Character Animation Basics: Create a Dance Loop with After Effects and Photoshop | Bee Grandinetti | Skillshare

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Character Animation Basics: Create a Dance Loop with After Effects and Photoshop

teacher avatar Bee Grandinetti, Designer, Illustrator, Animator

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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.

      Animation is For Everybody


    • 3.

      Recording a Video Reference


    • 4.

      Choosing a Reference


    • 5.

      Sketching Thumbnails


    • 6.

      Designing Your Character


    • 7.

      Refining in Photoshop


    • 8.

      Adding Color and Detail in Photoshop


    • 9.

      Introduction to Adobe After Effects


    • 10.

      Understanding Adobe After Effects


    • 11.

      Building Your Character in After Effects


    • 12.

      Animating the Body


    • 13.

      Animating the Arms


    • 14.

      Finishing Your Animation


    • 15.

      Outlining in Photoshop


    • 16.

      Adding Color and Texture in Photoshop


    • 17.

      Exporting for Social Media


    • 18.

      Final Thoughts


    • 19.

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About This Class

Looking to learn animation, but don’t know where to start? Create a dance loop from start to finish and learn After Effects along the way in this fun, comprehensive class!

Join Bee Grandinetti, an illustrator and animator known for her iconic hand-drawn style and analog approach to animation planning, for an introduction to animation that goes beyond bouncing balls and walk cycles to inspire the animator in you.

Bee’s holistic approach to animation will help you understand the foundational principles of effective animation in addition to the technical skills every animator needs to know. From sketching with pencil and paper to final tweaks to your finished animation, you’ll follow along with every step of Bee’s tried and true process, creating a dancing character as you go.

With Bee’s fun, accessible and clear approach, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use Adobe After Effects, from setting up a canvas to animating a character
  • Create interesting-looking motion through speed graphs and easing in and out
  • Speed up the process of animation with Bee’s shortcuts and tips
  • Adapt the traditional onion skin animation approach to your digital process

Whether it’s your first time experimenting with After Effects or you’re looking to sharpen your existing animation skills, this class will unlock your ability to plan your animation, create natural movement in your work, and bring your art to life like never before.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Bee Grandinetti

Designer, Illustrator, Animator


Bee Grandinetti is a Brazilian director, designer and animator based in Stockholm. As a freelancer, she has teamed up with the likes of Google Creative Lab, Hornet, Nexus Studios, BlinkInk, Animade, Studio Moross, Wonderlust, Partizan, Brikk and Universal Everything and has developed projects for clients such as Google, Airbnb, Headspace, MTV, Facebook and Snapchat.

She also co-founded an online community for women, trans and non-binary people working with animation and motion called Panimation.



