Intro to Motion Graphics : Minimal Style Animation in After Effects | Hongshu Guo | Skillshare

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Intro to Motion Graphics : Minimal Style Animation in After Effects

teacher avatar Hongshu Guo, Motion Designer

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

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Animate Speed Line


    • 4.

      Finish Up Speed Line


    • 5.

      Add Depth To The Scene


    • 6.

      Travel Along Path


    • 7.

      Animate Motion Trail


    • 8.

      Animate Circle Ripple


    • 9.

      Animate Curved Line


    • 10.

      Stylize and Glow


    • 11.



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About This Class

Welcome to this Intro to Motion Graphics, Minimal Style Animation in After Effects class. If you're interested in the world of motion design and want to learn how animation works and how to animate a real project as a total beginner with 0 experience, this is the class for you! In this class I will show you a simple way to animate minimal style animation in After Effects. You'll learn everything you need to get started with animating your own video right away and tons of topics below to help you get started with this program the professional way and animate professionally in no time.

  • Trim Path Effects
  • Keyframe Animation
  • Simple animation principles
  • Working with graph editors
  • Working with Special Effects
  • Working on complex transition 
  • A variety of tools inside After Effects
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Workflow tips and tricks

And so much more! Once you've completed this course you'll be able to create similar animation in After Effects and feel confident to continue on your journey of to explore more in After Effects animation.

Join our Motion Circles Community, get together with other motion designers and learn together.

Also Check out my other classes:

Intro to Motion Graphics: Animating Illustration in After Effects

Intro to Motion Graphics: Logo and Icon Animation in After Effects

Simple Character Animation: Walk Cycle in AE with No Keyframes

Explainer Videos From Storyboard to Animation

Animation Principles In Motion Design: Secrets of Great Motion Graphics

Stop Motion In After Effects: Animate Collage Style Explainer Videos

Meet Your Teacher

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Hongshu Guo

Motion Designer

Top Teacher

Hey! My name is Hongshu Guo. I am a Motion Graphics instructor with 40K students online. I help beginner animators master After Effects animation through online courses. Thanks for checking out my profile. Please take a look at my courses below and hope to see you in my classes.

Watch more free After Effects tutorials on my Youtube Channel:

Join the Motion Circles exclusive community on Discord:

