Animating Illustrations Using the Puppet Tool | Kay Leathers | Skillshare

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Animating Illustrations Using the Puppet Tool

teacher avatar Kay Leathers, Illustrator/Designer for Motion Graphics

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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.

      The Project


    • 3.

      Illustrate Your Character


    • 4.

      Making Layers


    • 5.

      Importing Your Design


    • 6.

      Using the Puppet Tool


    • 7.

      Keyframing Your Animation


    • 8.

      Exporting Your Animation


    • 9.

      Using These Skills in Other Ways


    • 10.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Hi there, my name is Kay and this is me ⤴ 

Well, an animated illustration of me that is. I'm an Illustrator and designer for Motion Graphics and am super excited to teach you how to Animate Illustrations using the Puppet Tool

I know that animations get much more engagement than still images on social media and in online content. I also know that more and more illustration work is asking for animation skills. If you're looking for a boost to your online portfolio or simply want to learn a bit more about animation, this course is a fun and practical exploration on how to design and animate illustrations using the puppet tool in After Effects. 

Follow along with me to learn:

  • How to draw and separate illustrations into practical layers for animation
  • Explore the Puppet Tool and keyframe in After Effects 
  • Create your own animated gif and MP4 of your illustration ready for upload!

This class is aimed towards illustrators or designers who want to attract more attention to their work or simply want to start animating their designsStudents will need a bit of knowledge on how to use a drawing program such as Procreate to follow along with the class. Don't worry if you don't know anything about After Effects though, I didn't either when I started! I will take you through the whole process, from import to keyframing, step-by-step.

Let's get animating! 

Meet Your Teacher

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Kay Leathers

Illustrator/Designer for Motion Graphics

Top Teacher


Hi there!

My name is Kay and I’m a London-based Illustrator and Designer for Motion. I find inspiration in oddities, individuality and humour.  I can’t help myself when it comes to drawing cute, sometimes irreverent but always lovable characters!

I work a lot on animations, which I love, working closely with creative teams and animators to brainstorm concepts, create storyboards and build assets and characters ready for animation.




It's here! New course out now!