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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: When I think about my work, I think that my biggest intention is just to make people smile and feel good about themselves. Hey guys. Welcome to my skillshare class. I'm Bee Grandinetti and I'm a director, designer, and animator from Brazil, but living in London. I work mostly as a freelancer. Today, I'm going to be so guys how to create a simple animated dance move combining after-effects and photoshop. We're going to be taking it to the dance floor, testing out a couple of dance moves, getting it groovy. As we do all of those dance moves, we're going to be analyzing which ones work best for an animated dance move. Really going to break down the whole process, and thumbnailing, sketching your design, refining your designing Photoshop. Then bringing it over to after effects to do the animation based on the movement, then bringing it back to Photoshop to add some details, coloring, defining it, and finally, exploiting your dance move for. This is also going to give you a lot of those learnings that are very vital for you to start animation, and can give you another level of understanding of body movements and character animation. So I'm very excited to teach you guys this class today. Thank you so much for letting me be your teacher. Let's jump into it. 2. Animation is For Everybody: So today we're going to be doing a simple dancing character animation. This project is really good because it's going to give you the basics, the fundamentals of animation and a flavor of what character animation is about. So there's a couple of classic exercises that are almost mandatory for people trying to animate like bouncing balls or walking cycles. I wanted to give you guys something within those lines but with an extra from personal flavor and that's why you know, dance loop, and you get to see a little bit of the basic principles of animation but get to apply more human personal body movement to it. Also, it's important to say that animation can be a very time consuming thing and it's a labor full of impatience. Therefore, that's why we needed a task that would be a bit smaller and more manageable. That's why making those kind of loops can be very exciting because they're still going to be time consuming but not as time consuming as full animated scene and this is a good contained exercise for you guys to get a flavor of how fun animation can be. So before we start, I just wanted to share with you guys a couple of amazing examples just to inspire you guys and show you a range of how it can work to have super-simple animated dance loops, from being super simple to more complex ones and how much fun you can have within that range as well. So I'm going to start with this one. It's done by this amazing animator called Mantas. As you can see, it's super simple like the legs are not moving. It's just like the torso and pens and hair and head. That's why its so great. It's simple yet it's spot on and it's relatable. So it's just good to point out that not all dance moves have to be this whole full body, complicated complex movement. Also this is a really good example, how adding a little prop can just bring a whole thickness to the story. It's Friday, she's celebrating and if that glass of wine wasn't there, maybe this would mean something else but because she has her legs spread open, she's got a wine glass ready at the end. She's banging her head, that tells you like a whole story of how she ended up doing this. It says a lot and here we are. Even though it's a two second loop, here we are talking about it for a couple of seconds already. So a lot of these interesting animations, they just hook you on it and they are nice to look at and they mesmerize you for a couple of seconds even though they are so short. This one is from a friend of mine Frida Ek, she works at animate and she's a fabulous designer and animator as well. I mean, this is so great because it just evolves at an amazing rate. First, you see this lady that's kind of beta's pose but you don't really get to see a lot of it. But then suddenly like, yes, boobs out. It doesn't apply to physics. It doesn't apply to the real world but that that's why animation is so great. You can make something that is just not real but it works perfectly well, and is so expressive and she's so free and wild and crazy and bold. It's fun to see how you're combining, Frida in this case is combining some popular dance moves with completely unexpected wild dance moves. Also, I think it's good to say how simple this character is. You don't need to have a crazy design with lots of layers, shadows, highlights and all. This is a simple based design and it works really, really well because then it allows you to bring the animation so far away because you have something very simple but then you can really put an effort into making animation great. So just to give you guys a little overview of the whole process that we're going to be doing today. We're going to be taking away from the computer and going more analog. First, we're going to put in our favorite tune and record a couple of dense moves to use as a video reference. Then afterwards we just going to go to the sketch book and start thumb-nailing our movements to understand it better, understand our key poses, the in-betweens and where are the main poses they're going to define our movement. Then we're going to be designing our character from sketching to refining it in Photoshop. After we design our character and we have it all set, we're going to move into animation and for that we're going to combine the two softwares After Effects and Photoshop. So before jumping into all of those softwares After Effects and Photoshop, we are going to do or next lesson which is going to be about getting away from the computer and recording a good video reference for your dance loop. 3. Recording a Video Reference: So in this lesson, we're going to be getting a video reference for our animation. It's really important to have a video reference because that way, you can really understand and analyze your movement. You can play it as many times as you want. You can pause it, you can go frame by frame, you can really pay attention to all of those juicy micro movements that maybe are just a head tilt, or a little twitch over there, and maybe like a slight anticipation before doing something. But those things, even the smallest things, they can add so much to the whole acting and the whole message they're going to convey through your animation. So this is just one quick example to give you guys about how sometimes having a good reference not only can be good for you, but can also be good to show your intentions to a client. For example, I was doing this simple loop for Valentine's Day for a snapshots to send to all of their users on Valentine's Day this year. This is just a short part of it. But I had this little, not too little, actually really fat chubby heart rolling around. I had envisioned in my head. But one thing is having it in your head. The other thing is also showing the client what you're after. This is also why I say that this is such a blessed job or such a good industry to be in because I actually got to send this to the client, this super fat rolling raccoon. But it was a perfect precise reference of what I was going after. The way that he drags and he's really, wohwoh, he feels really fat and blubby while he is rolling. It's great to have this kind of reference so you can analyze it like, what makes this good? Why is it funny? And try to bring that to your animation as well. I mean as silly as it sounds like, while I was working on this project, I was looking at this GIF, analyzing it seriously, and try to understand what part of his body was moving first and how the whole rolling thing happened because there's a lot of different ways it can roll, and what makes this specific roll funny and try to bring that over to our little chubby rolling heart. So to get the video reference for this class, I'm going to be recording myself doing some dance moves. You're free to record yourself. But if you don't feel brave enough, you can always record a friend who's got a lot of swag or you can find a YouTube clip that you feel inspired by, or you can download some of the assets that we're going to be making available for you guys from the dance moves that we record today. So yeah, thinking about what movement works well for this looping animation, it's good to think it should be a movement that feels fun and has a bit of humor to it. But most importantly, it should be something that is mesmerizing enough to hook people to look at it for a longer amount of time. It's probably going to be something really quick like a two-second, three-second, maybe five-second loop. But still the GIFs that work the best and the loops that work the best are the ones that just keep people hooked and looking at them for a while. The classic staying alive movement is like, this direction and that direction. So it's very opposite and because of that, you get a nice flow and a lot of contrast. So working on those contrasts create a very vivid strong movement as well. Now I'm going to jump in the other room, get sweaty, try out a couple of different dance moves, and see what comes out of it. Warm up, get ready, put your favorite tune, and lets do this. 4. Choosing a Reference: So welcome back. I hope you enjoyed that demonstration of my skills. Now we're going to be going through our dance moves and understanding what feels good about them, which ones we prefer, and then selecting one of those dance moves and understanding it better, breaking it down, thumbnailing it, and preparing for animation really. So for the sake of preparing better for this class, I've already done a couple of those dance moves back in my place in London, also to be able to dance like no one else is watching, which was what I did. So we're going to be analyzing those movements to pick our favorite. I like this one. Okay let's pause it a bit. I like this one, the whole elbow way thing, because it feels that there's a bit of variation there, a bit of extremes, you go from side to side and it's still like it can feel like a really good seamless loop, and it's got some good personality to it as well. There is some movement with the knees. But it still feels quite contained. This one is fun. This feels like just got a promotion. Let's watch it again. Just got a promotion dance move. This feels like a sassy old man. It's got some good personality to it. Again, just got promoted. This is fun. A bit like flossing, but the guerrilla take on the flossy and it's going to be more very easy as it seem as well. So yeah, this is a favorite. I think it's cool with this exercise to try to then select someone else. Like this I tried to dance like a, how would an old person feel and move and be at the dance floor or how would I don't know, how would a baby that's, and try to observe those things maybe find a good video reference for that. So yeah, we have a couple of good options here, but I do think this one is my favorite because I'm not right quite seen anyone rocking those moves on a dance floor yet it's unique, it's fun, it's very playful. I can already kind of like see the characters in my head and the kind of direction that I want to go to and still it feels quite contained because the legs are not moving that much, it's all about the arms. There's not a lot of head movement as well, so it's very much about being expressive with the arms which gives me a lot of room to teach you guys the things that I want to teach you. So sweet, we've picked our move. 5. Sketching Thumbnails: So I cut a little section of that dense move isolators. So I could just, as I told you guys, play it on loop, try to understand it. How is this movement happening? Which part of my body is leading the movement and moving first? I did some rough cutting, so it's not a super seamless loop, but when we get to animate it, it's going to be seamless. So now what we're going to do is, we're going to play it frame by frame to try to understand it, and start sketching, as we're trying to understand our poses. So breaking down a movement is crucial to understanding it. What part is moving first? Which body poses are the most important, and the body poses that define your movement? Which part is rotating in which ankle, and the frequency that they move? Because sometimes they move at different rates as well. So let's get our sketch books, get out of the computer for a bit, and do some drawings. So thumbnailing is a very important step to animation, which I've never heard of it before when I started to animate, and then when I heard the term, it just made so much sense. Because animation is a really