Traditional Animation: How to Animate Energy & Lightning Effects | Johannes Fast | Skillshare

Traditional Animation: How to Animate Energy & Lightning Effects

Johannes Fast, 2D Animator

Traditional Animation: How to Animate Energy & Lightning Effects

Johannes Fast, 2D Animator

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6 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Welcome!

      0:52
    • 2. Lightning Strike

      6:54
    • 3. Static

      6:04
    • 4. Energy Burst

      8:52
    • 5. Bonus! Stylizisation in After Effects

      3:42
    • 6. Thank you!

      0:46
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About This Class

Join me in this class covering how to animate lightning and energy style effects! 

In this class you'll learn how to animate a few lightning and energy style effects using a traditional animation workflow. We'll also look at how to stylize your effects using Adobe After Effects.

Who is this class for?

The class is aimed towards anyone wanting to learn a quick way to add lightning and energy style effects to their work. It's a great class for beginner animators looking to learn how to animate their first effects, or for more experienced animators looking to spice up their work. Even film editors can use these techniques to add cool effects to their live action work! 

By the end of this course, you'll know how to animate lightning and energy style effects and how to stylize them in After Effects

What you can expect to get out of this class:

  •  How to animate a lightning strike
  •  How to animate static electricity
  •  How to animate a energy burst
  •  How to stylize your effects using After Effects

Requirements: 

A digital animation program is required for the class, preferably Adobe Animate. You'll also need a form of digital drawing tablet. A mouse will work but it will make the process a lot harder. An iPad with an animation app also works great. 

Recommended apps and software:

  • Adobe Animate
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Rough animator (iPad)
  • Calipeg (iPad) 
  • Flipaclip (Apple/Android)
  • After Effects

Want to learn even more?

Check out some of my other classes below!

Meet Your Teacher

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Johannes Fast

2D Animator

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Hi! My name is Johannes Fast, I'm a traditional animator & motion designer working at the fantastic animation studio Giant Ant in Vancouver, Canada. I'm born and raised in Sweden and I started out my career in animation by attending a 2 year motion graphics program at a school called Hyper Island and at the same time I was taking online classes to learn how to animate traditionally. After school I spent roughly 18 months at different internships around the world, at companies like BRIKK, NERDO and Giant Ant.

During my career I've been grateful to have had the opportunity to work for many amazing clients like Disney, Warner, Studio Trigger, Cartoon Network, Riot Games and many more. 

