Animate Your Illustrations with After Effects | Manon Louart | Skillshare

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Animate Your Illustrations with After Effects

teacher avatar Manon Louart, Motion Designer and Illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

12 Lessons (50m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Project

    • 3. Preparing Your File in Photoshop

    • 4. Getting Started in After Effects

    • 5. Animating with the CC Bend It Effect

    • 6. Looping and Refining Your Animation

    • 7. Animating with Expressions

    • 8. Adding Animated Textures

    • 9. Animating with the Wave Warp Effect

    • 10. Final Touches

    • 11. Exporting

    • 12. Conclusion

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About This Class


Learn how to animate your illustrations for social media using After Effects!

This class is great for illustrators who want to dip their toes in animation but don’t want to fully commit to an extensive frame by frame process.
You’ll learn how to animate your illustrations for instagram, from organizing your layers with animation in mind in Photoshop, all the way to exporting it in video and GIF format.

Whether you’re already familiar with After Effects or you’re an illustrator looking to add a little something special to your next post, this class is for you! I’ll go step by step through my entire process, sharing my tips and tricks along the way!

Techniques you’ll learn:

  • How to animate plants, hair, clothes, and more
  • How to animate textures and apply them to objects
  • How to generate animations using expressions
  • How to loop seamlessly your animation
  • How to give your animation the “hand drawn” look

I hope you come out of this class thinking that the world of After Effects isn’t such a scary place after all!


Meet Your Teacher

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Manon Louart

Motion Designer and Illustrator

Top Teacher

My name is Manon Louart.
I'm a french Motion Designer and Illustrator.

In my professional work, I've collaborated mainly as an Illustrator and Motion Designer with talented Graphic Designers and Studios, on projects for: Converse, Instagram, Adidas, Adobe...and more!

My personal work centers around meditative and relaxing animated illustrations, often featuring in one way or another some plant from my collection. It is a creative process that I deeply enjoy, and that provides a sometimes much needed break from the fast paced freelancing world.



