position. It's centered on design and animation. One of the easy ways we can do this is toggled down and click on this little button over here and click "Proportional grid" and that way we get a center line or we can do tidal action safe, which I'm actually going to prefer in this situation that's pretty well centered there. We're going to go even further back and we're going to go to five seconds after animation appears, or five frames rather, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. We're going to create a new keyframe at our current playhead time by pressing this little diamond button. We're going to go back five frames before, so 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and then let's center it on design, it's Good centered and then that should be it. Then we've got design to animation and an animation to illustration. If we play that back, that looks good. Again, we've got the linear motion, so it seems very stale and robotic. We can just select all of these frames, right-click Easy Ease and then if we click on our graph editor, you can see that their the default curves, but that might actually work nicely for us because we want this to be secondary animation, not as aggressive as all of our reveal animation. Just like that, we've got our first section all done. Now, that our type is done, it's time to create a decorative element that'll help us transition between the text that we've already done and the picture of ourselves and our name that we're going to be making later. 7. Creating a Transition: Now it's time to make something this type can disappear behind. I'm thinking, let's keep it simple. Let's create a line that appears at the top. Let's create a new shape layer. Here will be the thing that we are disappearing into. Let's get our palette back up here for a second. Let's change the color. Let's grab this yellow behind that again. In this new shape layer, I am just going to, with the rectangle tool, make a simple rectangle. Let's see what that looks like. That looks nice. It's simple taking position by hitting P, moving it up a little bit. Now here we are going to change the anchor point. What I want this bar to do, is to appear from the left to the right, like it's being drawn across the screen. First off, I'm just going to line this up to my left edge nicely and then I'm going to grab the pen behind tool and grab this big anchor point. You are going to pin it to the left most center of these control points. That way, when you click on the "Shape Layer" and hit S for scale and we're going to untoggle constrain proportions. That way when we change the X scale, it will look like it's being drawn across the screen. Let's change that back to 100 and let's create a keyframe. This is where we want it to be and let's see when we want this to appear. We've got design, animation, illustration. Let's have it pop on, right as we hit U. We're going to have it come on right, as our type controller is done animating. We're just going to grab this left. It's X scale and turn that to zero. Now if we preview it, we'll see the bar animate on, nice and simply. Again, like everything else we've dealt with, these are linear frames, so we're going to select them, right-click and turn them to easy ease. We're going to preview that one more time. It looks nice. Design, animation, illustration. It takes a little while, it's a little slow, so I'm going to with these frame selected, click on graph editor and we're going to fit all graphs to view. We're just going to, like before, slide one of this, slide the right handle over, but we're going to leave the left handle alone. That way, it eases in a little bit, but its still got some snapping to it. It looks great. Now that the bar animates across, you want the bar to animate down, so it crosses on top of the type and we can hide the type as it passes over. We could do this by simply hitting P on our keyboard and animating our position keyframe. But for reasons I'll explain later, we are going to animate this instead on a null object. We're going to hit "New" hit "Null object" and we're going to hit "Enter" on our keyboard, to type in a new name and I'm going to call it "bar controller. " We're going to go a little later on our timeline and I'm going to move this, so it is directly in the middle of our bar. Then I'm going to rename our shape layer to bar and parent it to the bar controller. Now you'll see if we hit "P" on our keyboard, we can move the position of the bar controller and it moves the bar itself. Now, once this bar is completely filled out and we can see where that is by hitting "U" on our keyboard, when we have the bar layer selected and that reveals our animated key frames. We go here, we'll see it's completely animated, completely revealed at this point. I'm going to make a position keyframe on our controller and then I'm going to move ahead an arbitrary amount of time. I'm going to slide this type. Actually now that I'm moving it down, I'm seeing that the bar runs a little bit over the side, wasn't exactly accurate, riding up all my ends. What I'm going to do, is just simply go to my bar, go to the previous keyframe and just make this ever so slightly shorter, so I'm going to do 99.5. Then you can see it lines up nicely with that top and it doesn't line up great with these, but it'll be moving so fast at that point you won't be able to notice anyway. If I wanted to, I could always go back and switch it. But let's get this bar controller down on the last keyframe below the type, nicely. Then if we play this back, I'm going to fit, play this back, I can see what we have. Okay. Nice. Again, this bar is moving very linearly, so it doesn't look very fluid, but we can just fix that by selecting the keyframes, clicking "Easy ease" and we can go into our graph editor and we can see that curve. This is the default curve, the standard one like we discussed before. I want to make this a little bit more snappy. What I'm going to do is, I'm going to pull in