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Hongshu and welcome to this beginner After Effects class on minimal-style animation. I've been in the motion design industry for almost 10 years and I've been using Adobe After Effects for almost 10 years. The clients I've worked for include Adidas, PayPal, Walmart, and many more. In this class, I'll take you through how to animate and minimal style animation you After Effects. This style has been really popular in recent years and many companies are using this animation style to promote their products or services. It's clean, simple, effective, and visually appealing. In this class, I'll show you how to animate a short piece of minimal-style animation that you can put inside your demo reel or share it on social media. This class is simple, fun, and fast-paced. If you're someone who is interested in getting into motion design and want to learn how After Effects works and get a taste of a real-world project, this class is for you. I won't go through the basics of how the program works, we'll jump onto the project right away and start animating. I would recommend you to take the project file and work with me to animate your own minimal style animation in order to get the most out of this course. Some of the key features we'll cover in this class are how to animate lines with trim paths effects. How to use simple ways to make your animation look complex and polished. How to use graph editors to bring energy to our animation. Create depth in your scene, object moving along the path. How to make motion trails. How to take full control of your animation. How to create impact using match cuts. Animate lines, and path. Some special effects we use to improve the overall visual appeal. Plus tons of keyboard shortcuts, workflow, tips, and tricks that you can start using right away. This class is short and fun to work with. By the end of the course, you will have a basic understanding of how After Effects works and how to make your own minimal-style animation. Once you're done with this course, you can check out my other courses and start diving deep into motion design and After Effects animation on various topics. This class is for total beginners, so you don't need to have any previous experience with After Effects or Adobe softwares. If you have any questions going through the class, don't hesitate to reach out and I'll be there to help you. Are you pumped up and excited to get started with the awesome-looking minimal-style animation? I can't wait to see you in class. 2. Project: Welcome to the class. Before we get started and even open Adobe After Effects, I want to talk about the class project. We will be creating an awesome-looking minimal-style animation so you can use it as a part of your demo reel or portfolio. You can download the project file in the resource section to follow along. I'll show you how to build the entire project from scratch. We don't have any artwork that we need to use in this project. Everything is made out of lines and circles inside After Effects. That's the general direction of minimal-style animations going right now. We don't have to worry about the design part of the process and we can focus on the animation. I'll be using a lot of keyboard shortcuts and it'll be reflected on my screen once I hit the keyboard, but I'll also say the mouse so that you know what keys are pressed. Keyboard shortcuts are great ways to improve your efficiency and workflow. It separates the average animators from the professional ones. If you want to do it the professional way, make sure you use keyboard shortcuts the way I do, and with practice, they'll become second nature to you. That said with the class project. Let's get to the fun part and start animating in the next video. 3. Animate Speed Line: Now, after effects with a dark blue gradient background. Let's go into the main composition here. First, we can create the animation of the speed line. Let's go to this Pen tool here, we can draw a line over here, just a straight line, and the stroke color can be in white, points is going to be 10 pixels. Now let's go to animate this line here, add a trim path effect. Let's go to the trim path effect, at zero second, let's make sure the start and end percentage is going to be zero. Hit the stopwatch for two key frames and then go forward 10 frames and then make these value to 100%. Now we can select all the key frames right-click "Keyframe Assistant", "Easy Ease". Let's go to the graph editor and adjust the curves a little bit to give it more energy. Let's go back and then we can select the two key on the Start property. Drag it forward a few frames to delay the start of this animation, and now we're going to have a effect like this that's going to be our speed line. That looks good. Now we need to duplicate this line animation here. Select the layer command D for duplicates, and I can drag it to a different position, maybe something over here, duplicate again. Now we have four lines and then we can change the length of each one to be a little bit different from each other, and then for the fourth line, we can make it shorter. For the first one, I think I want the first one to be the longest, drag this around longer. If we preview the animation, this is what we have. That looks good as the speed line. 4. Finish Up Speed Line: Now, I just need to change the color a little bit. We have the color image here. For the first one, I want it to be in this purple color. Then for this short one, I want it to be in this green color. Let's delete the color layer. This is going to be our speed line here. I might want to make them even a little bit closer. Yeah, that looks good. Now I just want to stagger the layer a little bit so they don't start at the same time. Something like that works. Now I can select the four layers Command-Shift C to pre-compose it. Speed line 1, click "Okay". Now we have a speed line group. That looks good. Let's just duplicate this one command D. Let's move it to different position. Command D again, move it to different position. Now we have five layers of the same animation. Let's look at this. That looks good, although I do need to stagger these so that they're not coming in at the same time. Just something random works. That's good. Now I just need to select the five layers again, Command C and then speed Line Group. Let's duplicate this