time-consuming thing, and you can't just jump straight into it without having a roadmap, without having a plan for it, and having an idea of what you want to do. So it's just quick little sketches. If you don't draw very well, that's fine. Just do stick figures, I'm going to do pretty much stick figures myself. But it's just for you to work out the silhouettes, and the poses, and figure out your key poses, and know your movement before you jump into animating it, because I myself done that mistake of not really knowing what I was doing, and starting in animation, and try to figure out as I was doing it, and that takes so much time. Actually sitting down, thumbnailing it before, and taking your time to prepare for your animations, to plan your animation, saves you an insane amount of time in the long run. So let's do this first, get your animation prepared, and understand the movement before we jump into animation. As I said, this one is slightly tricky to understand the key poses in the extremes. What I usually do when I have to understand an extremist like, what moment can you get that feels that it gives you the pacing and the rhythm? With this one, since the arms have this super fluid continuous motion, to feel the extremes, I might not be too focused on the arms actually. You can see that there is this movement of the body that is really bouncy, and also you can see that my ankle is a really good mark for the rhythm. If I pause it here, when it touches the ground, the other ankle is lifted, and then the same thing happens here, but then just shifting the feet. This just gives me a good mark for like, okay, this is one key pose, and then this is another key pose. What is good about this movement as well is that it's really symmetric, which makes it a bit easier for us to replicate. Again, super simple drawings. Do it with stick figures if you may, but just for you to understand the silhouettes, and where the limbs are, where your arms are, the feet, everything. So let's start this. I'm going to start by my torso. Actually, I'm going to make this slightly bigger so you guys can see it better, but I usually do this drawings really, really tiny just to get a vibe of the poses. So you can see there's a slight curvature to my body in the key pose. So I am going to do my torso first. It's this line indicating that's like curvature. So my hips, and then we do the face. It doesn't have to be super accurate, this is just for you to start to understand the pose. Animation, you perfect it at every new step of it. You can see that this leg is slightly flexed, but then my heels are touching the floor. Whereas this one, it's more flexed. Then you have my ankle is high up. You can ignore this bit. Then, with the arms at this point, this arm, it's raised up, whereas the other one, it's in the back, like this. But we don't get to see it because I'm covered and not a lot of skeleton like in my thumbnail. Yeah. It goes in the back. Then let's move it to the next key pose. The next key pose is pretty much the same, flipped. Now, I have some arms in front of me as well. So it's going to be the opposite curvature. Then hips right here. Now, this ankle is on the floor. When figuring out the key poses, you're looking for a clear distinction, and a clear marking, like I can use this as a point to determine that this is one key frame of my animation. This is what we are doing here. So this ankle is flat on the ground, where it's at its lowest. At the same time, that the other ankle is at the highest position. So what we're looking for when we try to dig in for key poses is extremes and contrast. So we have a clear distinction of that pose as well. Then the head is here. Then the opposite arm is over here. But now, this arm is in front of us. There's a fun thing that you can do in animation, that is like breaking the joints, because even though this is a more realistic part of it, I could also erase this, and instead of doing this curvy arm, I can do an exaggerated, breaking the joint version of it. As this arm is coming down, it is going this impossible shape, like Macaroni, Spaghetti arms. That can add a lot of fun to it. So I might as well try this when I'm animating it. Then the next key pose is going to be pretty much the same, but the arm is shifted. So it's going to be pretty much the same as this first one, but this arm is going to go to the front now. So little torso again. Hips. Same thing with the raised ankle. This one, flexed leg, but ankle is flat on the ground. This arm is raised again. Now, what happens to this arm is pretty much what happened to this arm up here. So as you can see, this can be super rough and ugly, as these ones are, but it's just to give you a rough idea of how this works. Then now, what's going to happen with this is going to be this one, but with the arm back, like in the first thumbnail. This one is flat on the ground. This ankle is up. Heel up, not the ankle. I can't speak English. Now, this arm goes to the back. Then last but not least, one thing that I've noticed while I was playing it frame by frame, in between those key poses, you can see that there is a moment that both heels are high up, but in this intermediate position, just in-between. So we're just going to make a little note here that in-between all of those movements, there is this moment here that my body's pretty straight. Torso is straight, the legs have a very even flexing. Both heels are slightly up. Then from this one, the arm is going to go up. So the arms are pretty much in the middle of it. This one is going to be in the back, whereas this one is going to be starting to descend. This position with both heels slightly up, your body is very centered. This in-between is going to happen between all of this, from this to this, from this to this and, from this to this, and from this back to where we started. So this is what we're looking for as an in-between pose, but with variations on this arm. Yeah. I think we're good with thumbnailing. Now we have a clear vision in our heads of how are we going to start, what poses we're going to be setting on After Effects, and this just gives us a clear plan of how to get things done, and where to start from. That's it. Animation time. 6. Designing Your Character: So in this lesson, we're going to be sketching our character, figuring out a couple of options, and try to pick the best one for then snoop. We're going to do it on paper first, then bring it over to Photoshop to polish it, refine it, get our design a 100 percent there before we start to animate. So I went ahead actually and I've done a couple of sketches. Now that we have the post figured out like the key pose, I was trying to play with proportions and see what would work best. Since it's very heavy on the arms and the limbs and stuff, that should be the main focus. So first, I was trying to go for this super crazy long limb guy and then what happen if it's skinny, what happens if it's a bit chunkier, what happens if I try to balance the whole thing with little bit of a power here, going to draw this girl that I'm quite fond of, long crazy impossible long limbs, and then this flowy hair in the back. Then like with this other girl that held grounded. She felt quite funny with the ice cream cone hair-do. She looks fun but not super fun. So let's try to go for this chunkier guys with big arms, heavy arms which brought me to this guy which is actually a little bit like my first girl but a bold dude. What I thought it was really fun about him was that he still has all the crazy limbs and the armband, the headband, and the ankle warmers and stuff. I think it's quite fun he's quite unique and he's going to give us a lot of space for us to amplify that crazy fluid arm movement. So he's got a little of super tall, floppy arms, tube men with 80s jean outfit. We're going to go with this guy. So yeah, it's just about sorry simple doing it at the next version that you do it, you make it slightly better. I think animation is all about that. You start simple, you polish it a lot of times until you get to your final version really. Even though like I love starting on paper and stuff, I know that as I said it, like I'd prefer to go from something that is already built and kind of tweak it around and I find that Photoshop is really helpful for that. You get a drawing as a base and then you just build on it and refine it, polish your sketch, and then you just design it and add the colors and the textures that you want. You don't need to do anything crazy, and scan it, and have a scanner or something. I usually just grab my phone, take a picture, import in to my computer, and just take it into Photoshop, draw on top of it, and tweak it, and that's what we're going to do now. 7. Refining in Photoshop: We have our picture from our little sketch, and now we're going to bring it into Photoshop. I'm just going to go by 1920, 1080. This is a standard video format really, and resolution is 72. You don't really need more than that for screen resolution. So we're going to go with that, boom. Then we're going to drag our little guy. There he is. Just going to make him slightly bigger. Basically, what we're going to do now is just trace on top of this just to get the cleaner lines that we can refine and polish, and just have something that we can tweak better really. Paint a new layer here. Photoshop already comes with these amazing brushes, and I have a personal favorite, which is this charcoal pencilily one. There's honestly a bunch of brushes for you to explore and I'm just going to stick with this personal favorite, and just literally start tracing on top of this. It's just really to get a cleaner line so we can see things better. It doesn't have to be perfect at this stage because all of these stages is about polishing it a bit more. So it gets better at every stage really. Basically just tracing over, creating the outline for a character so we can tweak it using a couple of tricks that I'm going to show you guys. As you can see, I just switched off this little toggle here so we don't need actually this picture anymore. We can delete it. Now, usually what I like doing is I put this guy on the side and I like to have some options. I have this sketch, but I like to tweak the shapes a little bit and get to explore a couple of options before I settle down, like this is the final shape that I want to work with. So what I'm going to do is, I'm going to duplicate this layer. We're going to have this guy on the side just for the sake of comparison. So this is the trick. First, I'm going to show you this lasso tool that you can select the bits from your character that you want to alter. Let's say that I want this arm to be smaller, but that's not the case, but it's just like it gives you control of sections of illustration. This is a good way to tweak your illustration around and figure out some changes that you want to do, another really good tool that is super helpful is. So there's this filters and this one called liquify. People use it a lot to just retouch pictures, and I actually use it a lot to just tweak my drawings, or I find it especially good for topography as well by getting the right weights to each letter and all of those things, but you're going to see what I mean. Let me just do one thing first. So here you have this option of showing the backdrop of it. I'm just going to put the background. Show backdrop kind, sweet, just so we have a better visibility of it. Then here you have all of these tools that it is as if you're giving a nudge to the shape and pocking it and try to put it where you want it to be. You're going to see that all these tools on your left, they do different things to your shapes. So just for the sake of showing you quickly, this one, for example, it shrinks things and you can see how that can be useful for photos as well, but we're going to go back to it. But what I want with mine, I just want to give it gentle nudges to my shape. So I'm feeling that even though you can see that his body is quite rectangular, but I think it would be funnier if his shoulders were a bit smaller and had more like a triangular, slightly not too much, but just slightly more triangularish at the top. So you see, I'm the kind of person that if I was going to draw this and get the shape right, it would take me way longer because I would have to do it, erase it, do it again. But with this, it just allows me because I think that my brain and my eyes are so much more faster than my hands. So I manage to do it way faster just by giving a pre-existing shape just a little nudge. Because this arm feels like it should be more, too big. His head has to be a little bit. I think this is already better, this more triangularly shape to his torso instead of being just a rectangle, I think it's cooler. Then one thing I want to try