Animate Illustrated Text Stickers using Procreate and Adobe After Effects

Create awesome animated stickers from your illustrations - An easy-to-follow guide to illustrating text stickers in Procreate, taking ... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name's Keila Sousa and I'm an illustrator and designer for Motion Graphics from London, England. In this class, I'll be teaching you how to animate your illustrations using the puppet tool. This class is for anyone who wants to start animating their illustrations from complex characters to simple designs, the puppet tool can move it all. To start the class, we'll Open up the drawing application to illustrate our character in layers to Import into after effects where we'll learn all about the puppet tool. You won't need any prior knowledge about effects as I'll be going through it step-by-step.Then we'll be Keyframing our motion and Exporting to GIF and MP4 where you can upload it as your project for the project gallery and to your portfolio, your social media or wherever you like. I'll also be showing you how I use the puppet tool in different examples of work, so you can see exactly how to apply it in different situations. After taking this class, you can take this knowledge and apply the puppet tool to all sorts of illustrations and get equally great results. I've been illustrating and designing for three years now working closely with animators on more complex character animations to simple looping GIFS. Now, I know that animations can really boost your engagement. If you need to give your portfolio an edge or you need your social media to get that important viewer engagement, then this course will give you the skills to do that. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved drawing and I had this book called The Magic Paintbrush, where the child has a paintbrush and everything paints comes to life. I'm so happy that I get to do that in my adult life. I want to share that joy with you through this course. If you're ready, let's get started. 2. The Project: For today's course, we'll be working further steps together to create our very own animated GIF from our illustrations. Your project is to share the animated GIF on our project gallery to open it up to feedback and to inspire our community. This can be instantly uploaded and shared, not only to Skillshare, but to your online portfolio like I've done here, to catch the eye of those potential clients as they scroll through. We'll also be producing an MP4 of the same file so you can upload it to your social media, or if you mark it like I do, you can have it as an attention grabbing GIF at the top of your e-mails. Again, don't worry if you've never touched After Effects before. I'll be going through everything step-by-step, so you'll be super confident to use the puppet tool on your illustrations. You'll need your drawing application open to get started. I'll be using Procreate. If you want to follow along with me, you can open that, or you can open up Fresco, or Photoshop. Anything that you can draw in layers is fine to go along with this course. If you're ready, let's get illustrating. 3. Illustrate Your Character: Great. Now we've got our drawing application open, I'm going to be showing you how I use references to create my illustrations, using procreate. For my illustrations, I use a variety of resources. I love pinterest, it's great to have a place where you can just get lost in loads of different resources, and pin them to save them for later illustrations. Here are some examples from my boards, cute animals, faces. This one is just the face. Now it's always good to have a great variety in your work when it comes to character design. I mostly use real life examples, so sometimes I'll take a little sketch book around with me, as you can see, I use it for everything, not just sketches, all my notes are in there as well, so here's a cyclist that I sketched, and that actually inspired this illustration here. Another thing I got obsessed with is, to take sketches on the tube using my phone, just quick five minutes on the notes app, this is sketched down with the really interesting people of London, and just to capture that thing that caught my eye about them. Then I take it into Procreate or illustrator later, and make a new character just like this one. As character designer, I'm going to be drawing character today based on real life inspiration, me. I'm going to be drawing myself in my favorite place to sketch, on the sofa. Say if you want to follow along exactly, you can do yourself sketching, or if you'd rather, I encourage you to decorate your space, find something that has a little movement in it, maybe you have a pet with a wagging tail, maybe you'd rather do a plant with waiving leaves, whatever you wish, we can do it in this class. Obviously, it's best to follow along with the character design, but I'm easy. You can do whatever you like. When you selected what you want to draw, let's move onto sketching. On Procreate, we're going to create a new canvas, you can do the same in Photoshop or Fresco, and we press on the add symbol here, and press on the add symbol here. Now our new canvas is going to be 1,080 by 1,080. This is the perfect size for Instagram, and I use this on my portfolio as well, so you can call it an appropriate name, if you want you can call it Instagram, I'm going to call it, puppet tool, just to go with this class. Now, you'll see these two here, this is pixels per inch. Now I've put this at 300 pixels per inch, this is quite high, and I'm going to be taking that into my Mac. Now, I know that my Mac can handle this, if you know that your computer can be a little bit slow running, maybe just reduce that to a 150. We press Create, and our new page pops up. We're going to start with some basic joint knowledge, so I'm going to use my 6 p pencil