one and then drag it to the right-hand side. Now we've got something interesting here. Hit "S" on the keyboard, and then I want to flip this new speed line here, put negative 100 in the X scale property. We can horizontally flip the layer. However, I don't want it to be too symmetrical. I can either stagger the animation, something like this, or I can create another variation of the speed line group. I think it looks fine right now. All I need to do is duplicate these two layers, Command D, and then just randomly place them again at a different position so the animation is more continuous. That looks good. Duplicate these four again Command D. Put it over here. I think that looks good to me. Right now only lasts for one second so all I need to do it just keep duplicating, select our loan Command D, drag them above and then duplicate these and then Command D again, drag them above. Yeah, that looks good. I think I need around three second or three-and-a-half second. That's good enough. If we preview the animation, this is what it looks like. The speed line just keeps animating. That looks good to me. Now I can select all of them. Command-Shift C to pre-compose, call this Speed Line Final. That looks good to me. 5. Add Depth To The Scene: Now what I need to do is to add a little bit more depth to the scene, to have a bunch of CB lines darkened in the center as if it's further away from us just to increase some depth. Basically what I need to do a Command D to duplicate the speed line here. Then I want to put this one in the center and then go to Fill, change them into this darker blue color. I think something like that works. Click "Okay." I also wanted to make it thinner so it appears as if it's further away from us. I now click on the Scale property, and link the scale property and change the X scale to 50. That's good. Now I want to duplicate another one, Command D. Two speed lines over here that's further away from us. That looks pretty good. If we preview, this is the animation we have. 6. Travel Along Path: Now what I need to do is to add a circle element to travel from the bottom to the top. Let's go to this ellipse tool to draw a circle. Small one like this. I want to reposition the anchor point to the center. Hit Command and double-click on the pen behind tool. Now, I want to change the color of the circle. Let's go down to the ellipse tool and then go to fill color. Let's change this one to this blue color. Then I need to turn off the stroke hold "Option" on the keyboard, click the Stroke three times to turn it off and then hit on "Fill". Make sure we have this blue color from our palette. That looks good and now I need to duplicate this layer. Again, Command D and this time we're going to have a stroke that's the same color as the fill and then we can turn off the fill. Make this one a little bit bigger. Something like that, that works. This is going to be our main elements. Command Shift C to recompose it to be the main circle. Hit on "Okay." Now I want the circle to travel from the bottom, so I need to create a new composition. Let's go to the project panel. Hit on this new composition. Let's call this circle scene and let's create the height to be around 3,500 pixels. It's longer than the main composition. I need to go to the main composition and then just drag it in here. Now what I need to do is I need to draw a motion path. Go to the pen tool, draw a motion path. I want the path to be very subtle motion paths. Doesn't have a lot of curve in it. I think something like that should work and then we need to go down to the contents shape paths and then we can click on this stopwatch. We can apply this path onto the position property of this main circle, but first we need to make sure the anchor point of this circle is in the center. Let's go to this pen behind tool and then drop the anchor point in the center of the circle. Now we can copy this one keyframe Command C and then go to P on the keyboard, select the position property and then Command V to paste it in. Now we have the circle travel along this path here. 7. Animate Motion Trail: The next thing I want to do is I want to make this path a motion path or a trail of the circle. To do that, I need to add a trim path effects. We need to hit the stopwatch of the start and end property and then make sure everything is at zero at the beginning. Go to the end of the circle animation, and then change everything to 100%. Now we can stagger the start key frames a little bit, couple frames. That way we can have a motion trail like this, that works. Another thing we could do is duplicate Command D, and then we can manipulate the start and end, and also the offset of the trim path effect over here to get a second trail after the first trail. If I go to the offset and then change the offset value here, you can see I got a disconnect of the trail over here and then all I need to do is to make sure the trail is shorter, something like this, so it just travels along with the first trail and there's a disconnection between the two that looks a little bit more complex. Give it more of a complex look, that feels good to me. Then let's go back to the main composition. We can now hide this main circle or we can delete it and we can drop the circle scene inside the main composition. Now what we can do is we can move this circle scene above. As the animation starts, we have the circle coming into the scene and then go to peep for the position property hit the stopwatch. As it's animating up, I want the composition to go down like this. What I want to do is at the end of the scene here, maybe around two second, I might want to drop down a little bit more and then drop down a little bit more here and then go up to give it more illusion that the circle is traveling very hard to catch up with the speed of the background. Something like that. It goes up and then it comes down a little bit, and then it goes up again, come down a little bit more, and then shoot up. However, I also want the circle to be in the center of the composition. I'm just changing and manipulating the position property of this comp. Something like that. Then all I need to do is select all the keyframe, right-click, go to the end keyframe assistant, select Easy Ease, and then go to the graph editor. I want to give the circle a little bit more energy. I want to manipulate the speed graph to make the