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1. Introduction: If you're an illustrator, I think animation is a great addition to your social media feed because it allows you to expand on your narration, set a mood, and even add humor to your work. Hi, I'm Manon Louart. I'm a French graphic designer, motion designer and illustrator based in Bordeaux. In this class I'll be showing you how to animate your illustrations using After Effects. I have a degree in graphic design, not animation. I stumbled around in After Effects on my own until I figured out a few things. I really want to show you that animation can be for everyone and that you don't have to spend hours during a walk cycle frame-by-frame to come up with something fun and animate it. In this class you'll learn how to go from this to this using a few of my favorite techniques including expressions, distortion effects, animated textures, and how to give your animation that hand-drawn look. I'll be going over my entire process with you from preparing your file in Photoshop to exporting in two different ways. 2. The Project: For this project, I want you to illustrate the character of your choice with a firm background and then we're going to animate it using the CC Bend It Effect, Expressions, the Wave Warp Effect, and animate the textures using alpha mattes. I've also prepared an After Effect's project that will be available in the class resources. It contains four short exercises that cover the different applications of the techniques we'll be using, so you can follow along with that. If you don't want to commit to making a full illustration, I have animated a reference composition for each of them, but you don't have to follow it to the letter. Feel free to make them your own. 3. Preparing Your File in Photoshop: First, I'm going to open my file in Photoshop and make sure that everything is looking good, and then I'll export it for animation. Here is what my illustration is looking like at the moment in Photoshop. I have these two layers that are hidden away at the moment because I'll be using them as clipping masks, but only once I'm in after effects, so I don't need them at the moment. Then I have all my hair layers, the plants, the clothes. Now, the first thing you want to do in Photoshop is actually plan ahead, so that it makes your life his year once you're in After Effects. You want to make sure that all the layers you want animated are separated. For example, all of my plants are on separate layers and same thing for my hair. I have those three main pieces and then those smaller hair strands on separate layers. The only different thing for the abstract shapes is that they're all on the same layer, but that's because I'll actually be re-creating them directly into After Effects. This is just some reference guide for me later on. The second thing I want to make sure of is that for the layers I want animated, I actually have enough wiggle room to animate them. For example, this layer right here actually goes down further than just this line of the clothes, so that when it moves around, I actually have something showing through. I think everything is looking good. I'm going to go ahead and start merging the layers that are not going to be animated. For example, I have the face feature and the face. I can merge those by pressing Command E. I'm going to do the same for all the layers that are going to stay still. For example, this clothe group, I can just merge together, and merge it with the neck. I think that's pretty much it. Now we can actually resize it by pressing Command Option I. I actually want this to be in pixels. I want this to be 180 by 180, and the resolution set at 72. The reason for this is that, it's basically the standard for Instagram, and I actually don't want my file to be too heavy because then it's just going to be a hustled to inmate. Let's press "Okay". Now I can just save it as a new file by pressing Shift + Command + S.I'll name it animation. Save, and that's it. 4. Getting Started in After Effects: Now that my illustration is the right size, all of my layers are organized with animation in mind. I can open After Effects and import my file. So if this is your first time using After Effects, here is what it looks like, I'll click "New Project" and I've actually reset my workspace to default, so, it should look pretty much the same to you. So I'll go grab my illustration and drag it into my project tab. I actually wanted to import as a composition with editable layer styles, because otherwise it will be imported as a flat image and I won't be able to animate it, so, press "Okay". This has created a new composition, so, double-click on it, and here is your illustration. Once they're imported it into After Effects, all of your layers are given these very basic properties. So you have the position, the scale, the rotation, the opacity, and the anchor point. Then at the top you'll find some tools like the hand, which allows you to grab your preview and move it around the zone like this. The rotation tool and the anchor point tool, which allows you to grab the anchor point of a layer and move it around like this. So if you've never animated anything in After Effects, I'll very quickly show you how it works with a shape layer. I'll draw a circle right here, and let's say I want to animate its position, I'll press "P" at a keyframe, then I'll go to one second in my timeline and move it this way, and it has added a keyframe on its own, and what it did is created the movement in between those two keyframes. This is the very simplest way how animation works in After