here, and just give you a little bit of knowledge, just because if you are drawing a character like me, this will be really helpful, especially when we come to animate. We have our shoulder joints there, our base, and wrists down at the bottom holding the hands. Then we have our hip joints, our knee joints, and our ankle joints. So just knowing about those basic joints is going to help us with animation. Add a new layer, turn that one off, and thinking about the way I sit on the sofa, going to have my sofa back here, and I seat here. I love to fill the page with Instagram, maximize the visual catching space. I'm going to draw the head quite big in the corner here, and then I'm going to be leaning against the back, so there's one of my shoulders. Now imagine another shoulder here. If I'm going to be leaning, going to have my elbow right down here, and my arm is coming back up, ready to draw on the iPad. That will be around here somewhere with the pen, and the iPad. Then I'm going to draw my torso in, so I would say somewhere like that, and I'm going to have my hip coming out with my knee all the way to the top. As I said, filling that space up. Then cool down at the bottom and the top. Now my other leg is at an interesting position, because it's around the back and coming around the front. So if I imagine my thigh coming over, and my foot crossing over the top. Now this is the leg that I'm going to be moving, so I need to make sure it's got a lot of free space around it, so I will think about that in the refinement in the next stage. Finally my arm, I'm going to put behind my head, scratching my head. It's what I'm usually do when I'm thinking, and sticking my tongue out, of course. Here we have our basic bones. For the next layer at any one, reduce the opacity on that till quite low, I usually put it round 25, and then we're going to use the same pencil, because we're still in the sketching stage, and we're just going to refine that sketch. So I'm going to make my head a little bit circular, I hope you can see, when you've done a curve, you just hold, I'll try again. Hold and press, and then it becomes a perfect curve. Using that idea, come back around, and build out the muscle on my character. It's made me a bit more musclier than that. We're just going to flush out all of those joints, and bones that we've already put in and start adding some details that make your character or make you, you. I'm going to refine this bit a lot, because I just want to fill up the shape, so I'm going to bring my back and my bottom all the way around, and then I'm going to think about the legs. So that's my bottom, my leg is going come up and around, I'm just going to give it a bit more of a bend than I did in the original bones, so absolutely don't worry if you have to do quite a few of these, one thing I really learn the hard way was that I just needed to do it again and again, until I was happy with it. Still I like to think that I'm learning, so I try and think that my first one is always the best. But that's not always the case. So you can see I'm adding little details here, some toes in, we can get more detailed as we do the next round, fingers, ear, and finally we've got my other shoulder here. So I'm going to come through here, it's right behind that leg, so I don't need to draw that in. There we are. That's our next layer. Let's have a look at it with the one underneath off. Great. At this stage, you can draw and redraw as much as you need to refine your sketch, I'm going to move now onto the inking stage. So if you need to refine it more, pause the video, and then join back with us once you've done. I'll reduce the opacity on this one, and add a new layer, and then I'm going to get my inking pen. Now my inking pen is a cactus pen, I made it for cactus a long time ago, this is just a studio pen duplicated because we don't want to lose that original, and I have fiddled about with this smoothing and the flow to make it a bit more smooth. I've also put a link to my cactus pen, so you can use that. Now to include outline, you're literally going over, still making refinements as you go. I'm going to try and do this lesson a little bit speedier with this part, so finding the position of the fingers, and you can undo, and the position of the arm, do nice smooth flowing lines so that you really get carried across the page. Don't really worry if you make any mistakes. It's part of your illustration process, and part of your character coming through. Now I'm not going to draw that bit in this time, because we've got this leg coming over the top. Again, making those refinements to your drawing. Going over, again I think my feet are a little bit long there, so I'm going to reduce that, bringing up, adding in a trouser leg, and toes, down the other side as well, and I'm going to make an adjustment to that arm position just so you can't really see it here. Now, the final details that I'm going to add, neck sleeve there, and obviously, one of the most important parts of a character illustration, the face. I'm going to make a quite simple face for this one, let's get my concentrating tongue out, and there. It's pretty good. I'm pretty happy with this. Let's have a look without the layer underneath, good. I might make some adjustments before the next lesson, but we've finished. Nice one. You've just finished your illustration. In the next lesson, we're going to be learning how to turn this into usable layers for our animation. 