out is, what happens if we make his neck a bit longer? Maybe a bit too long. Let's just give it. I want to exaggerate, but it's got to be some limit. I'm going to just duplicate this guy, we need here to this side, it's getting tight in here. Actually, I'm going to make this composition just slightly bigger so we can seen them better. So just to make our workspace a bit bigger, you just select the crop tool, and then just to make it both sides, I pressed option slash Alt, I guess it depends on the kind of computer you use. I'm just going to move these guys a bit so they are a bit more spaced out. Cool. I just wanted to test one thing in this last dude. What happens if it is the opposite? Instead of him having a very long neck, he is actually a bit more tucked in, sorrow head. There you go. I think the two last ones, they're definitely more fun than the first one, but I feel more compelled about this middle guy actually because I think it just enhances the whole vibe that he's very long and his neck is long, and everything about him is pretty long. It just adds this extra longness to his body. So we're going to go for this middle one and now we going to refine the drawing, which is basically just coloring over what we have traced and polishing it, adding a couple more details, maybe some shadows and highlights. So yeah, let's see how that goes. 8. Adding Color and Detail in Photoshop: So yeah, I'm going to delete these guys, I'm sorry you're not welcome to the dance party anymore. Now I'm just going to go ahead, add up that one layer for each color, add some details, figure out some shadows and highlights, let's do this. So I had this idea that for his body because it's all like very long, and elastic, and flapping limbs and all of that, that it would be fun to give him this bubblegum, pinkish color to make him feel even more elastic. Pink is going to add a lot of fun to him. So let's do that. I'm just going to use the same brush really. Then let's see what size of brush is going feel nice. It's fine and good nice pink. This should be gray. We can always adjust colors afterwards and I can show you guys also little trick to reviewing your colors after this. You can use slightly bigger brush. This is the more meditative part of the design bid, it's just coloring over and edit details. So I think that for his suit, and armband, and ankle warmers, I think it could be quite fun if he was a bit like Wonder Woman suit. It's a bit dark blue, like a blue suit with some stars. Because he's a star, here's a dance star. Wristband, then I'm going to give them this little corner to make them feel more integrated with the arm wrapping around. I think to make this an extra fun and poppy, I want the background to be colorful as well, not just dull white background. So let's spit in like a nice red for now and we can change it later if you want. It's kind of cherry red. This looks good because then his head band and the sneakers could be white. So I'm just going to put this layer on top, turn the opacity down a bit, it's just like a reference where I can see it. It's good like the more layers you've got, you start naming them because otherwise you can get. I'm going to call these blues and I call this body pink sweep. So this can go headband, smaller brush, may be turn even less opacity so I can see better sweep. White headband, white sneakers. Yeah, cool. I think we're at a good stage with this one just so you guys can see a bit of the process. I went ahead and did a little cooking show kind of approach to it. Just so you didn't have to see me doing all of these layers and I just spent some tweaking of details that I usually do. So we have this more final polished version of where I was. So let's zoom in so we can see it better. Edit some shadows and details with the finger, here on the left you can see that I did this finger there is behind a bit darker, I've added some slides, highlights here on his head coming from the top left facing it. If you're facing the drawing, edit some details and shadows to his suit, some stars, Wonder Woman stars. But even though I quite enjoyed the vibrant red, I'm not entirely super sure about it. So let's see if it works better with other colors in the background instead. The shortcut for this tool is comment hue and it just gives you like control over colors with hue saturation and brightness and you can see that just by changing the hue, I'm interested to see if there is an option that we can get a bit of contrast to his skin, may be a lighter blue. Maybe this is my movie show, little less saturation, let it be a bit lighter. Yeah, something like this could work. I mean, we can go back to and compare it, and when they're quite like the red, I do think the character and the whole animation is going to read better on the light blue background so I'm going to stick with this one and then the last thing I want to add is just a little shadow just underneath his foot. So what I do is I just take the eyedropper, pick the color of the background, and I'm just going to take like a shade that is slightly darker and I have to be perfect like a part of the whole hand-drawn you know texture and lookies that things are a bit more and perfect. Cool. I think we're done with for our design, our character is ready for animation, so let's do this. 9. Introduction to Adobe After Effects: So now, before we actually start animating our character, we're going to take a look at some basic principles of animation, and also a little overview inside animating, basics of animation, inside After Effects as well. After Effects can be a little bit daunting if you've never opened it before because the interface can be very overwhelming. So a lot of buttons, a lot of panels, and I think it can be really good that you open it for the first time and you have a person holding your hand and walking you through it. So hopefully, I can be that person for you and just help you begin your exploration inside After Effects, so you feel really comfortable exploring it by yourself afterwards. So let's do it. So here, when you open After Effects, you have this starting section, and we're just going to start a new project. Sweet, once you're here, you can start any composition, and you can either do that by clicking on this little bar, create a new composition, you can come here, create a new composition, or you can just make a position. Here, I'm going to call this squares, you're going to see why afterwards. So the standard, the industry standard by dimension is this high-quality 1920 by 1080, but this is basically the size of your art board, but in terms of films. Here is the frames per second, the frame rate of your composition. The frame rate is basically the amount of images that you're going to have within a second, old school animation is just the amount of drawings as well that you're going to have per second. But the rule is that, the bigger the number of the frames that you're going to have per second, the smoother your animation is. So the more frame you put in a second, the smoother it feels, and then the less frame is you put per second, the choppier it feels as well, but we're going to see this in action. Traditional animation uses 24 frames per seconds, so that's what we're going to go for, that's what they used to do at Disney. Here, five pixels is the standard, I don't mess around with this that much. I'm going to put three seconds, three seconds is a good size for what I am going to show to you guys, background color, here you can choose what color you want for your background, we're going to leave it white for now. Then we go to composition, look at that, you can zoom in and zoom out by pressing command plus and command minus. So let's take a look at the panels here, you have this toolbar here at the top, and you have a bunch of panels here. This is a little preview of my timeline, once you press play, it plays all the frames, but for now, we have nothing we need to play. Here we have some effects and presets, here is some stuff that we're going to see afterwards, but tools that can help you align your shapes, and tools for dealing with type and fonts. But this is the most important thing, this is your timeline. This is a really good tip, so if you press command back and forth with the arrows, you can navigate between the frames. So sometimes when you open After Effects, it comes here with the counting of frames until it hits a second, and then counting the 24 times again until it hits two seconds. Here you have your main tools actually. 10. Understanding Adobe After Effects: So yeah. I'm going to give you guys a little lesson about solids and also basics of animation. So let's do this. So if you click here, click and hold, you're going to see all of these different solids. Today we're going to be doing some squares. So I selected a square, and here, you can see that you have the fill and the possibility to add a stroke. I'm going to put the fill white because I really want to focus on the strokes so we can get a sense for the shape and may be 10 pixels is enough for the width of the stroke. So when you're drawing a solid, when you just click and drag, you can do a rectangle, but if you want to keep it regular, you just have to hold Shift while you're doing it. But then an important thing is that if you build it this way, so you see that I have this shape layer here that appears, this is my rectangle. This is pretty much how whenever you draw something or have an element inside After Effects, this is what happens. You have this layer here and you have all of these properties inside After Effects inside every single layer that you can mess around with. But important to say that if I draw my shape this way, and I opened here I have my contents and I have my rectangle, and here, I have my rectangle path. It gives me access to a couple of things, like I can change the size of it here, and if I unlink the two, the width and the height, I can change them separately but it doesn't give me the freedom to actually move the points around and change the path of that shape as much as I usually want to. So I'm actually going to delete this and tell you guys an important tip, which is, whenever you're creating shapes and you want them to be fully editable, you have to press "Alt" or "Option", and then you drag your shape. You can see that it's already different. Again, the squares at each corner, they look different. Then to make it regular, I'm going to press "Shift" as well so it's a perfect square, and then I'm going to release it. Now, if I open this section here of the rectangle and I see path, I actually manage to see this little clock here and I can make keyframes and animate this path. So let's take a look at creating keyframes. So in every single property, if I drop down this menu, this is all the options or some of the options of things that you can animate about this shape. I can animate the position, I can animate the scale, the anchor point, rotation, opacity. Let's talk about anchor points first. So anchor points are a big one. So the anchor point is pretty much where your animation is the point of origin for all of these properties to change and is the pivot point for rotation. So let's see what happens. At the moment, my anchor point you can see is this little finger here. So let's say, for example, that I want to rotate my shape. If this is my point of origin, this is my pivot point, if I rotate my shape, it's going to rotate around this point in the middle. But I usually like to start by centering this anchor point inside my shape. You can do it by selecting this tool, the anchor point tool. If you select it, click on the anchor point and bring it to the middle. Then there's this really useful thing that After Effects incorporated a couple of versions ago, which is this snapping little checkbox that it maps perfectly into the most important points of your shape. What happens note that I centered the anchor point at the center of the shape, is that if I rotate my square, it rotates having this as the point of origin, the pivot point. So now what I want to do is actually I'm going to just move this around a bit with the arrows, and I want to animate the position of this square. What I'm going to do is this little stopwatch here, every time you press it, it generates a keyframe. This is a pretty little keyframe over here. Then I'm going to move all the way up on my timeline to one second, and I want my square to move to the other side in one second. So I'm just going to press "Shift", and go to the right with the arrows. I just press "Shift" so it moves in bigger blocks because if you move without pressing "Shift", it goes at tinier spaces. So let's just do a bigger and bigger movement. Let's just make the shortest. So this is the amount of the composition that you want