speed a little bit higher. At the end, I want the circle to shoot up like this to reach the max speed. Let's see what the animation looks like. I think the wiggle is too much. Maybe I need to tone it down a little bit. Over here, instead, I want to tone down the speed graph a little bit more. Drag it back here like this to smooth the curve a little bit more so the travel is smoother, it doesn't feel like there's a wiggle to it. Let's see what it looks like. Then at the end I wanted to shoot up like this. Yeah, that looks good to me. This is our animation now, that looks good. 8. Animate Circle Ripple: This scene over here, I just want the circle to trigger something else. Trigger a bunch of other circles basically. What we need to do is we need to draw a bunch of other circles. Let's try one circle like this, and then draw another one. Make it larger. We can do the fill instead of the stroke, and then change the opacity to maybe 50%. Let's do another one. Make this one smaller like that. Then we can draw another line, make it larger. Maybe change it to five pixels for the thickness of the circle, and then change another one. Then duplicate another one, make it even larger, and change the thickness to maybe two pixels. So what I want to do as at the end of two seconds, I want the circle to come in the center to trigger this ripple effect. Something like this. That looks good to me. All I need to do is go over here, make sure I got all these new circles. Hit left square bracket to cut it around two seconds, and then I can, first of all, go to the alignment tool, make sure they're all aligned in the center. I want to zoom in and make sure it's all aligned in the center. Then I want to animate the scale property. Let's say for this one here, let's hit a stopwatch for the keyframes scale and then go forward maybe 20 frames. Hit the scale property again, change the initial property to zero. Now it's going to grow from 0-59%. I want to do the same thing. Select all of them, hit S on the keyboard, add a keyframe at the end, and then at the beginning, change it to zero. Now we can select all the keyframe. Right click Keyframe Assistant, Easy Ease. Go to the Graph Editor. Let's do an extreme easing curve like this and then let's see what it looks like. What I need to do now is I want the background to disappear, the speed lines to disappear around two second to trigger this ripple effect. So I want to make sure it disappears around here. I need to go into the speed line final and then make sure I delete the ones or hide the layers that we don't need. Maybe this one as well, and this one and this one. Let's try that, see if that works. Travel, travel, travel and then hit it. I think we need a little bit more speed line on the left-hand side. So let's turn on this one, go back, that works. Then let's do something like this, that works. 9. Animate Curved Line: The last thing I want to add is a waving line around here. To do that, let's go to the Pen tool, and then let's draw a line like this. Let's turn off the fill, let's get the stroke. Maybe let's do 10. Then let's draw another one here. Something like that works. What I need to do is cut it around the same time, when the second scene starts, and now I want to animate these two lines here. Just go to the Contents, Shape, Path, and then hit a key frame on the path. This is going to be the final state of the animation. Change the key frame to align with the other circles when you stop animating around here. Now at the beginning, I wanted to start slower, something like this. Then I want this one to start slower. Then maybe around here. I think that works. Subtle, but it's going to add some interest. Now I need to do is Command Shift C to pre-compose these two lines. Then make sure we cut it over here. Command D, hit S on the keyboard, change the scale x-axis to -100. We have a duplicate to make a symmetrical. Now I just need to make the line at the bottom to be longer. First of all is pre-compose it, Command Shift C lines, and then change the opacity to maybe 50%. Then I want to change the opacity of these circles as well so that they're not too dominant. Everything to 50%. The outer is this, the smaller percentage it can be. Change this one to 20%, 25 and then duplicate again, make this one 50%, and then give it a cut, the layer over here, so it starts when the ball hits that center. Now I just need to go inside and change the animation to give it a little bit energy. The curve is going to be something like this. That works. Let's go back. Look at the main thing. Move it down a little bit so it's not overlapping. I think that looks good. Let's go back to the main composition. We can cut the animation when this stops around three second here, hit N on the keyboard. Let's preview this one. I think overall it looks pretty good. 10. Stylize and Glow: The last thing I want to do is to add some glow effects. Let's go to layer, add new, let's put in an adjustment layer. Name this one Glow. We can do a Gaussian blur. Maybe change it 20%, and then let's add in a curve. Drag the curve to give a more contrast like that, and then change the adjustment layer transparency to 20% or 40. You can see the before, after. If I turn on this adjustment layer, it gives a little bit of glow onto these lines in the whole scene. It also gives a little bit more vibrance. That's it. That's your final animation. 11. Congrats!: Congrats on finishing this course. It's a short one, and I try my best to make it simple and easy to understand for beginners. Now you should have a brief understanding of after effects and how to animate within the software. This is such a great first step. From here, I hope you can finish your project and upload it to the project section of this course to share it with your fellow students and get some feedback. Hope you had a lot of fun learning this class. If you'd like to learn more animation and after effects, please go check out my other courses. I also have a YouTube channel where we publish free weekly motion design content and short animation tutorials. Check out our YouTube channel under my profile. Again, thank you for taking this class, and if you can drop me a review I will really appreciate it. If you have any question going through the class, don't hesitate to ask me, I'm here to help you. Thanks so much for taking the course. I'll see you in the next one.