the right side, like we did before, but then I'm going to grab the left side and also pull that closer poles handles towards each other. That way we've got a very slow beginning, a very fast middle and then a very slow end as well. We're going to save and just preview that off. Nice. Okay, great. Now the next thing we need to do, is hide the type, once this bar crosses over top. There's many ways you can do that with masks. We will discuss some options later, but for now we're going to do it this simple way and that is to just hide them behind a blue shape. I'm going to make a new shape layer right underneath our bar and I'm going to name it "BlueFill" and I'm going to create a new shape. Right over top, all of the typography and I'm going to fill that with this background color, then I'm going to go to the end, where the bar is completely covering the type. Make sure it's centered on the bar. Then I'm going to parent this Bluefill to the bar, or the bar controller. For this, I'm going to parent it to the bar controller. Now if we play it back, you can see we've got a design, animation, illustration and they all disappear. Look at that. Boom. This blue layer you can see is actually there the entire time, but it's hidden. I'm going to trim this layer, so it's not there before we need it. Great. Now we have our topography all animated. In the next section, we will use shape layers to illustrate and animate ourselves. 8. Designing Your Character: Welcome to the second half of the project where the fun starts. First things first, we need to create a new composition for us to make our character in, and call it Me. Keep the same settings. Now we can draw ourselves. I recommend you start with a pencil sketch, but for here, we are just going to design as we go. Let's make a new shape layer and we're going to call this shape layer by hitting Enter, am going to click on it, hit Enter, call it body and then I'm going to select the rounded rectangle tool and because our fill is the same as our background, I'm going to change it just to black. I'm going to draw my body and I'm just going to put a rectangle down and then toggle down into rectangle, go to the Roundness property and turn that up till I feel like I like my shoulders. Do that much. Then I'm going to get another rectangle. Do the same, get the roundness down from my hood, then I'm going to select both of these and we're going to add a stroke and we want it to be the background color, so we're going to select eyedropper but this background color was set in our composition settings, instead of being made with a shape or solid layer in our timeline, so the eye dropper ignores the color. What we're going to do is we're going to hit Cancel and open our composition settings, where we see our background color and we're just going to copy that value and then paste it into our stroke value, increase the stroke size. Let's just do five for now, that way we can get some definition, the hood and I am just going to now do my neck. Do that. Nice. I'm going to make the round and then I'm going to change the fill of this to white and to get the exact right color, I'm going to bring in our palette like before, scale it down and I'm going to go grab this white color. Now, suddenly we've got my body, torso, my hood and neck and let's make a head. This is our neck. We're going to do New, Shape Layer. Let's do another rounded rectangle for my head. Like a shapey like. I could have a very narrow head. I've got a pin head. I'm going to go make the roundness wide more. Nice. Don't have too long of a neck already. Nice head. Then we're going to make my ears on top of that, so let's grab, just the circle tool will be fine. Put some ears and I'm hitting V on the keyboard to select direct selection. I'm just going to grab that. Then if I click down into Contents and hit Command D on this ellipse, you'll see it duplicates like all other layers and I can just move this across by holding Shift. Keep them same. Then I'm going to select both of these and turn off their strokes or just get two ears. Nice, looking good. Now we can add some hair. I'm going to add one piece of hair that's attached to the head and one that is not. Am going to start with the one that's attached. Just going to make a rectangle here. Then like before, am going to modify the roundness to be pretty round and then that rectangle, I'm going to change to be filled in yellow and then I'm going to move it down beneath all the other shapes. Because I don't like this extra line here but I like the line here, I'm just going to add one extra shape to this head layer and it is going to be using the pen tool and I'm going to click just along this line here, then I'm going to use the convert vertex tool to line it up with those edges. Now, I'm going to make the fill nothing, none, by selecting this button here and the stroke, I'm going to turn up a little bit and then change the color to this yellow. Now you can see that there's these little straight lines here at the end, which I'm not a big fan of, so we can do is go into that shape that we just created, go to Stroke and then change but cap to round cap. Now we have these round edges, which are a lot nicer. I'm just going to move this path a little down, make it look a little more like sideburns of which I have almost none and there we go, that's our head. Now let's make some hair into a new shape layer. Keep this rectangle. Turn the film back on. Drag out a nice top poof. There we go. There we go. That's nice. Those are stroke down there, so am going to take that offer. I like the way that looked. Fold out. Okay. Nice. We'll call this hair. Now let's make a face. We're going to do another shape layer. Let's start with the nose. We're going to select the Pen tool and change the stroke to black. Change the fill to none. Let's just turn up the stroke to, let's say eight and let's make a nose. Am going to go back to our Convert vertex tool, just like you would the pen tool and illustrate it, boom. Got