Here on Skillshare my goals are... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Welcome! : Hi, my name is Johannes Fast. In this course, I'm going to teach you how to animate lightening and energy effects. Adding this kind of effects animation to your work is a simple way to take your animations to the next level. In this class, we're going to take a look at how to animate a lightening strike, how to animate static electricity, and how to animate an energy burst. In this class, I'll be working in Adobe Animate, but you can follow along in any traditional animation program you have. I'll also be giving you assignments during this class. So when you complete them, please share them into class project folder. I'd also love to see your work being shared on Instagram, and if you do please tag me in it using the tag Johanimation. Let's start animating. 2. Lightning Strike: Let's take a look at how to animate a lightning style effect. I've made a background layer here that is black so we can see this effect better. Then I'll be making this effect using white. When I animate things like lightning, I usually animate on ones. This is because lightning is such a fast and erratic effect that doing it on twos usually doesn't look right because it's too slow. I'm going to go forward here so we get a bit of a handle before that lightning strikes. I'm going to start drawing my first frame. I'm going to have the lightning coming in from the top here. When I draw my frames, I try to do them really lose and random. Then I like to go in and fill in some areas and make them bigger. Then we're going to add what you could call fingers to the lightning, these random trails going around the main shape. Here we've got our first drawing. Then I'm going to turn on my onion skinning and go to the next one. Lightning is a very fast effect. On the next frame here, I'm going to have it impact the ground immediately. We're going to keep the wave motion going here. But I'm adding some randomness to it. We're imagining the ground being around there. Then I'm going to go in and make this shape a bit more dynamic. This is our first two frames. Now there's a few things we can do to make this really feel like a lightning strike. This will be the frame with a lightning, it's the biggest. For the next frame here, I'm going to go in and fill this in completely white, like that. Now let's take a look at this. Now this wide frame is helping sell the idea of how bright this lightning strike is. Then I'm going to go ahead to the next fame here and make sure I can see where our lightning was. Now I'm going to start dissipating this. I'm still going to keep this wave motion going, so it'll will keep going this way and this way but I'm going to introduce some randomness to it. I'm going to break some parts up here. Okay, let's look at this. Another trick we can use now to really sell the fact that this is a lightning strike is to introduce blank frames in between the dissipating keys. What I'm going to do here is I'm going to add a few more frames, then I'm going to skip this frame here and go straight to the next frame. Here I'm going to keep on drawing in the lightning dissipating. I want the lightning to dissipate quite fast. In this dissipation, I'm introducing quite a lot of randomness here. The nice thing with animating lightning is that we can be quite random with how we draw our frames and is almost like the more random we are, the better this effect will work. But we of course don't want to overdo it, we want to stay roughly within arm shape here. Now for the next frame, I'm going to do the same. I'm going skip this frame here, and I'm going to go to the next one. Now I'm going to make this dissipate even faster here. Now I'm going do one last frame here, and I'm going do the same, so I'm skipping this frame and we're going to the next. This is what we have. Now we can try a more random style of lightning. To do that, I'm going to duplicate our layer here. I'm going to hide the layer we did. Then I'm going to tweak this frame here. I'm going to make this frame go the other way. I'm going to delete this one. Turn your onion skinning on. Then I'm going to make this one go this way. Then I'm going to do the same and make this drawing a bit more dynamic. Here we have an even more dynamic type of lightning. Your assignment is to make a lightning effect like this. When you're done with your assignment, please export it and publish it in the class projects so me and your fellow students can see it. 3. Static: Now, let's take a look at how to animate static electricity. I've just prepared a simple image here in Photoshop to animate the static on top of. Static behaves almost exactly the same as lightning, but we want it to snake around and linger a bit longer. I'm going to go a bit forward here, so we have a handle and I'm going to make my first frame here. I'm going to make this effect go around the text, like this. I'm going to go ahead and draw my first drawing here, and I'm going to make this one quite small. Same with the lightning, I want this a bit random and I want to introduce these fingers going around the main shape. Then I'm going to go ahead to the next frame and turn on my onion skinning. Like the lightning, we want this effect to be quite random. So I'm going to make my drawing here shoot forward and snake along the text here. You can play around and break the effect up at parts, like this. Just make sure that it looks good when you play it. Like the lightning, we can introduce these blank frames to get the strobing effect going. Make sure to keep looking at what you're making. Now, as the static is traveling along this text, I'm going to start dissipating the tail end. With my timing here, I'm going quite random, when I introduce a strobing and when I just animate one frame after the other. I'm keeping this snaking going here, so we're pushing like that. I'm drawing very loosely to make this feel organic. This is what we have. I'm going to keep going here and now I'm going to introduce another blank frame here and I'm going to keep going. I'm going to introduce these random little parts around the lightning here. Sometimes I'm following this main shape and sometimes I just add them randomly. I'm going to keep randomly adding these blank frames. Now, for the next frame here, I want to make this random and I want to make this big shape here go down. Then I'm just going to keep going in the same way and add this going around. Now, I'm going to make this one dissipate. I'm still randomly introducing blank frames here. I'm making some of these frames go invert that of what they were before. Here we have more of a static type electricity. To finish up this effect, I would go in at random points and add these little static sparks coming in and dissipating, and eventually, we would have something that looks like this. Here we have a mix of a few effects that last a bit longer and a few that are bits shorter. Now, your assignment is to make an effect like this, and once you're done, please upload it into the class project folder. 