to play because maybe you just want a shorter loop and you're examining a specific bit of animation, you don't want to play the whole thing, just a little section. So this part here at the top helps you define the size of the thing you want to see. It's moving. Look at the square moving. One thing that is important to say, just doing a little recap here, is that if I'm going to delete this one out, so we're back to just having one keyframe. So I have my layer selected here. The moment that I alter the position of that square, it's already going to generate a keyframe. You see that at the bottom? So it's already understanding that I'm changing the position so it creates a keyframe immediately. The program interpolates between those two keyframes, which means that the program is going to be calculating what's going to happen here in the middle in doing the whole thing by itself. By all means if I want to tell the program that actually here in the middle I want this shape to go down, you're going to see it's also going to create a keyframe there at the bottom because I just gave new inputs to After Effects. But let's give it a straight line for now. So you're going to see that at this point, this square is moving in a quite linear way, the speed is always constant. This is actually not very often in real life that we were facing this kind of situation that things are moving in a linear way. Things actually move at a different speed and acceleration and with easing in and easing out. So let's take a quick look at that. So I'm going to name this square linear, and for you to name a layer, you just have to press "Enter", and then it's going to make it editable, and you press "Enter" again, it's all good. So this is my first square. Then a good tip for you guys is that if you want to instead of doing this whole like drop-down menu seeing all of this unnecessary things because I only animated the position, if you click on the layer and press "U", you only get to see the important keyframes, the properties that you set the keyframes for. So I'm going to duplicate this square. To do that, I'm going to press "Command D", and now we have a second square. What I'm going to do is I'm going to move here at the beginning, I'm going to press "U" so I can see the position for my second square as well, and I'm going to select these keyframes just to make sure that those two keyframes opposition, I'm moving them together down. I can either come here and select it or I can just click "Position", it selects all my keyframes, and I'm going to move it down a bit. So this is just so we have a little bit of a comparison. I'm going to introduce you guys to this guy, the graph editor. The main thought behind we start messing with this graph editor is that we're doing more advanced, more natural movements as well instead of the speed of things just moving in a linear way, they're going to have acceleration, they're going to be more dynamic, and they're going to be nice. So you select the keyframes of the property that you want to take a look inside the graph editor. So you can see here that what this line is telling me is, because here you can see the speed that things are moving, and here it's just telling me that it's all moving at a constant speed. But what happens here is that I have a couple of options that I can click and affect those keyframes. So what I'm going to do first is click on this easy in little button. It gives me this handle that I can push back and forth to make it very exaggerated and make the acceleration curve really steep or a little more settle. But I'm going to make it really steep just so you guys see the contrast and what this is doing to my acceleration and the overall movement. What this is telling me is that my movement is going to start really fast and slow down until it gets to zero. So let's see what is happening also comparing to the one at the top. This is where it starts to get really fun because it can work with those curves and get the perfect speed for things. It's just where all the fun is really. So this is the square easing in. What it means by easing in is that it's easing inside that last keyframe. It's like it's getting slower as it gets to the end. Now I'm going to duplicate the top one again, "Command D", "U" to open my keyframes. Select the keyframes, shift down to bring it at the bottom, and then I'm going to do the other way around actually. So let's select the keyframe, open my graph editor, and then let's do the opposite that it's going to start really slow and end fast. So it's going to take awhile. Let's see if that's what's going to happen. Yep. So you see that they all literally have the same timing. By having the same timing, means that they're moving at the same space of time, the same rhythm, the whole movement happens within the same window of time, but they have different spacing. What does that mean? So there's this trick inside After Effects that here on the Layer Menu, you can open a new adjustment layer and then inside my effects, there is this effect called CC Wide Time. I'm going to double-click it. What it does is that it allows me to see the frames before and after. It's like onion skin. So onion skin is this concept inside traditional animation that you get a glimpse, you see a lower opacity, the frames from before and the frames from after. So you get a better understanding of what's happening throughout your animation and how spaced out are the drawings between them. Then just for us to compare, so this third square was the ease out. Another really useful little thing is that After Effects is that if you press, you see this little dot. If I press it in whatever layer, it only shows me that layer. So let's take a look at my wide time layer as well. Turned on. I'm also going to turn that on. So with the first square that we created, you can see that the drawings always have the very same spacing. It's moving in a linear way, there is no acceleration. The speed is pretty much the same throughout the whole thing. But then on my second one, it starts really fast and you can see that the drawings are very spaced out, and then when it gets slower, you have a lot of drawings that are very close to each other. That gives the illusion that things are moving very slow, is having a lot of drawings until it gets slower and slower. Then on my third one, it's the opposite. It starts by having a lot of drawings very close to each other moving very slowly until the very end that things get really spaced out. So this is just like whenever you're animating things, this wide time trick can be really useful for you to compare things. 11. Building Your Character in After Effects: Now, you got a little intro of After Effects. You know your way around it so it's time to actually get our hands dirty and start animating our bubblegum swaggy dude. So let's do it. So yeah, I'm going to start a new project. New composition, 1920 by 1080, 24 frames per second. Let's put it like three seconds but I think we're going to stick to two seconds and keep this loop a bit more contained. White background. I'm going to import my reference. There you go. I know this guy. Now, what I'm going to do is recreate this design but using the shapes that I have in After Effects, just recreated in vector, so we can animate it. So we're going to use this as a reference and start building solids on top. There's a couple of things here to take into consideration. Since we know that our movement is very symmetric and things are very mirrored, I'm going to be smart about this, and I'm going to create just one leg and one arm because the things that we did to one leg, we can just flip it, shift the timings a bit, and then it's going to work for the other leg. Then the things that I did to one arm, we can just duplicate it, shift the timings a bit, and it's going to work for the other arm as well. At this point, when you're creating all of these solids, the color is not really that important. It doesn't have to be your final colors. I usually use colors that are very poppy and different from each other so I can really differentiate like this is the head, this is my arm, and this is my leg. So when it's time for actually coloring in Photoshop, I can see which part is which, and I can just apply colors there. So you don't have to worry about colors at this point. So let's start with his head. I'm going to use the Pen tool. When you're recreating your character inside After Effects, you want to get as much hint as possible of the elements that you're going to draw because otherwise, if you don't do that, and let's say that I don't draw this chest elements and the nipples and the one single hair. If I just do that by hand, frame-by-frame in Photoshop, it might end up quite wobbly because in one frame it might be at one place and then in the other frame it might be slightly dislocated. So you want to have as much reference as possible. For some things you really don't need to like this side of your face. One good thing to show you guys at this point. So let's say I just wanted to animate this head rotating and all. If I rotate the head, the face elements don't necessarily go along. So this is where this tool in After Effects is super, super, super handy so you don't have to animate the head and the face elements, and it's all in a big mess. You can parents things, you can connect things inside After Effects. So this little swirly little dude, you can pick whip and connect to the layer that you want to parent it with. So I'm going to parent my face elements to my head. Now, when I rotate my head, everything is moving together. While you're building your character, you want to make sure that you also organizing your layers, parenting things around, making them connected. So when it's time for animating, they're already prepared for you to animate. So now, I'm going to build the arm or one arm because we don't need to build both, and you're going to see that. So the way that I build limbs usually is that I build a stick stroke. Actually, for this, I'm not going to mind my hands and my fingers for now because I know it's going to be way faster to just draw them in detail in Photoshop. I do prefer to do these by hand, and just have the reference for the arm, but then do the fingers separately really. So here we have one arm. There's a little trick I'm going to show you guys for the wristband, is that. So I'm going to call this arm. What you can do here is the shape one, I'm going to need arm. I'm going to duplicate it. I'm going to call it wristband. There's this little trick here that you can go on this section here, Add. First of all actually, I'm going to just change the color of my stroke, so we can see the difference. The wristband, you can see it's slightly thicker than the arm itself. So let's make it a bit thicker. I'm going to add Trim Paths. So what happens here is you're going to see that I'm basically using the same path, but is limiting it to the length that I wanted to have. So what happens now is that, and this is a very important tip and very important trick inside After Effects as well. So let's say that I want to animate my arms, popping around and stuff by animating the path of it. What happens now is that if I just animate this arm path, the wristband is not necessarily going to follow. So what we have to do is to also parents the path. So the path of the wristband is also animating together with the path of the arm. So that way we just have to animate one of them. So I'm going to show you guys how to do it. I'm just going to make this bigger so we have more visibility. Then, let's go back. Yes. So here, I'm going to open the path for the wristband and the path for the arm. So basically, what you're going to do is you're going to option or Alt click on this little watch of the path. That creates a little expression. So expressions are this coding, writing things inside After Effects, but we don't have to go super deep on that because that's a whole other lesson. But it's just going to allow me to pick whip this little parenting guy and tell that I want the path for the wristband to be connected to the path of the arm. Now what happens if I try to animate this path, they're both connected. You can see that the path for the wristband is following the same path for the arm. There you go. We have our arm. One last thing that I want to do actually is here, you can change the properties of your stroke. You can see that for the wristband, I want to keep the reference of that stroke as a Butt Cap. But for my arm, I actually want to use a Round Cap. So I have a bit of an indication here of where my hand will start when I go to draw on top of it for Photoshop. Sweet. Then it's pretty much the same logic when I'm going to build this for the foot. You can apply this Trim Path