4. Making Layers: In this lesson, we're going to be using our sketch to build up those all important layers for animation. At this point, I want you to look at your illustration and think about those parts that you want to move. In mine for example, I think I'm going to make the leg rock back and forth where I'm thinking. I could also decide to move my arm, so I can make the pencil move as if I'm writing. I could also move the tongue, for example, the fingers perhaps. Have a look at your drawing now and think about one piece that you would like to move. Once you've decided on your part that you want to animate, I've decided on my leg here, I'm going to make the foot gently sway. What we need to do first really important, is make a duplicate of the artwork. At this point, I'm actually going to label it, so I'll call it puppet tool, and I'm going to swipe to duplicate it. I'm going to go into that new one and just delete those extra layers that I no longer need. I have that all on one layer. When you want to animate a part, say the leg, it's really important that you have that part on its own layer. This is because if you include a lot more than what you want to animate on there, it can distort or affect the rest of the illustration. I will show you this in our demonstrations later. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to turn down the opacity here, and I'm going to create a new layer called Leg 1. I like to give my layers a number just in case I have more legs to animate, then I can easily identify them later on. With those joints in mind, think about the knee joint and the ankle joint, or whatever joint you're using on your illustration. You want to join up those parts in its own separate layer, so I'm going to create the knee here, all the way around and just trace the leg. Remember that this is your opportunity, you'll find an opportunity to refine your illustration. Take advantage of it now. If I rub out those joints, there is my separated leg piece. Now, when I want to animate that leg piece, it will be moving, not quite like this, but it will be moving. For the rest of the illustration, we need to make sure that we have something underneath that piece. If I hide that leg now and create a new layer, I will call it body. Now this will contain the rest of the illustration. I'll need to continue my drawing underneath, so recreate this whole leg as one piece. I'll need to join across the foot there all the way up to the knee. Also going to include another trials like here, underneath making my edits as I go. Then we also have this bit to consider, say the thigh. If you need to, just turn on the other layer and make sure you have the smooth joining their. Lovely. Let's turn that leg layer off. We have the full thigh and the leg once it's completed. For the rest of the body, simply trace and make your adjustments. I'm going to speed up this bit in the video so that you don't have to watch the whole thing. But please take your time with your own illustration. Once you've completed your outlines, just double-check with these layers, that all of the lines have been re-done. Once they've been re-done, we can move on to coloring. Let's just turn off that bottom layer. Actually, we can delete it, we no longer need it. The part you want animated, always needs to be at the top. This is because when you affect it, this will be the background, and this will be the animated piece. To color your image, I recommend selecting four maybe five maximum colors, because these work best for GIFs. If you have a really complex GIF with lots of gradient, lots of colors, it's quite difficult to compute and it becomes quite heavy file, making it virtually unusable for marketing e-mails and things like that. I'm going to select four colors that I had for my original branded palette that I made a long time ago. If you don't have a palate already, don't panic, you can use mine, It's in the resources file, or you can come to Adobe color, which is a really helpful resource. You can just type in Adobe color into Google and it will come up. On the initial page, you'll have explorer, it's using all the popular colors of the moment to create these pallets. Or if you have a particular illustration you want it to go with, for example, I love pastel colors, so I usually type in ice cream, and it will come up with lots and lots of different palettes of different ice cream themed styles. You can add those to your library, so that will come up in Illustrator or photoshop or after effects, or you can download it to your computer. If you want to put it in procreate, you can just copy those hexes and pop them into your procreate app. The way I made my original branded colors, was that I took a product that I really liked, it wasn't this ones, but this one's also got a really nice palate, and I drop the colors from there, and you can just create that palette. I mean, you might want to fiddle around with the colors, make them a bit more vibrant, but it's a really handy way of just getting a new pallet and colors that you really really enjoy. I also like to take the background there because they've obviously matched it beautifully. You can get those colors, make some shadows for the outlines, and you can create a library of those yourself, so I can put Kay branded colors. Again, I drop those and you can press the little plus here to add the foreground color, and they will start coming up in your library so you can use them throughout your work. That's how I got mine. If you want to use mine, again, it's in the resources. I've selected these four colors for my illustration for today. I'm going to stick with that dark color, make sure I'm on the animated layer, and I'm going to color in the leg. Continues this symptomish yellow, and I can see that I need just a little bit of a tidy up on the leg there, that's okay we can do that now. That layer is colored, we can turn that layer off and we can go onto the body layer. Now, I want the legs obviously to be the same color, keep the same trousers on. I can see now that I've lost my definition here because I've used the same color as the outline. This is fine. If I go back and I switch my color, and just do those overlapping parts with the white, then I can fill in with my