Effects, you create keyframes and then the software works on its own to calculate what's going to happen in between those two keyframes. If I wanted to make it go down like this, I can actually do that and it will add a new keyframe. So let's delete that and go back to our layers. One thing I like to do is actually color-code them because, I find it makes my life easier when I'm looking for something, so, we're going to do that. I like to start with the things that are going to stay still. So for example, the background, the cloth, the face, and the hair clips. I can just click here and select this gray color, and then I'll just make all the hair the same color too, let's say this blue, and finally, all of my plants are going to be green. These two can be pink and this can be red. Then what you can do is press "Command K", go check on your composition settings. Everything should be good here, but I'm just showing you what it looks like. So the frame rate is 24 frames per second and the duration is ten seconds, which is what I want. So great. Lastly, you want to make sure that your file is actually saved up somewhere. So press "Command S", I'll name it animation and press "Save". Okay. I'm happy with everything. So let's start animating. 5. Animating with the CC Bend It Effect: First I'm going to animate the plants and the hair and I would usually go for the puppet tool to do that, especially with more complex animations but here I actually want to keep things short and sweet. We're going to use an effect called CC Bend it. The CC Bend it Effect allows you to bend a layer in between two anchor points and here we're going to use it to animate the plants and the hair. The first thing I'm going to do is select all of my plant layers and then I'll take the solo box to make things a bit easier to see. Then I'm actually going to start by admitting this layer right here. I'll go to Effects, Distort, and CC Bend it. Now, don't panic here layer has probably disappeared and that's because the two anchor points are not properly placed yet. Let's fix that. This one is my endpoint, I know that because when I move it around, it changes the values right here and I want to place it somewhere near the top of my plants, right here and then I'm going to do the same for the start point and place it at the bottom. Now you can go to your layer. Open it, go to Effects CC Bend it and I'm going to go to one second in my timeline and I'm going to use the Bend to animate. Place your first keyframe by clicking the stopwatch and input a number, let's say four now as you can see, it made the plant move. I could go all the way like this or like this, but I actually want to keep my movement quite saddle. Next, I'll go to two seconds on my timeline and input minus four. Then I can grab my first keyframe, copy it by pressing command C, go to three seconds, and paste it. Now you can go back and press the space bar and voila, your plant is moving. Let me just use this work caveat to show you what it would look like on a loop. Here it is. It's a very simple animation that I'm going to be using on pretty much everything. Mine is two seconds long. You could make yours as long or as short as you want, but its length in number of frames has to be either a divisor or a multiple of 24 because 24 frames per second is our frame rates and otherwise it won't loop properly. Now I'm going to go apply the exact same process to the rest of my plants and I'll meet you back in a moment. [MUSIC]. Here is what my animation is looking like at the moment. I've gone ahead and copied my effect from my first layer, then I applied it to the rest of the layers and then I adjusted the start and endpoints for each of them. Now I'm going to select all of my plant layers by pressing, Shift, and unchecked the solo box. Here is what it looks like with the rest of my layers. Now, I'm going to animate the hair using this same method. I'll show you with one layer then do the rest, come back and show you what it looks like. I'll show you with this layer of the hair right here. I'll go to Effects and at CC Bend it, the only thing that's going to be different from the plants is that we are actually going to invert the start and endpoints because I want this bottom part of the hair to move and not the top. I'll grab my endpoint and place it down somewhere around here, and then the start point and place it on top of the hair. Same thing, I'm going to place my keyframes and this time actually you want to start with a negative number because we inverted the start and endpoints, but I still want my hair to move in the same direction as the plants. I'll input minus four, then go to two-second input four, then copy my first keyframe, go to three seconds and paste it and here you go, now this part of the hair is moving with the plants.[MUSIC]. Here is what the full animation looks like, as you can see, I animated these parts of the hair, but I actually left out those two layers and that's because I'll be animating them later on using another effect because I don't want them to move as much. Now all of my hair and my plants have their very basic core animation. We can move on to the next step.[MUSIC]. 