techniques to build the shorts, to build super high up socks if your character has socks. If you want to build some crazy pants that have like a rainbow color, you can just use Trim Paths to give you that reference and chop your path depending on the length that you want each sections have really. So let's do his body and just the suit very quickly. I know I'm being sloppy here around the edges because you're going to see that it doesn't really matter. Yeah, he looks a bit like he has a Tutu now, but we're going to fix that. I don't think he needs a Tutu, he's already funny enough. Cool. So we have the basic shape for our suit. What I'm going to do here is I'm going to duplicate my body shape because what I want to tell After Effects is that I want to use these green body shape as a mask to my suit. So it's only going to show what's contained inside that body shape. So I'm going to duplicate it, and I'm going to call this Suite Mate. So here it's important to say that if your menus are not all showing, yeah, I want the Track Matte. So yeah, it's important that if you don't have all of these menus showing, you can always just right-click, go here on your Columns, and turn on your switches. What we're looking after is this guy, Track Matte. So I just copied this body shape with comment D, brought it on top of my suit, and now, what I want to tell is that this guy, the suit shape should only be showing where the body is. So Alpha Matte. There we go. Yeah, I'm just going to crank up the opacity again, so we can see everything. Then just to make sure that my mask is moving whenever my body is also going to be moving, I'm just going to make sure I have everything parented to the body. My head is also parented to my body and my arm, which I'm going to move the anchor point of my arm where the elbow is and parent it to my body. Just a quick recap, the anchor point is the pivot of where your rotation or your scales are going to happen from. So it's basically like setting up the point of origin for your movements and your animations happen. So here, if I start rotating my arm, it's going to rotate from that anchor points. Here, if I rotate my body, if the anchor point is here, I just press R to go straight to rotation. It's just a shortcut. But if it rotates from here, it's going to rotate from the neck, which is quite weird. So for the body, we want to make sure to put the anchor point where it naturally is. So it's from the hips. So it should be pretty much around here. Because everything is parented to the body, everything is moving around as I move my body. If I rotate it around, if I animate his position of the body, everything moves together. So yeah, we started to build up our character, and honestly, I find that a lot of the times that I'm animating inside After Effects, sometimes I even spend as much time to setting up my character, the rig, connecting, parenting all the things before I actually get to animate. It can take a little bit of time, but it's a part of the process, and is actually so far the most speedup way I've found to do things. Once you're done setting up your character, now it's time to actually properly start animating it. So I went ahead and I did all the slightly boring work, but important. For now, this is all we need really. We need one leg, one arm for this specific movement. Because as you're going to see, when I get one arm animated, I can just duplicate it, flip it, and just shift the timings a little bit, and it's pretty much going to work for the other arm as well. The same thing with the leg, and this is the joy of having such a symmetric mirrored movements. It really makes things easier for us. Let's do it. Animations time finally. 12. Animating the Body: Sweet. Now, we have our character set, it's ready for animation, everything led us to this sweet, sweet moment of making things move. Before we jump in, I always like to have my thumbnail sketches on the side so I can take a look and use them as a reference. Whenever you feel like, you can always refer back to your video references well in case you're in doubt of how the timing of things, what's supposed to move first, and all of that. So you can always refer to your video reference as well, that's what it's there for. It's usually the keys actually that I start with the body animation because I feel that the arms are doing things by themselves, but it's easy to set the key poses by the actual movement of the body because while I was doing that dance move, there was a lot of this bounce, and this is what I'm going to start with. So let's start by animating the position of the body, which if I select my body layer and press P, I get access to the position, and then I press a little clock to set up my first keyframe. This as I can see here on my thumbnails, is pretty close to this first position where this arm is raised, and then this, and call this flush to the floor. So now I'm going to put another keyframe. Let's zoom in so we can see. Then my delight for now, it's all going to make sense. I'm going to turn off the leg so we don't get distracted by it. As you can see, I have a little animation here, but we want our character to do is not this, is like this. So here, you can see that this is my path for my position, and it has like the same way as when you're drawing the vectors. It has this little handles here that you can push to alter the path of your position animation. The program interpolates between those keyframes, but this is a way of you telling the program, giving it a better indication of how you want that interpolation to happen. So here, you see that instead of just moving in a linear way, you have this more bouncy equals higher up. Then I wanted to go back to, I don't know where it was before. So I just copy pasted this first keyframe and brought it back here, so it's true. This is pretty much a part of making a looping animation is that you just go back to where you began, and then you want to make sure it can sometimes other effects does that. It's not necessarily going to understand that you want it to follow the same path. So you'll want to come here where it takes two, and you want to break this handle as well so you can have the same curvy path to it. So let's see how this is moving. But the thing is as we spoke before, also actually first of it, I think I want to make this slightly more extreme, I want to push this more to the side, and I want this high peak moments to be more increased. Here, we're going to go back to that graph editor, select the keyframes that you want to work around. It doesn't have select all of them. You can always select them here as well. Again, as I explained to you guys on the basics of after-effects. Sometimes when you open after-effects, it might show you the value graph instead. It's up to you, really this is again, like a personal choice. Some people, they really like using the value graph. I find it that it's just like the way that people's brains are differently wired. My brain takes in the speed graph so much better. Right-click, go to the speed graph. Here's where we can make movements actually interesting, and not just like this linear, going from one place to the other, all in the same speed. This is where we get all the good like easing in, easing out, and get to adjust the speed that we want this movement to happen. I do this all the time, whenever I'm trying to understand a movement, I do it with my hand. So if you're doing this, you'll understand that actually the moments where the keyframes are set, they're supposed to be quicker and you spend more time here in this middle, it's like "peep, peep". So we're going to try to recreate something like that. I might create a keyframe here, just I have this middle section. Make sure that it is right in the middle of it. So here, I've used 12 frames to go to this side, so this is on six. This is the part that I wanted to be at its slowest. So I'm going to put this easy E's, make sure that the speed here is close to zero. Again, like in this little handles, is where you would just how strong you want this curve and this transition to be really. This is all about finding the right curves. So I'm going to do the same with this middle position here when I'm going back that I wanted also to be so. So here, I'm just doing only I need to test it out. Well, let's see what we have so far. So something yet. So we don't want it to be that abrupt. So let's take a look at what's happening. I actually don't really want the position here in the middle to be absolute zero. Just to be slower, but not absolute zero. So sometimes I do this double-click here to see influence. Maybe let's figure like 70 percent. So when I change the influence here, it's just to change like how steep I want my curves to be. I want to make it 70-70, so it's equal on both sides. Then this is pretty much like how close to zero and how far it is on this axis. So let's put I don't know 40, and see how it looks. So here it's a bit slower. It goes down quickly, and then comes back. Here, I'm also going to make it less extreme on the way back. We're going to put the same 70-70 influence that I had, and then 40 on the speeds, so it's not absolute zero when it's there at the top. So it's doing this funky like go back and I want to figure out. So sometimes this is important for you to know because sometimes after-effects has this little glitch that it creates this weird path that you just have to fix by hand. Yeah, see. This is why it was weird. I just have to make sure that the path is all good. I'm going to make them as even as possible. There you go. 13. Animating the Arms: Let's refer back to our thumbnails and try to figure out what's happening with the arms swinging. One thing at a time. So it's important with this, we just want to animate the armed path. We are not really looking to animate the wristband path because that's already parented to my arm. So I'm going to set this key frame here and then this is also a really good shortcut that if you press " U", is going to give you access to just the properties that you set a key frame to. If I go back to the body and press "U", there you go, just the position key frames pops. So this is just a good way for you to visualize once you have a lot of layers and a lot of key frames to your layers, it is good to just visualize the things that you need really. We have the position for the arm here and then here at this other extreme, which should be this second key pose, is the moment that this arm, and here it doesn't really matter at this point if the arm is in front or behind, because we are going to animate it once, then we're going to duplicated it, change the position and it's all going to be fine. This is the moment that this arm comes to the lowest bit, interpolation in After Effects. When you're working with characters, it works really well for things like bodies, like the body or head rotations and head position, and all that but for limbs, a lot of this times you're going to find out that you actually want to be taking a slight frame-by-frame approach but inside After Effects. So you remember we did this in-between drawing, over here, so this is more like the position that we want this to be taking at this point. At this point, the elbow is going to go down first, then the wrist is going to follow, and then the hand is going to do its own thing. So what we want in this in-between here is that, in case this ever happens, like your handles get broken and stuff you can always come here, convert Vertex Tool and just bring it back together again. I'm doing my elbows, slightly done. Let's see. So here, you're going to have to set a lot of these to get the right movement but one thing that I want to do now, just to save us a lot of time as well and make our animation more charming, in my opinion, we're actually going to be animating in twos. We're going to start a new layer, an adjustment layer, and we're going to go here on effects and type Coursera's Sign and it's going to be a 12 frames per second inside a 24 frames per second composition. Again I'm going to call this posterize time. Another good thing about that, is that instead of me having to set 24 key frames to get my arm movements right, and do it frame by frame, I'm doing it with 12 key frames. So at this point, the arms should be the sort of last thing to arrive. Maybe I can copy paste this key frame here, but then move just the hand and slightly the arm. Maybe I'm going to copy this, move it slightly, and then a good thing for you to do is, we're going to create another layer, new adjustment layer and wide CC, wide time and this is where we're almost doing traditional animation but inside After Effects. It gives you a clear overview of the previous key frames that you set. So here you can watch your movement better and