ourselves a little nose. It's a little thick of a stroke, so let's bring it down to five. That's nice. Let's call this nose and we can leave that as is. Make a new shape layer and can make a little mouth. Going to use the pen tool again. Make a little smile. Just two points simple and call that mouth and then one more shape layer for the eyes, which we are going to make with the ellipse tool. Change the fill. No stroke. Boom. One eye. Then you can hold Command and click and drag to make that two eyes or you can simply duplicate the ellipses by hitting Command D, like we had previously and you can move these eyes around. Let's fit this, so we can get a good idea of what we're seeing. That's nice. Although I'm not wearing them for this video, I'm going to add my glasses because they will be a nice extra detail for my character's face. Let's get this going. Turn that to no fill. Get the strokes to five. There we go. Down a bit. Again, we're going to hit Command, drag that out. Here we're going to click Ellipse, duplicate it, get that one out. There we go. Then one line to connect them. Boom. Your little pair of glasses. I'm going to make them a little bit closer together. The way I can modify this shape tool is by toggling down path and when you go to Path, click on Path, you'll see that these squares become editable points that you can make go wherever you like. Boom. Now let's label this glasses. Done. Let's grab our glasses. Center. Nice. Now the last thing we're going to do to give our character personality is eyebrows and eyebrows are super important for expressions. Let's do new shape layer. We're going to grab the pen tool. Just like we did the math, just a really simple two line but instead we are going to fill this with our hair color or stroke it with our hair color, turn it up to, let's do eight is good. Just like we did the others, we're going to turn this into a round cap. We're going to toggle all the way down to stroke and line cap, turn that to round cap, boom. Now we are going to duplicate this whole layer and move it over to the right, toggle down to path and select it, so we can modify these handles. Make this one look how we want. Boom. Got ourselves some eyebrows. Am going to label this right brow and left brow and we got ourselves a character. Am going to fix this right brow, to just be a little longer. Next, we will jump straight into animating our character. 9. Animating Your Character: First thing we're going to do to animate our character is create, like before, a null object and this we're going to call Character Controller. Before we start parenting everything to that, let's figure out what can be connected to one another. This neck is not going to move without the body. We can parent the neck to the body. We can also parent the head to the body. The hair, we're going to parent that to the head. We're going to parent the nose, eyes, mouth, and everything that's on the face, all of these, to the head. Now that all these are parent to each other, we can parent the body to the character controller and you can see, now everything is moving together. Now we have to figure out a beginning and end state for our character. So let's assume that what we drew him as is where we want him to end. We can go to one minute and hit position on that guy. We're going to go to select our head and everything attached to it. We're going to hit P on our keyboard. Then It will reveal position. Then we can set a key frame for where we want them all to be at the end of our reveal and then go back to the beginning. Now what we can do is we can grab our head and we just want this to move down and you can see everything else is moving with it. We want to make him seem like he's all scrunched up and hiding. We're going to do here and make that move that down, let me zoom in here a little bit. I'm going to make his eyes, move them, so he's looking down to start maybe to the left a little bit. His glasses, we can move them down. His nose, we're also actually going to move down because we wanna make it look like his head is tilted down a little bit. Same thing with the mouth, we're just going to move that down. Now if we play this back, you can see, he lifts his head up. We're going to shorten our workspace just so we can see that looping couple of times. Now what's obvious to me, right off the bat, is that it's too slow and like everything else before, it is linear. So what we are going to do is with our timeline select, I'm going to hit tilda just so I can see everything. I'm going to select all my key frames. I'm going to move them all up to half the amount of time it was before and then I'm going to select all of them and turn them to easy ease. Again, we can go to our graph editor, make sure it fits in, and we can just grab all of our points and slide them like we did before. Now let's see what that looks like. All right. That looks great. One other thing I want to do is animate the eyebrows. What we're going to do is go to our left and right eyebrow, make sure our position tool is selected, grab them, and move them down here to begin with, so now he's looking up. That's simple. Now that we've got ourselves moving, we can start putting the two halves of our sequence together. 