6. Looping and Refining Your Animation: We've created our base animation, but it only lasts a few seconds and it's not looking very realistic yet, so let's see what we can do to take it to the next level. An expression is a piece of code that you can apply to your layers' properties to influence them. Here, I've used it to tell the layer on the right to bounce at the end of its animation. Right now we're going to use a loop expression to tell this animation to loop in and out. There are actually different types, but this is the one I'm going to use today. You can go to the class resources to copy and paste it. For me, I've got it right here. Let's go back. You want to click on the stopwatch while holding Option, and paste your expression. Now, if I press the space bar and play the animation, you will see that this plant is still moving on its own. If we reach the 10-second mark, it loops perfectly in. Now, I want to paste that expression onto the rest of my layers, but I don't want to spend my time scrolling on my layers, so you want to select all of your Bend properties, and press U to hide the rest away. Now, go back to your first Bend selected only, go to Copy Expression Only, reselect the rest of your Bend properties, and paste your expression by pressing command-v. Now if you preview the animation, you will see that all of your elements are moving on loop. Now that everything loops perfectly, let's make it more organic. Let's say this is our animation, it's nice, but it's not looking very natural yet, there are two things that you can do to improve that. The first is to offset the effects keyframes of each layer on your timeline to create a more progressive movement, and the second is to slightly change the value of some of the keyframes to have your elements move more independently. There are really no rules for this. You should just mess around a bit with your layers until it looks good. I'm going to go do just that for my hair and my plants, and then I'll come back in a bit and show you what it looks like. Here is what my animation is looking like at the moment. I've gone ahead and loaded a full resolution preview by pressing the shift plus space bar. As you can see, the plant movement starts with this one and then it progressively goes all the way to here and this piece of hair now moves slightly before this one. If we zoom in on our timeline, as you can see, the plants now move more gradually. I've offset all of the different animations. Same thing for the hair, this part now moves a couple of frames before this part, as you can see right here in between these two. I've also changed the values. For example, this plant right here now starts at 8 and it also ends at 8, that's important. In the middle it's minus 6. All of that makes a pretty noticeable difference in the animation, and that's what we want. One thing to note is that right now the animation is looking stiff especially when reaching the end and beginning keyframes, but don't worry, we're going to fix that in just a moment. Just to recap, you can move around your groups of keyframes by selecting them, moving your indicator to where you want the first one to be on your timeline, and then moving them around while holding shift so that it snaps to your indicator. Then you can change their values by grabbing your indicator, going to one of them, and then changing the value right here. Lastly, if you want to be really precise with your indicator, you can actually move around your timeline by pressing command and the arrow keys so that you can move forward and backwards by one frame only. Once you're happy with the general movement of your animation, you can move on to easing it. When you ease the speed of an object in After Effects, you're essentially changing the speed at which it approaches and leaves keyframes. Right now we're going to use easy ease, which will make it slow down when approaching and gradually accelerate when leaving. You're going to drag your mass across all of your keyframes then right-click on one of them, go to keyframe assistant and easy ease. Here is the animation now, I think it looks way better. You could actually adjust the speed of the easing by selecting your keyframes and then going to the Graph Editor right here, and just pulling on those handles. But I'm actually pretty happy with the default settings, so I'm just going to move on to the next step. If you're not animating your own illustration or just want to practice before hand, you can pause here and go apply what you've learned so far on the plants in Exercises 1 and 2. I've included a reference composition for each of them so you can use it as a guide. But do try to figure things out on your own. 7. Animating with Expressions: In this section, we're going to generate some automatic animations using an expression and a shape layer. Here we're going to recreate each of our shapes on the shape layer so that they can be animated using an expression. Let's zoom in a bit by pressing Z. Then you can press H to move around your preview. Then go to layer, new, shape layer. Within the shape layer you can press Q to change the type of shape you want to create. Let's go here, drag and recreate this one. If you want to, you could also change the fill or the type and color of stroke. Now to recreate the triangle, I'm going to use the pen tool like this. Now I'm going to do the rest. Now to adjust things a bit, I can double click on this, rotate it and move it a bit for this one too. Now there is one important thing. As I've said, we want to animate each of the shapes independently and we want to make them rotate. For the ellipses, their anchor point is already centered. But if you create a shape with the pen tool like this, the anchor point might be somewhere else. You want to just make sure of that. Here I've selected this one and as you can see, the anchor point is right here. I actually make this yellow so that you can see there. Right here. You want to press Y, grab it and bring it back somewhere in the middle. I'm going to do that for the