make sure that things are following arcs, and just have like a really good flow. I'm going to call this Y time and this to the top just so I can toggle on and off a bit easy. So at this point, I'll just copy this key frame over here just to get like a similarish but the elbows should be slightly higher up, hence you can shift between how many steps. It's just better to see things with this wide time because it gives you a clear picture for this in-between and actually because the hand always drags, the wrist drags and the hand drags and the elbow is the first one to go. So again, Vertex Tool, if you're handles are broken. This is going to be my in-between here. Let's just play to see how it's going. Yeah, getting better or you see it's a lot of tweaking frame-by-frame and watching it. I'm going to leave this on for now and I'm just going to show you quickly with the legs as full. Where's my leg? This is my leg. Cool, so with the leg is super simple. Here if I type "F", it's all connected to my legs. So that's the only path that I need to animate. So here it is in this position. Now we have this first position with my leg. The foot is flat on the ground and then at this extreme here, because this is the in -between, at this extreme here, we use this. You're going to use this reference to put the end of our legs and attach it to the hips. So this is why this point here is to give you a reference of where you should be attaching your leg too. Then the main reason why I didn't really want to parent my leg to my body, is so that this feet would always be-- the tip of it is always touching the ground. It might then move. So I don't want it to move, I want to be there but I just want to alter the shape here because at this point, as you can see on my thumbnail, these heels should be high up. As you can see, again it doesn't interpolate perfectly. So it's a matter of adjusting it really. So here in the middle, I'm going to make sure that I connect. Let's see how it feels. Half of it, and then we need to go back. I'm just going to actually copy paste this first fit movement and put it back in the end so it loops and then in this in-between posts, I make sure that my hip is connected and see how this is feeling really. You can see that its very jumpy here at the at the hips. As you can see here, it is not attached because as I said like interpolation and After Effects is going to work its own way and sometimes you really have to tell After Effects what you want to be doing, because it doesn't always know what you want to do. So yeah, I'm just going to make sure it's all connected at this point. I'm actually not going to show you guys all the intense labor of going frame-by-frame, turning on the onion skinning, trying to get all of those arcs to feel good, because it's just a lot of playing your animation, watching it, and you're like, "This part is not feeling that great, what can I tweak about it?" Then you do it, then you play it again. It's a lot about experimenting until you find the juicy right timing to it. 14. Finishing Your Animation: What I'm going to do is show you guys quickly how you make the whole loop, how you use the same arm movements that you used on your one single limp, how you can duplicate it, use it for the other arm and for the other leg as well. So here's the more polished version of that animation after sitting down, taking my time, really going frame-by-frame, CC wide time adjustment layer just so I could see how one frame was in relation to the previous one. Now, what we're going to do is use this to duplicate the limbs and make sure we have the full entire loop ready as an animation base. Here, you can see that in this one second loop, it's just about the time for my character to do one of these arm swings, but I actually need it to happen twice because one arm swing is in the back, and then the other arm swing is in the front. So I'm going to actually make this a two second comp, and I'm going to duplicate this command C, command V keyframes for it the path of my body. I actually did a little adjustment on the path of the body, just to make it slightly squashy whenever he was at the lowest points. So that's why I have keyframes for my path. Then for the position, as we set before on the archy position path. I'm just going to make sure that I go in because sometimes when you're copy/pasting keyframes from the beginning, they don't really get the right curve here, where you just pasted the last one. So I'm just going to make sure that the curves are the same and the same for the the path. I'm going to do the same with my leg. Get the first section, select the whole thing, command C, command V. Then with the left arm, I'm going to do the same. Just copy the path animation. I did add a slight rotation to it when I was animating it just to make it a bit more fluid. So I'm just going to duplicate this rotation. There we go. Now we have two seconds of the animation. What we're going to do now is with the leg, we're going to duplicate the leg. We're going to right-click on my screen, and we're going to transform, flip horizontal, and I'm going to position it roughly, I didn't do a marker for this one. Maybe I should, but it's fine. I just need like a rough symmetric. Why is this happening? Well it's because they're not supposed to be doing the same thing at the very same time. I'm just going to make sure I duplicate this whole section once more. So this, we want it to be the initial pose for my right leg. So I'm going to release these first ones. If I press here on the path, it selects all my keyframes. I'm going to move it to the very beginning. Then I just have to position it again in the right place. There you go. You have two legs, and you just animated one leg. So this is really good about symmetric moves. Symmetrical movements. Then you pretty much do the same for the arms. So in order for you to have one arm going backwards and then the other arm going forwards, you just literally duplicate it here. You put this one in front of the body, in front of everything actually. Then you make sure that the second section has the arm in the front. This one has the arm in the back. Yeah. You come here and then drag the end of the layer to here. Then this goes in the back, this goes in the front. This goes in the back, this goes in the front. Don't worry about this thing flickering here at the top because literally, this is just a reference for us to use the paint on top, and we know how we're going to deal with it. Sweet. So now, all you have to do is, the same way that I duplicated the leg, flipped it horizontally. You just have to do that with your hand, with your arms as well. So I'm going to name this left arm front. Then just to do it with the other arm, it's going to be right arm. This goes in the back, transform, flip horizontally. Then what I'm going to do is just get my rotation values, actually, let me see one thing. Because the same way that we did with the leg, this guy is also supposed to have shifted keyframes. So we're going to duplicate all of these keyframes. Here, where it was the middle of our animation, we're going to delete what was in the beginning. Together with my rotation keyframes, we're going to bring this to the start. You're going to see what's happening to this arm, it got all funky and twitchy. It's because when you flipped it, you also need to change this rotation values that I added to my arm. So this is what I'm going to do now. This was minus 21. Let's make it 21. This was 30. Let's make it minus 30. Twenty one. Minus 30. Twenty one, then we can actually delete this and this. Then let's see how it's playing. Yeah. Then we just want to make sure that this arm is positioned right. Then the same thing that we've done with the other arm. So this is a good shortcut for you guys to know. Command shift D. Duplicates the layer, but already cutting it, trimming it to the exact point that you set here on the timeline. So I'm going to call this right arm front, and move it up. There we go. We have it. This is it. You made the first draft, the animation base for your dance loop. Now, we're just going to render it quickly so we can bring this movie file into Photoshop and add up all the details, the extra details, all the colors, all the textures that we want. But by all means, if you are more comfortable with the vector look, if you want the vector look, you can just keep polishing and building up your character inside After Effects. Maybe being slightly more careful about the colors. In this process, we weren't really too careful about the colors because we knew we were going to call things in Photoshop. But if you're doing the whole thing in after effects, just make sure you have your design well polished before animating. But that's it. Let's render this out and bring it into Photoshop. So for rendering, you just have to select the composition that you want to render, in this case, animation base, composition, add to render queue. There's a lot of different render settings that you can use. Whenever you're exporting things, like the industry standard, so if you click here on this lossless, it's just going to give you a bunch of different settings. But usually, the industry standard, whenever you're delivering high-quality files to your client, is this one, the Apple ProRes 422 HQ. But in this case, because this is just an animation base really, we can use this lossless preset. It's fine. Here, I just wanted to add it to my desktop, animation base. That's all good. Save, render. That was quick. Then here it is at my desktop. Two seconds of animation. Sweet. Now we have it rendered. We're going to drag it into Photoshop and start polishing it. 15. Outlining in Photoshop: Hello and welcome again to yet another stage of this long process of animation, long but fun and fun as well because the reward of when you see your final piece moving with life is just really exciting and there's nothing better than that really. So first we're going to drag this render into Photoshop. Then usually when you drag a video, it already opens with the timeline and it creates a video group for this little video that you dragged into Photoshop. Then yet two other things to make sure that you have set before you start to animate is, so the same way that I showed you guys that you have onion skin or you can fake an onion skin in after effects by using the CC wide time adjustment layer. Here we have like real onion skin and you can enable it and disable it by pressing this, but is really good to set a shortcut for it because you're going to do this so much all the time like on and off, on and off. Sweep in that way, whenever I press Command O it's on, Command O it's off. So this is easy. Another thing you want to make sure that is enabled is this time-like shortcut keys which when itself you kind of have to navigate your timeline loop like this. When its on, you can literally just use your arrows to go through the frames. One last thing in this menu. So here is just like a basic player and you can navigate through your frames using these buttons as well. But I think that the first time you start Photoshop, the loop playback is not activated. So when you press space bar to make your animation play, it only plays once. As we want to see things looping, just make sure that you check this box and then it's looping. Sweep. We get to go and then what we're going to do first before we actually start coloring and making our proper final layers for our animation. We're missing a couple of things, aren't we? We're missing some fingers and let me say some sneakers with some leases and just better shapes for the foot as well because we don't want them to be as chunky as these, we want them to be a bit more classy. So what we're going to do before we color is just like sketching on top of this just to make sure we get the fingers and get some proper sneakers and leases and also going to sketch the stars here on the shorts. I didn't do them on after effects because I knew that as the legs would bend, the placement of the stars would also change. So it was just going to be quicker to draw them by hand in Photoshop. So cool. I'm going to start a new layer and a couple of different approaches to animating in Photoshop. One is this like layer sort of an emission. The other one is with video layers and they have different purposes and different ways that you can use them but what we're going to show them, both of them for you but as they're needed. Video layers are better for coloring, so that's why we're going to see them later. So let's start with adding some fingers. Yes and black to sketch. Then while you're animating the hand, you have to remember that little and emission principle I showed you guys about overlapping and that things move at a different rate, at a different