original color, and hopefully there will be a nice separation there. Can just tidy back out. Beautiful. Now, what about when I put that leg on top? We can see that we've lost definition there as well. Same trick, make sure you're on that leg layer, we turn off the body for this part, and just do a bit of the outline in the white. Doesn't have to be super neat. Remember, you can hold for your straight line. Once you've done that, turn on the other layer again, and you've got a beautiful separation there. Again to continue with the coloring, I'll speed it up again for you. If there's any useful tips they come across, I will slow down and share those with you. Remember to zoom in today's little parts, everything should be colored in your illustration. Now, here you can see that I have quite a large gap in the finger here. This is okay, its character in my drawing, but it's not very good for having the background clear. What I can do, is I can fill that part n and then lower the tolerance. It still has a gap or the threshold, sorry, still has a gap. But it's just filling in that part that I like. Just going to tidy up that bit here, good opportunity to do so. Now, I'm going to show you a neat little trick for the hair. If I click on the body layer and call it reference, the layer that I created above it, will now refer to that body layer. On that layer, I'm going to select the color for my hair and I'm going to fill that in. I can put the threshold up little bit, make sure it's nice and full, keep going with all your hair parts. If you look at that layer, it's only filled in that, which is great. I love the reference tool and I'm going to turn that reference off and call this layer hair. Again to be a momentary layer, but it's always nice to label it. I'm going to create a new layer above that and give it a clipping mask. Now, this layer will only draw within this layer. Going to select my white, my pen, and let's make it just touched smaller. Now, I'm going to draw my hair strands in. As you can see, it is only showing on those hair parts. She's so handy. Beautiful. I can actually merge those layers now, and I don't need it as a separate layer to the body layer either. I can match that down just so we have just two pieces for animation. Great. Now your layers are done. In the next lesson, we'll be learning how to export it from procreate and put it into larger effects. 5. Importing Your Design: In this lesson, we'll be learning how to export our file from Procreate and put it into After Effects. As you can see, I've added some decoration to my illustration, that is a signature up here. Very important for your artwork and especially if you're putting on social media, put your name on it to make sure that everybody knows that it's yours. Secondly, if you're adding decoration to your animated parts, just make sure you turn them off and ensure that you have the underneath layers also decorated in the same way. Just add a decoration just in case that top layer moves out the way. Let's check. Beautiful. Now, there are many ways to export your file to your computer. For me, the easiest way is to airdrop that file. What we need to do is press on the little spanner at the top, and we want the PSD file. The reason we want the PSD file is because it will arrive into After Effects in its existing layers with all the labels that you've already done. If we press PSD if you're like me and you love Apple products, you can airdrop it straight into your computer. Press "accept", save to "downloads", and your PSD file will appear here in your downloads. At this point, what I like to do is create a folder on the desktop. This is my folder template which I will include the structure for you in the resource files. I'm just going to rename that folder and call it "Self-portrait Puppet tool." Within that folder, you'll see that I have project files, assets, audio, exports, and docs. You can take a look at that if you want to structure it the same way as I do. In that project files, you have all the programs that you could possibly want to use, all the Adobe, everything like that for animation. I've opened up the Photoshop file, and I just drag the puppet tool file in there. Nice and neat. Now we save that in the Photoshop file, we're going to keep it there. If we move it, once we put it into After Effects, After Effects is going to get very confused and won't be able to find it again. Let's keep it nice and neat, tidied away in this folder. Let's launch After Effects. Once After Effects is open if we can look at this top bar here and select "standard", that will really help us out. It opens up several different windows. We have projects, effect controls, composition, and we have our timeline down the bottom here. If we just grab our file and drag it into After Effects, we can pop it here in the project and this pop-up box will come in. Well, we'll want to import its composition and we want those editable layer styles. We press "Okay", and it will come up with two different boxes here. It will come up with our main composition, so puppet tool, and then it will also have the layers here. If we double-click the puppet tool, we can check that our image looks good. At the moment, this is on 25 percent so let's just zoom in to 100 percent. Very nice, and we can just double-check all our layers there, background layer, body layer, leg layer. Perfect. The important thing to remember for this lesson is making sure that you're exporting the file properly and saving it correctly in the right place for After Effects so it can always read it and just keep your file really organized. Great. Now we've set up our PSD file in After Effects and it's all saved correctly. Now, we're ready for the fun bit. In the next lesson, we'll be learning all about the puppet tool. 6. Using the Puppet Tool: In this lesson, we'll be learning all about