other triangle. Let's zoom out. I'm going to delete my reference there and then we can start animating. In this section, we're going to use this wonderful little expression that randomizes a chosen property on a loop and it looks like this. Now I know it looks scary, scarier than the one we've used before. But don't worry, you don't actually have to understand it. In fact, I don't really either. All I know, is that illustrated by Dan Ebberts. Quick tangent. But you may be wondering who this mysterious man is. When it comes to expressions, Dan is the man. If like me, you ever end up going to Google with a question about expressions, there's 99 percent chance that Dan will already have incident on some forum back in 2009. I'm not kidding, he's everywhere. Thank you Dan for your expression knowledge and allowing me to look way smarter than I actually am. I'll leave his website in the resources section. Please go check it out, it's a great source of information. Anyway, back to our expression, the only things that we're going to concern ourselves with are the frequency. The number of wiggles per second, the amplitude of the wiggle in pixel and the loop time, which will be the length of the cycle. When you have a shape layer, it has these properties just like any other layer. But if you go into one of your shapes, you will find that each of the shapes has their own properties so that they can be animated independently. That's what we're going to use now. We're going to animate the position of each of them and their rotation. I'll go ahead and grab my expression right here, same thing as before. It's in the class resources, let's go back. Click rotation and click the stopwatch while holding option and paste our expression. I'll load the preview just so that you can see what the default settings looks like. As you can see, it's moving quite a bit and I wanted to move less. Also the cycle is not looping properly, so we're going to fix that. First, I want the frequency to be slower, so I'm going to change it to 0.5. Then I'll change the amplitude to maybe, I don't know 30 and the loop time to 10 so that it matches our 10 seconds composition. Let's preview now. Much better. I will quickly grab that expression, copy and paste it to the position. I'll actually change the amplitude to maybe 20 because I don't want it to move around too much. Let's preview. Now it's really simple. You just select your position and rotation, copy expression only. Select the rest of your shapes and paste. Here is what our shapes look like. Now, you could obviously try to play around a bit more with each of the parameters. You could also apply the expression to the scale or the opacity. Tried to play around, I've actually used this expression to do so many different things. Don't limit yourself to what I've done with it here. I'm pretty happy with the animation as is. Let's move on. If you're working on the exercise project right now, you can go ahead and apply this to the shapes in exercises one and two using my reference compositions as a guide and you'll be done with your two first animations. 8. Adding Animated Textures: Now it's time to animate our two textures, and we're going to start with the easiest one, which is the light traveling across the eclipse. For that, we're going to turn that layer into an alpha track matte. A track matte is an invisible layer that is used to control the opacity of the layer directly beneath it. It's pretty similar in principle to clipping mattes in Photoshop. There are four different types. The alphas will show you a layer using the opacity of the matte and the Lumas will show you a layer using the lightness of your matte. Let's bring back our light layer. I am going to pre-compose it with a solid that will be the same color as the hair clips. So a pre-composition in After Effects will act pretty much the same way as a Smart Object in Photoshop in which that it will be a singular layer in this composition. But if you double-click on it, you can actually open it up, go into it, and edit things around. So it's pretty useful if you want to animate a group of layers. So I'm going to create a new solid by pressing command y, I want it to be the same color as my hair clips. Let's press "OK" and then I can bring it underneath my light layer. Then select the two layers, right-click, go to pre-compose and I'm going to name it, "Light princomp." So this is now a clickable composition so you can go into it and change things. So let's go back to our main comp. I'm going to bring it underneath, the hair clips and then go to Track Matte, Alpha Matte. Now the light is showing on the hair clips. I want to animate its position. So let's press P to bring out the position property add a keyframe. Then I want to grab my Precomp and drag it to the left so that the light is not showing through anymore. Then I want to go to one seconds, grab it and bring it to the right. Now, go to the very next frame by pressing command and the right arrow key right here. Grab this keyframe and copy and paste it so this will make my pre-composition instantaneously go back to its first position. I don't want this animation to actually happen too often. So I'm going to go to maybe four seconds, paste that keyframe. So basically our animation loop is now this layer going from left to right, then nothing for three seconds, and then it's going to start over. So let's go grab our loop expression again, copy and paste it to the position. Last thing, let's ease the animation by going to Keyframe Assistant, Easy Ease and you're done. So here is what the animation looks like, it's pretty simple, but