4. Energy Burst: For a less effect, we're going to make an energy burst similar to this. Let's start. I'm going to cut up this layer into a few single frames here. Then I'm going to draw my first frame. For this, I'm going to use the circle tool. I'm going to start this effect out as a ball. Then using the pencil tool, I'm going to add these little spikes, like this. Then I'm going to make another layer on top here where I'm going to add some static electricity. Here, I'm following the same principles as the last lesson. Then I'm going to go to our next frame here. Then I'll turn on my own skinning and grab that circle tool again. In the beginning, here, I'm going to make this little ball grow slowly and the spikes will slowly rotate around for maybe three frames and then it's going to quickly expand then explode. I'm making our circle a bit bigger. Then I'm going to make these spikes slowly go around here. I'm going to make this static travel around the orb. Then on our next frame here, I'm going to make this a little bit bigger. I'm going to keep adding my static. This is what we have this far. Now, for the next frame here, I'm going to add a blink. I'm going to grab the color of my energy burst and then I'm going to draw in this frame here, like that. I'm going to go to our next frame and I'm going to grab the circle tool, and I'm going to make sure that we can see our orb here, so we always keep the center point the same. Now, for this frame, I'm going to make this a lot bigger. Then I'm going to duplicate this circle and make it a bit smaller and move it to the side, like that. Then I'm going to fill it in. Now, I'm going to add those spikes. Now, I'm going to make them a lot bigger and they will travel a bit further now. I'm going to add my static. For this frame here, because we have the blink frame before, we can go completely random. This is what we have now. For the next one, I'm going to make the circle expand a lot faster. I'm going to duplicate it, scale it down, and now I'm making the edge overlap here. We're ending up with an opening here. Now I'm going to draw in these shapes here, getting even bigger, and traveling even further. I'm also going to start cutting out shapes in our main circle here. We can also cut into these shapes, like this. I'm just going to introduce some random old shapes around here. Then we can also add details in the circle like this. Then I'm going to add some static. This is what we have so far. Now, for the next frame here, I'm going to make my circles. But now I'm going to make this slow down here. I'm going to put this article a bit closer into the last one here. I'm also going to make it a bit thinner. I'm not going to scale this down as much, like that. Now, I'm going to add my last frame here with these big shapes shooting outwards. Here I'm making them leave the circle. I'm making them slow down too. Then I'm going to cut this circle up a bit. Now, I'm going to start dissipating our static here. Now, we can play around here. We could make this ease out even more or we could have the static stay on longer than the burst, or we could just skip the static altogether. There's so many different ways of making this kind of energy burst. It's just a matter of playing around and finding what you like. For the assignment, I want you to try to make an energy burst. When you're done, please upload your finished animation into the class project folder. 5. Bonus! Stylizisation in After Effects: Now as a bonus, I'm going to show you a quick way to stylize these effects to give them a glow using After Effects. I'm going to use this burst here. I want to export these as separate swifts. Before I do that, I want to make sure that my publish setting is set correctly. I want to make sure that this here is not checked. Otherwise, we will get everything on the same file. Now to export these as individual swifts, I'm going to go ahead and hide everything, and then I'm going to keep my background layer on. Then I'm going to start by exporting this. I go to File, Export movie. Then I'm going to name this BG. Then I'm going to do the next layer here. I'm hiding the background and showing this layer, and I'm doing the same export. Then I'm going to do the same for the static. Once we're in After Effects, we can grab all our layers and pull them into the product panel. Then I'm going to grab my background and drop it over this icon here. This creates a new composition. Then I'm going to put my energy burst in here, and same with the static. This is what we have. Now to stylize this, I'm just going to pause on a frame here where we can see our effect. Then I'm going to start by duplicating the energy burst layer. Then I'm going to open my effects and preset panel. I'm going to select my bottom energy burst here. In here I'm going to search for fast box blur and drag this and drop this on the layer like that. Then I'm just going to pull up the blur radius here. Now you can see that we're getting a glow effect. Then I'm going to duplicate my static layer, select the bottom one here and put the same effect on. Then I'm going to do the same and it'll slightly pull this up. Then you can play around with the blur radius here until you find something you like. If you find that the effect is too strong, you can just go in here, press "T" and pull down your opacity. This is what it looks like with our glow. Now that we have our glow, we can just go ahead and export this. To do that, you would go to Composition and add to render queue. Then in here, you would select your codec. Usually we go for a QuickTime. Then in format options, I'm going to choose Apple ProRes 422. This will give us a higher rest render. Then here we can select where we want to save this. Here we have our finished effect. 6. Thank you!: That's it for this class on how to animate lightning and energy effects. In this class, we've learned how to animate a lightning strike, static electricity, and energy bursts. I really hope you enjoyed this class. If you did, please leave a review and let me know what you think. If you haven't already, I'd recommend you to take a look at my class on the basics of animation, or one of my other effects classes, like my class on smoke, or how to animate fire. If you'd like to see more of my work, you can follow me on Instagram, under the handle 'johanimation'. Please go ahead and follow me here on Skillshare. This will make sure that you don't miss any of my upcoming classes. I really hope you enjoyed this class, and I'll see you in the next one.