the Puppet Tool in After Effects and how we can use it to move our illustration. Here we have file set up from last lesson,what we need to do really importantly first is go to save it. File, save, and if I find the same folder I am going to project files, I have an After Effects folder. I'm just going to call it the same again, self-portrait puppet tool, and click Save. Great,now I don't have to panic about anything. The key sections that we'll be focusing on on After Effects for this lesson, I won't be going through all of them but just the important parts that we need is the composition section where you'll see your artwork. If yours looks a little bit grainy, it might be that you have it on half resolution or a third. Mine's on full at the moment, because I know my computer can handle it. But if yours is a little bit slow during the animation, you might just want to reduce the resolution here. Handy tip for you. Here we have our timeline,very important.This is where we'll key-frame our animation later on. Over here we have our padlock, now because I'm not going to be animating the body or the background layer, just the leg layer, I will lock those two. Then I'll get my leg layer and solo it using the column underneath the circle. If you hover it does actually say solo as well unlock. I'll solo that layer and if you're following me up to here, you will see the Puppet Position Pin Tool. If I select that one, and I'm going to click just about where my knee joint would sit so here and we'll see if that a big mesh appears over that artwork. Now you remember earlier when we spoke about just having that piece that you are going to animate be affected, here is where if you had more, it would affect more of your artwork. The mesh is only covering that bit that we want to animate, which is perfect. This is the Puppet Position Tool and you can see very clearly that it changes the position of that layer. Now, I don't really want to move the whole leg, I just want to move the foot and just maybe a little bit of the leg. Here I'm going to also put an anchor or a pin here where the ankle joint would be. Now if I click and drag that point, you can see that the knee pin is holding it in place while I move the ankle around. Now this is really helpful because as I said, I only want to move the foot around, but I don't really want to move it like this it's not very smooth and it's squishing my artwork as you can see. I'm going to use a different type of pin and it's the Puppet Advanced Pin Tool. If I select that one it comes up with slightly different pin shape, it's pin with a little hook and I'm going to place that quite near to the original pin. Now the advance pin is pretty fancy because you can effect three things with it. You can do position,as you can see here, that it looks ugly with it being so close to this pin. You can rotate. Now I just think that this movement is so beautiful because the nice thing about the puppet pin is it doesn't restrict your movements, so it feels very natural. When I rotate the foot, you can see that a bit of the leg is moving as well, it's not completely stationary. I think that gives a really nice effect and the final thing that the Puppet Tool does is scale. I can make the foot really big or very small. That can be pretty handy and I'll show you some ways that I've used that in the later lessons. The final pin tool that I'm going to talk about, is the Puppet Starch Pin Tool. Now just like in your clothes, the starch pin can solidify your artwork around it. If I go back to this advanced pin and rotate, I don't get so much of that squishing that I did before. Let's have a look without it. Squish and with the starch pin, not so much squish. That's the three main tools that I enjoy using, have a little go with each of them and just try to mount the experiment, this is your time. Great, now you now have three Puppet Pins work in the next lesson, we'll be adding key-frames to animate our illustration. 7. Keyframing Your Animation: In this lesson, we'll be learning how to keyframe animation. A keyframe is a recording of a movement on a timeline.This could be position, scale, rotation and so on. Let's get started. In After Effects, the timeline is here. This is where we will keyframe our animation. Before we go onto animating, if we check our composition settings, we should have the width and the height at 1080, just as we imported the PSD file, and then I just want to you to check your frame rate. This should be 24 frames per second, and the duration of your clip should be five seconds. I made it five seconds because it's a good amount of time to work with, we're actually probably going to reduce the work area to four seconds, but the absolute minimum is two seconds. This is because when we want to upload to social media such as Instagram, it is a minimum of two seconds of video that you can upload. You can just type that in here, five seconds, don't worry about the background color, press okay and yours may take a little time to adjust, mine was already set at that, so just wait for it to adjust and then we can move on. From your experiments with the puppet tool in the last lesson, hopefully you all know now where you want to position your pins. I want to position my pins here. That's the starch pin when it really useful thing, and about making this mistake is I can show you the drop-down menu. We have our mesh here, that's the triangles that formed around your layer, and the deformed drop-down menu. Now puppet pin 1 is the one that we've just placed. So if I open that up, it says pin type. Fortunately, I've placed that pin, but I can always change it to a different type of pin once they've placed it. I'm going to change that to a position pin, I will place another pin, make sure I'm on the right one this time, there we go. Another puppet position pin, and advanced pin, where