I think it adds a nice touch. You could also try to do something with the rotation of a texture on a group. I've done that before. I think it also looks nice. So now we can move on to the stars and the hair and it's going to be a little more complex, but I really like the effects it gives. Now I want to do same thing for the stars so I'll bring it back out, creating new solid with the color of the hair. Then bring it underneath the stars layer, select both of them and pre-compose and I will call it "Stars Pricomp". Double-click on it, and now we're inside. So I want to animate the opacity of the stars, and I'm going to use a track Matte for that too. But it's going to be a Luma this time. So I'll copy and paste my solid. Bring it up, then go to effects and I'm going to go to the Noise and Grain and add Fractal noise. Now these black and white areas are going to be used to define what stars are going to be showing through. You can play around with the parameters, but my personal recipe looks something like this. So Dynamic Twist for the Fractal type, for the Noise type, spline, I'll raise the contrast to 350, the brightness to 20, and the scale to 40. Then bring the complexity down to one and then you can go play around in the evolution options. So like this, I think I'm going to settle for, I don't know, 200, 30. So here is what it looks like now. Now we can start animating. So open your layer, go to effects and we're going to use the evolution to do that. So place a first keyframe on your timeline, then you want to go to the very end and I think I wanted to make four cycles of evolution. You want to use full cycles so that it loops properly. Then make sure that you go to the evolution option and make this a Cycle evolution. Now if I preview it, it's moving around and it's doing so in a cycle. So it's looping at the end of the 10 seconds. So I can stop the preview. Then close my layer and I want the stars to show through the black spots. So I'm going to choose the Luma Inverted for that and here you go. Here is the preview. So now the animation of the opacity is done. You could obviously come up with your own parameters for this. Maybe change the brightness, the contrasts, the scale. You can also change the number of cycles so that the evolution is quicker or slower. I'm good with this so let's go back to our main composition. Now you want to bring your layer underneath one of the hair layers and select "Alpha Matte". Then you want to duplicate your styles layer and do the exact same thing with all of your hair layers. Then you want to make sure to hide all of your hair layers so that only the stars are showing like this. So here is your second animated texture. I think it looks great. If you're working on the exercise projects, you can now go apply what you've learned here on this theme coming out of the coffee cup in Exercise 3. So it's the exact same thing as these stars. Then in Exercise 4, you can do the light reflection on the glass, which is the same principle as the hair clips. 9. Animating with the Wave Warp Effect: So this section is about the extra step that you can take to make your mission look more fluid by using an effect called Wave Warp. So the wave warp effect produces the appearance of a wave traveling across your image. Here I'm going to apply it to the hair. I'll start with this section of hair right here. So go to "Effects", "Distort" and "Wave Warp". It's looking a bit weird at the moment. The first thing I want to fix is the direction. So I wanted it to look like the wind is coming from here. Let's grab the direction and move it to somewhere around here. May be 225, and then I want the height to be the same, but I want the width to be bigger. So maybe 200, and 30, maybe. Then let's change the speed to 0.5, and if you choose something different, just make sure that it works for your ten seconds loop because it might not. Then if you want, you can change the face. I usually just grab it and move it around until it looks good. Here is a preview. Now the next step is to go apply the effect to the rest of your layers while slightly changing the parameters each time. So I'm going to show you how to do that with this layer and then I'll go ahead and do the rest. All right, so grab your effect and then copy and paste it to your other layer. Then there are two things that we can change, the direction and the face. First let's change the direction maybe by ten degrees because I guess it's on top of the head, so maybe the wind would not be hitting it exactly the same way. Then for the face maybe it's starting to move a bit before, so change it to minus 60. Yeah, somewhere around here. I'm pretty happy with it, so I'll just move on and do the rest. Okay, so here it is. I'm done and I'm pretty happy with the results. Obviously, if you're working on your own animation, the parameters are going to be very different. But if you want to, I can show you what my layers look like here, and you can pause and take a look around. As a last step, I want to apply the same effect to my ship layer and also the inside of my stars pre-comp, so that everything looks more cohesive. Let's grab the effect from one of the layers, then go to the shape layer, paste it, then get inside the stars, pre-comp and do the same on the stars layer. Now let's go back to the main composition and preview. Here it is, we're done. We're actually done with the animation parts, so congrats. Now that you've learned how to use the wave warp effect, you can go to exercise three and apply it to the steam and in exercise four, or you can use it to animate the water as well as