10. Bringing Everything Together: Now with our type and character animated separately, it's time to bring them together in one composition. What we're going to do is go to our "Project" window, right-click, and make a "New Composition". This one we're going to call Main, and you can keep all the same settings. Then what we're going to do, is we're going to just take text, and we're going to just drag that composition into this composition, and then we're also going to bring in the Me composition. We're going to fit these two together. Now, let's see where we want to be revealed. It should happen once it gets to about halfway through the words. Let's say, about there is a good place to start, so we're going to drag Me, put us there. Next, we're going to take the bar from our text composition, and we're going to copy it for our main composition. We can look here, see our bar controller and bar, we're going to Shift select both of those and hit Command C for copying, and then we're going to go to Main, and Command V to paste, bring them both to the top. You'll see that they perfectly line up with the bars from our text animation. Now, what we could even do is go back to our text animation and hide these because they don't matter, go back to our main composition, and the bar is still there. Now, we need to add our name. Let's right-click and add a new text layer. We'll type our name, scale them up to begin with. You can see I'm using two whites now, so I'm going to actually change this to this white, so it's exactly the same. I'm going to Shift D to duplicate, bring that down, open the text control, and change this to George, write my last name. Now, let's organize these. I think they should both be around the same size. Let's grab Me, scale him down. I'm just going to fiddle around with the scales and proportioning of these til it feels right. We can also do is trim by name to start the same time as Me does. We can drag these underneath the bar and Null Object. Now, we have to mask us in our name to appear when the bar goes up. The way we're going to do that, is we're going to create a "New", "Shape Layer", and we're going to make it a rectangle, start it halfway through the bar, and make it go all the way up. It can be whatever color, it doesn't matter. Then we're going to parent this "New", "Shape Layer", let's call it Mask. We are going to parent that to the bar. Then we are going to duplicate this mask layer two times, and make sure one of each of them is above our first name, our Me comp, and our last name as well. The other way to mask out elements, besides the way we already discussed, is to create Track Mattes. On each of your layers, you should see a small drop down menu under Track Matte. If you don't, make sure that this center icon in the bottom left of your screen is highlighted. Here, you have five options. You can ignore these bottom two. When you select Alpha Matte, the software automatically hides the layer above and uses its alpha channel, which is essentially wherever there are pixels, as a mask. That's why we duplicated the layer three times above each layer we need hidden. Now, if we set each of those layers to Alpha Mattes, you'll see that they're all being revealed by the shape above them. Set George to "Alpha Matte", boom. Now, those things don't exist until the bar pass them. Great. If you go to five seconds, hit N in our keyboard, and preview this, we see what we have so far. Fantastic. Look at that, great. Now, the last two things we want to do, is we want to add a little bit more intrigue, we're going to have my name. Hold Command and select our name and our drawing file, and we're going to hit P on the keyboard for position. We're going to make a keyframe, slide that back a little bit, and move all of these objects down. We're going to select this and turn these into "Easy Ease", open our graph, do our traditional pop in. We're going to play it back and see what we got. Look at that. Just to make it a little bit more interesting, we can stagger it, so the Chris comes on first. How about I come on first, and then my first, and then my last one? See what that looks like? Okay, nice. Let's make George come in a little faster. Just like that, we are almost done, just a couple more things we have to do, one of which will be a global scale, and then we're going to make it loop, and then we're done. We're going to go to the beginning of our main composition and make yet another null, and we're going to rename this one Global. Then what we're going to do is anything that doesn't have a parent is going to be parented to Global. Bar Controller does not have a parent, it will be parented. George, Chris, our Me comp and text also do not have parents, so they will all go to Global. Now we have something we can change to modify the entire composition. What we are going to start with, go back to 100. What I want to do is I want to zoom in when the bar transitions down to reveal my name. What we're going to do is start right around here, let's add a scale keyframe. We're going to scale keyframe for when to start, and then we're going to move ahead. Then this is where we really want it to be full sized, so let's see how big we want it to go. That looks good to me. I'm going to open this to make sure we're evenly spaced on both sides, it looks good. Let's see what that looks like. We want it to be fastest in the transition here, so I'm going to select both of these keyframes, turn them to "Easy Ease" like normal. Then I'm going to pull the handles, pull both left and right handles in to create a very snappy motion in the middle, play it back, let's see what we got. It's not exactly timed how I want, so I'm thinking it comes on a little too early. It's maybe a little too fast in the middle, so let's move this to here. Then let's ease this. It's a little bit snappier right at the beginning; really slower at the beginning, and snappier at the end rather. Let's just play this back, see what we got. This is a little too fast, a little too snappy, so I'm going to just slow it down and make that peak a little less steep. There we go. Boom, boom, boom, that's an animation right there. We're very close to having a finished animation. All we need to do is set a few keyframes to make it loop, maybe tweak a couple style options, and we're all set. 11. Polishing Your Animation: [MUSIC] We have a pretty great looking animation. But just to make it perfect for a social media post, let's make it loop. There are a million ways to make it loop basically all it means that you need to go back to the original frame, which for us is nothing. All we have to do is animate this off. We're going to do this very quickly and easily with our bar controller. We're going to hold on our end