I want to rotate from, and I'm going to place that starch pin so I don't get any squishing in the ankle. Great. That's all my pins in place, and if I look at this drop-down menu, I can see those pins in there. Just going to close puppet pin 1 because I want to focus on that advanced pin. Now in the advanced pin, you can see that you have those things that you can adjust their position, scale, rotation. Now you can, if you want to click and drag either way and you'll see the composition responding. However, I like to do it on the artwork itself because I'm a very visual person so what I'm going to do is keyframe the movement. At the moment, it's in a very neutral position, and this is how I drew it in a neutral position. I want to create the animation around the extremes. Starting with my bar at the front of the timeline, I'm going to rotate that down to the extreme. Doesn't look very extreme. You could do more extreme movement in yours, but I quite like a subtle movement in the leg here. I can show you that movement that I want with it just by dancing it around. Let's put it to that extreme, again to me that along to one second now or 24 frames, I'm going to go to the other extreme. I'm going to rotate that as far as it will go, without touching the box, you'll see underneath rotation a keyframe has been formed, and that is my two frames. You'll see if I slide this along the timeline it is going between the two. The nice thing about After Effects is it fills in that animation for you. We just need those key poses. Now I just want this to go back and forth, you just click and drag over those and copy command C. I'm going to move that along to two frames, and command V or control V I think it is on windows and it paste those again. Now I'm going to reduce my work area to four frames because that would be a nice loop for me, let's press the space bar to preview the animation, it will take a little bit of time to load then you should have your animation. But look, I know it stops in the middle. It's because I haven't put the original frame back at the end, so it doesn't loop correctly. If I pause that and I copy the original frame, I put it at four seconds, Paste up there, and let's try again, press the Space bar, and what you look at that a perfectly looping animation. Now you might notice it has a bit of a tik tok quality, but like a clock pendulum, which doesn't feel very natural. When working with characters, what I like to use is one of my favorite tricks. In After Effects just drag and highlight over those keyframes, right click on one of them and a pop-up menu will come up. If you go down to keyframe assistant, you'll see my favorite Easy Ease. Click on that, and all of those little diamonds turned into [inaudible]. Let's try and play that animation again, is loading, here we go and look at that. Isn't that much more natural and flowing. I'm so happy with my animation. I hope you're getting along well with yours as well. You could change scale, you can change position, you can change rotation like I have, whatever you like, experiment with your illustration, and I can't wait to see it in the project gallery. If you feel like your movement is too slow, you can select all of those, hold Alt and then you can actually drag it. If I drag it all the way to two and I copy it and I paste it, what's going to happen? Just wait for it to load, double time. You can speed up or slow down your animation by clicking and holding Alt and dragging those and squishing them, or pulling them out. Back to normal, very nice. I'm happy with that. Amazing work. I hope you're happy with your animation. Now all that's left to do is exporting it. Let's move on. 8. Exporting Your Animation: In this lesson, we'll export our animation to GIF and MP4. When I first started animating my illustrations, my main goal was to have something funky on my portfolio and attract attention to my social media. That's why I'm telling you how to export your file today as MP4 and GIF. You can use your GIF in portfolio or marketing e-mails, and you can use your MP4s for social media. For example, Instagram doesn't allow GIFS on its platform. We can use one tool for this job, and this is what I usually do. If you go up to composition on after effects and then add to Adobe Media Encoder queue. Click on that one. It will just take a little while to fire up the media encoder. Be patient and wait for that. Great. Now that's opened. You should see that your file is in there. What we actually want is two sets. If you go back to after effects and add it again to the encoder queue, go back to your media encoder and just wait for that to appear in this queue here. While we're waiting, we can select the two settings that we want. You'll see here that it already has a H.264 in there for mine, this is the MP4 setting that you want. If you don't have it they're already, just scroll down in the drop-down menu and you'll see H.264 here. That is your MP4 setting. If you go along to output file and click on the "Blue name", it will open where it's going to save. We don't want to save in the after effects. Let's go down to exports. This is the MP4 which is a video file. I'm going to put it as a work in progress so puppet tool. You'll see that it says, "Video file MP4" there, which is perfect. Now for the second file, we want that animated GIF. Again, drop-down menu, select animated GIF and go across to the output file, go into your exports. This time a GIF is technically a picture. Go into stills and we have GIFS there. If you're using your own files, just save it in a separate export folder. It will save your life later on if you are trying to desperately search for it. I save that in there. When you've got it all in the right place, just click the green "Play" button here. It will take a little while to load those. That's fine, be patient. I'm going to