the bottom part of the straw and you'll be done with all of your exercises. The only thing left will be to apply the hand-drawn effects if you want to. 10. Final Touches: We're about 90 percent done with our animation. Let's congratulate ourselves, and at the final touches. We're going to add an adjustment layer by pressing Command Option Y, and whatever you add onto that layer will in-turn affect any layers placed underneath it. First, we're going to add a turbulent displace effect. The turbulent displace effect uses fractal noise, like we've used for the stars, but to create distortions in an image, and that's what we're going to use to create the hand-drawn look. Let's go to Effect, Distort, and Turbulent Displace. It's looking really fun. Same thing as for the fractal noise, everyone has their own recipe, mine looks something like this, for the amount 20, two for the size, much better already, and for the complexity, 10. We're actually going to use an expression one last time in the evolution options, and the random seed. Click on the Stopwatch while holding option, and type in time 12. Basically, it's going to tell the effect to randomly change the distortion 12 times per second. Let's preview it. Here it is. As you can see, it's adding a fine texture to all of my edges, and it's already making it look more hand-drawn. What I like to do is actually duplicate the effect, and change the amount to something smaller, but the size to something bigger, so that we also have some bigger distortion. Let's duplicate the effect. I want to change the amount to five and the size to 12, and the last step, and this is optional, is to add a posterize time effect. Go to Effect, Time, Posterize Time, and you want to change your frame rate to 12. It makes the animation more jumpy or staggered, I guess, but it gets it closer to that hand-drawn look that we're going for. I'll go load a [inaudible] preview, and then we can do it before and after. If you like the effect and want to apply it to your exercise animations, you can go ahead and do that. In the reference compositions, I've brought down the frame rate to six, on the posterize time effect, to show you the difference. I've used slightly different parameters on the turbulent displace effects. Feel free to experiment with that. 11. Exporting: We're finally done with our animation. I hope you're happy with yours and all that's left to do is to export it. This section is going to be extra short, I promise, because there are a lot of different possibilities for exporting videos but I decided that I was going to skip the part where I pretend to understand all of them. We're going to use Adobe Media Encoder to export as a MP4 and then I'll show you this needle plug-in that allows you to export as a GIF directly into After Effects. We're going to add our composition to the Adobe Media Encoder render queue, which you should also have if you've downloaded After Effects. You can go here to do that but if you want the shortcut, it's Option + Command +N then you can change the format right here. If yours is not already set on H.264, you can find it in this list. You really don't need to change anything else in here. So let's close this panel. Then you want to choose your output. I want it here, Save, and then all you need to do is press the green arrow. We're using H.264 here because it's a video compression standard that will give you an MP4 which is usually a small file and it's T-1 most commonly used for web exports. That'll be perfect for social media. Let's go find our file. It should be right here. As you can see, the size is on the smaller end of the spectrum, so that's great. Let's open it and here you have it. Your beautiful animation is ready to be shared. Let's close this and go back to After Effects. If you wanted to export as a GIF, you could bring your MP4 into Photoshop and re-export it, but I find the process to be a bit tedious. That's why I use a plugin that's called GifGun. I think it's around $30. So if you ever decide to use After Effects on a more regular basis, that could be a good investment. I'll go to Window and open GifGun. Then I can check on the parameters right here. First, I want to make sure that my output is where it should be, which is good. Then I usually resize to 800. I usually keep the frame rate as my composition. You could set your max colors to 256. If the GIF ends up being too heavy, you could switch back down to 128, especially if you're working with pretty flat colors like me here, 128 does work. Then you want to make sure that it's a loop and then you can export. Here is my GIF. If you've completed the exercises, please do export them too and post them to the student project section because I really want to see what you came up with. 12. Conclusion: So I hope you enjoyed this class and I hope that you had fun. If you did, please let me know because this is my first ever class, so I can only improve from here. If this was your first dive into after effects, I hope it gave you some confidence and show you that with just a few simple effects, you can really bring something more to your creation. Before I go, I just want to remind you that what I've covered in this class is only a fraction of what you can do with those effects, so please don't limit yourself. Try to explore and come up with something different because I'm sure that you can imagine something that I wouldn't have thought of. I can't wait to see what you create. If have any questions along the way leave them in the discussions here and I'll make sure to answer them. Okay. Thank you so much for following my class. Bye.