to about there and then once it reaches here, I'm going to create a new keyframe, two new keyframes actually. I'm going to also do scale. I'm going to hit you on my keyboard so I can see both attributes that I've keyframed and I'm going to move the head a little bit and I am going to position all the way up and then scale to zero. I'm going move the scale over, give it some ease, and just like that, we've got a looping animation. But watching it back, I think it would look a lot better if we scale our global controller back down before everything animates off. To do that, I will go to the end of our animation and set our global null back to 100. Then modify the speed graph a bit to make the transition smooth. Just like that, we are almost done. Just a couple of more finishing touches to put on this and then a couple bonus rounds if you're feeling up to pizzazzing your animation up the extra mile. Firstly, you can see that our character animation is getting a little cut off here. The majority of our move is not being seen because the character is being revealed at the same time. What I want to do here is go into our me animation. Click all of our body parts and hit U on the keyboard to reveal their keyframes and then simply select all these keyframes and drag them out a little bit. So there's some buffer time with no animation beforehand and then grab the last keyframes and just stretch those out a couple of keyframes. Now, if we go back to main, you can see that our character is being revealed later, almost too late though. We want him to be getting revealed at this point. Let's double-click in here and you can see it's a little too late, so we're going to move that up two keyframes, go back to main and let's see how it looks. Here we go. We're going to add just a little secondary facial animation. Click in right here. At this point, we want his mouth just get a little wider of a smile. What we're going to do is we're going to animate the path. We're going to toggle down and go to contents. Shape one, path one, and click that stopwatch. We are going to move the head a little bit and then select just the path and then you can grab these handles and modify them yourself and that will turn into a big dopey smile so we go. Big dopey smile, and right click. Just turn these into some easy ease keyframes and let's see what that looks like. It's a little weird. A little too slow, it should be happening much earlier. Let's go here. I don't love the mouth shape at the end, but let's make this a fast one. Way too fast. Let's go back to our guy. Get that graph editor out. Let's ease this in and let's see what that looks like. But really quick, I'm just going to change the mouth shape one last time. It's a little goofy looking. Let's move it like that. Let's move it up like that. [inaudible] Go back to main, center it. Let's watch it back. Way too abrupt. Let's go back here. Let's spread that out wide and we'll go back and see if it works. There we go. Perfect. Even bonus points, then we can go back and make this typography a little bit more dynamic. It's all just the same white type, it's a little boring. I'm going to jump back into our text layer here and let's change design here. Let's change that to just black design and animation will be white and then illustration. How about we go into illustration? We select all of these and we flip this to outline. We're just going to go to the very end here and change Chris to outline. We're going to make sure Chris is below me and there we go. I'm actually going to go back. I'm going to switch these back around. I'm going to make design white. Let's make animation black and see what that looks like. Just simple. Yeah, that's nice, cool. Let's go to main and see what it looks like. Great. One last thing we want to do here actually, we want to make our name and character disappear behind this line a little bit faster just so this line isn't coming up and cutting off the eyes. What we're going to do is we'll just go to where this starts, right where the bar starts to come up and we will just make position keyframes for our first and last names as well as our characters and we'll just move head a little bit. Let's say around there. Select all three, move all three down a bit, and then make sure that these, instead of spiking on the left side, we want to have them ease off. Let's do that and we will play back to see what that looks like. There we go. It's beautiful. All that's left to do is export and share with the world. 12. Exporting and Final Thoughts: Let's quickly run through what we have to do to get this animation exported as a video file, that we can actually share. Now that we've got our composition looped up all nice, our work area is what we are going to be exporting. Once it's trimmed up exactly where we like it, we can save and hit File, Export, Add to Render Queue. We can ignore Best Settings is great, we're going to click on Output Module. We can jump down into quick-time and here we're going to go into Format Options. Here's where we choose our video code. I like all of the apple pro-res versions are great so for now I'm just going to do 422 hit Okay, and then I'll put two we can select our folder. My name is and we click Render. There it goes. That noise means our export and this project is done, all ready. Congratulations, your project is complete and I'm sure it looks amazing. I urge you to post it below or if you post online, please feel free to tag me in it. I would really love to see what you guys made. There's a million ways you could've spent your time and the fact that you decided to learn a new skill is really awesome. Congratulations for that. I hope that we've developed enough of the foundation that you can watch other tutorials, and learn more about After Effects. That's it for me if you want to see more of what I've got going on in my life, you can follow me on Instagram, or on YouTube. I'll be sure to post more there and yeah, have a good one. Congratulations again.