fast-forward on mine and I'll meet you when it's done. Great. They're all done. Once they're finished, you can check the files in your folder. Here, if I check that GIF, we can already see that it's playing. But let's open that up, and look, beautiful. This is quite a large size. I'm just going to reduce that down to the size it might actually be or even smaller. Look at that, nice smooth lines, great resolution. Now let's check the MP4. Again, it's a little bit big, but if I reduce the size and you'll notice that it doesn't loop. That's because it's an MP4. Don't panic once you've uploaded to Instagram, their videos automatically loop. You have a perfectly looping image on your feed. Now, if you want to use your GIFS in many places, you might find that your file size is a little bit too big. If this is the case, I really recommend going to Jake Bartlett's course and just watching his, "Compressing GIFS like a boss." This is a really helpful resource. If you need to use it for a client or you want to pop it in an e-mail and it's just too big and it won't load, this is going to be an amazing course for you to take and follow-up. At this point, I would really like to encourage you to share your wonderful animation to the projects. On your project file, what I'd like you to do is upload the image into where you add the content. You can upload the image to here as well. If you go into your file, export stills GIF, and you have it there, you can open that and you can have it as your cover page. Just select a nice bit of your GIF, put it there. You can type your title. I'm going to to put my own self-portrait in there. I'm going to add content here so people can see my full image. I did want to make it a square so that you can share it beautifully to Instagram. Unfortunately, it doesn't work on Skillshare because there's a different ratio. But fortunately, you have this option to open up your image in the content section and that should upload beautifully. There we are, your full image and that's it. That's all you need to do for your project. You can publish that when you're ready. Great. I'm so excited to see all of your work in the project gallery. In the next and final lesson, I'll be showing you more examples of how you can use the puppet tool in your illustrations. 9. Using These Skills in Other Ways: In this lesson, I invite you to think of more ways you can animate your illustration. Let me show you some examples. Here I have my original image and I've made some additional puppet tool changes. You can see that I have made my hand to do a bit of scribbling on the iPad and I've made some features on my face move, I have done a blink and I've done a tongue. I just wanted to show you in a little bit more detail how I worked through that. With the arm, you can see, I'll put it, let's zoom in a little bit. I've put a position pin here, another position pin here and I've added the advanced pin here and just use the rotation again just as I did on the foot. But you'll see that I have staggered the animation. This is a really good tip because it makes it appear more natural so the foot isn't moving at the same time as the hand is moving. It just brings a bit more life to your animation. I really enjoyed that one and for the tongue, I added two effects here using just the advanced pin. Let me zoom in so I can show you better. I actually use the position and you can see when you drag the position, after effects draws this line back and forth. I also added rotation on that. If we watch the tongue, out it comes, rotates and goes back in, out it comes, rotates and goes back in. This is all just done with experimenting. It's really fun and you should take a look at your own illustration. Maybe you can make something else move on there. I would love to see that. Some other examples of where I've used the puppet tool, this is my little smell the flowers guy. I placed an advanced pin on a separate flowers layer and I rotate it and I also scale the flower a little bit. If you look when he breathes in, it's slightly smaller and breathes out, it goes back. I also use the puppet position pin and the advanced pins on the eyebrows, the mouth and the nose. Lots of different ways, such a variety on this tool that you can use. The last example I wanted to show you was just these roller skates. I thought this was really effective and I love this skate life logo in the background. All I had was a composition of just two skates together and I applied rotation using advanced pin. So simple. If you have decided to use it for something else, I would love to also see that. You can add another image here, just click. I'll add my smell the flowers GIF and if you have any problems, you can always write a message right there on the wall, ''Help me'' and I will be looking through all the projects and see if I can offer any help or answers to questions, I would be happy to do that. Like any other skill, you need to practice. If you want to have a go, you can animate another part of your illustration or pick brand-new illustration to animate and upload it here as part of your project. 10. Final Thoughts: Well done. You made it all the way to the end of the course. We've covered everything from creating our illustration in layers for motion, to using the puppet tool and key framing in after effects to animate our illustrations. I bet you have a lovely gift and an mp4 to show for it. Please don't forget to post this on the project gallery so you get feedback from our community. Also, if you post it online, you can tag me and I can come in on it there. If there's one thing I hope you take from this class, it's the joy of seeing your illustrations come to life through animation. If you like the class, please do leave a review and follow me so you can keep up to date with any upcoming classes. Thanks again, and I'll be seeing you soon.