speed. In this case, first you have your elbow moving and then the wrist follows. Then afterwards is your fingers. So things move at a different speed and at a different moment of time. I'm always going to be remembering this when I draw every frame of this hand as well. The reason why I'm duplicating these layers whenever I want to start a new drawing and erasing them is that if instead of this, I just press for a new layer, it comes with this massive layer and it's just like it takes me way more time to get it to be small again at the length that I want. So this is just a quicker way to do it really. Photoshop is a bit stupid sometimes but we still love it. Just to make sure that you guys understand the size that I make this layer to be, it's for how long it's going to be on the screen really. So only wanted to be there for as much as needed really. In this case it's therefore two frames because they've animated the whole thing in twos. It's 24 frames per second, but it only changes my drawing every two frames. So we're getting a bit more economic decisions, plus it's charming. Plus animating in twos is a bit more charming in my opinion but then it's a lot on taste and what kind of vibe you prefer. Some people are very into super smooth, even 60 frames per second sort of animation. I do prefer the more choppy less frames per seconds sort of animations, but it's all up to taste. So here I just turn my onion skin on because I think that from now on we're going to have bigger jumps between the hand pulses. This gives us a really good window to do some fun smears, do some sorts. So is music kind of like a motion blur but a hand-drawn motion blur. It's kind of connecting the next drawing to the previous one. It's where animation gets really fun because then you can exaggerate things and make elongated shapes. It looks weird if you watch it frame by frame, but the important thing is that you feel it, like it feels good to the brain. You don't really know what happened when you see an animation that has a lot of those exaggerations,you don't really know what happened but it feels good, you like yeah this feels right. So as you guys may notice, I'm making these fingers super long precisely at the fastest points of my animation. The fastest points of my frames are the ones that the hand is a bit more spaced out, there is more room in between the frames. These are the moments where you should be adding smears like here, it should be at its normal shape because it's not super far away. Do you see the elasticity to it? Sweep, you can feel the sweeping and it feels really way more delicious than it would feel if it was just like keeping the metro proportions to it. This is why animation is so fun because you cannot do this live action or any other thing. Duplicate this. See that I can pretty much use this for the second part, actually even better because now my hand goes in front. I might just make some adjustments here at this point. It's all good. Hear at the point that it's actually the leg is covering, I'm going to erase that. So we only get to see what's actually inside a frame. Once you export a GIF, it will hold the present play right. So that's what we have to worry about. Cool. So I've done this for one hand. We're going to duplicate my left hand. We sweep the same thing that we did with removing, duplicating the key frames that we had in after effects. Then removing the first ones up until 12 frames which is the sweep mark that we have there. So that's what we just did. So this hand is going to start at this pose, at this drawing but we're just going to flip it. Then we're going to remove these drawings at the very end because we don't need them. What we're going to do is select. Make sure we select all the drawings and then I'm going to hold Shift. In case you're not seeing like this bounding box, this is where you switch it on and off. Switch it off, switch it sorry, I'm going to switch it on and hold Shift while we're flipping this horizontally and just make sure we're a 100 percent flipping it. We're just going to go to the width there at the top and type minus 100. Let's see here [inaudible]. There we go. So now what we're going to do is just refine the legs a bit. I'm just going to show you the beginning of this process so we can keep things moving. So just in order to not bore you guys with the whole drawing, redrawing, erasing, refining it, because that's what animation is about, you do it again, you refine it until you feel happy about it, until it fills that it's moving good. Let's jump a couple of steps forward. The good old cooking show recipe. This is how it turned out after a little bit of tweaking, adding some details. Let's see it without the motion base. So we can just see the outline. So I've added a couple of details on the armpits and just to get a better indication the moments that the arm was going in front of the body as well because that made a specific sort of arm shape as you can see here, that it gets slightly thinner when it's compressed against the body. So I just realized that I needed more indication of the arm lines and that's why I did it all the way to the elbow. I did my stars on my shorts, I refined a bit of that drag on the hand so it was just exaggerated enough, not too much, not too little. I did my sneakers with the laces. So it's all good. Now we're ready for one of the last stages but the last very work intensive stage which is coloring and refining it. So let's do it. 16. Adding Color and Texture in Photoshop: This is the final stage, all your life has lead to this moment. No, kidding. This is it. All the mental effort of animation is behind you. This is easy-peasy, is literally just coloring, is even the meditative part of it I would say. At this point at work that I don't have to really be doing any brainy thinking, it's just coloring, yeah, next frame, color. I even put a podcast on because it doesn't require a lot of your brain. So let's do this. Let's just relax, color a lot of frames, and see our animation finally coming to life. So I'm going to bring my design frame just so we can eye drop and pick the colors that we want to work with. So we're going to start with the pink. So I'm going to switch this off because we don't need to see it for now. So you guys remember that I was telling you that there is basically two different methods of animating in Photoshop. So one method is this layer by layer, you group them, you put them together, but you just draw different layers, and afterwards you put them in sequence. There is this other method that can be really good for what they call straight ahead animation, which means that instead of you doing key poses and drawing between the key poses, you just do one drawing after the other one. So just to show you guys quickly what it can do, you come here on the layer, video layers, new blank video layer. Let's do it in black so we have more contrast for now. You draw one frame here, and then the next one is already blank. So I'm going to put the onion skin on. We draw a little thing here, and then let's say I want to get this dot moving to another place. Now it's moving really fast, slowly but surely, arriving to another spot. This is just a quick preview of what it does. Maybe it's going to be too quick, but let's see. Just to give you guys an idea of how we can make fluid animations super-quick, super-simple, like this took me one minute. But it's going to be really cool for you to add, let's say you want to add some movement lines, or just add a couple of crazy little dots going around. I don't know, but the thing with this technique in particular is that it can be really good for these kind of things, and experiments, and playing around with animation in general, but it is also really good for coloring because then you color one frame, you jump to the next one, you color another frame, and then instead of you having multiple layers, it's all in one single video layer for every single color. So layer, video layer, new blank video layer again. Let's go back to our pink, and then I'm going to start coloring this. I actually want to turn the opacity down a bit on everything just so I get to see my pink better. Maybe even yeah, like this. For the arms, I'm just going to follow the sketches because I've done a couple of adjustments on them, not going to follow the motion-based file that much. So let's pink this guy up. Look at that. Now the job is to do that with every frame. So the thing is, if I move to the next frame even though it's still the same frame because it's a video layer, it's going to come up as blank. So what I do is, on the frame that I just drew, I'm going to command A to select the whole thing, command C, move it to the next frame by pressing the Right arrow, command Shift V. So cool, now I've done all my speeding up a bit, I've done all my drawings up to one second, and the reason for that is that I know that at one second the whole loop is going to start again. We're going to go back to this very first position. So what we're going to do is we're going to take all of these pink frames that we colored and we're going to duplicate it. You can see that it already comes in the same video group that I just named pink, and I'm just going to make sure that I have it all colored when it's supposed to be. Because here for example, you can see that this arm is not supposed to be going in front. So I'm actually going to erase this bit, because at this point this arm is supposed to be going in the back. Also this hand. Look at that. Sweet. So now we have our whole pink loop with arms going both in the front and in the back, but it's all going to make more sense once we have all the other colors as well and just keep on adding up. That's, I think, the biggest thing with animation as well, you got to trust the process. If you look at this now, what is this? I don't know. So this is just a matter of patience and perseverance, and just building up a lot of video layers for each of the colors or just however you prefer to color it really. I prefer to have one video layer for each color because that way I have some control, like in case I make this executive decision of changing colors in the end, it's just easier to change it if I have them separated by color. So I think that's a smarter move. So I just went ahead and colored all of them. So I'm going to show you. The one for the back finger, the chest hair, just all of them really. Let's turn them on, boom. You can see the whole thing building up and coming together. Can you imagine that it looked that bad in the beginning and now it looks so glam, so fabulous. First time it plays, it plays a little bit choppy, but now look at him go. Yes. Then last but not least, remember that we're going to ground him. So we're going to add a little floor, and the thing is, the floor is not really moving. The shadow is pretty much keeping the same in this case, but just so it's going in the same style as the whole animation, I do want the shadow on the floor to boil a little bit. So let's take this color. Actually I'm going to use this as a little reference for my floor shape. It could be video layers as well. I mean sometimes both apply, you'll see. So then I'll turn the opacity of my reference a little bit low. Let's see if I can see enough. Yeah, this is good. Not really trying to get anything too perfect, especially with the filling of the shape so you can really get some nice textures in the end. Then copy it, delete it. So you get the same length of the layer. Because I like to keep things manageable and round numbers and multiple numbers, I'm going to do, because usually when you want to make something boil but you want them to boil in a seamless way so people don't really notice that it's the same frames repeated all over, maybe you have to do four or five frames for them. I'm going to make six just because this one's going to be quick. So boiling is pretty much like this feeling that when you see something that is not really moving, but it's kind of boiling. I guess that's where the name comes from actually. I don't know where it originates from, but that's the feeling that you get, that it's like slightly moving with the textures, but the floor itself is not going to be moving, but it's just going to be moving slightly. It's more like the texture that is moving and is giving you this hangeron feel, but then you don't have to handle all of the frames, you can just repeat them, 1, 2, 3, 4 just one more. One more floor, take it in. Because the same way that my animation flickers a bit with all the textures in different ways that I filled it in with the brush, so therefore my whole animation is going to look more cohesive within itself. Cool. So I can just put these guys together. I can select them, and duplicate them, and because I chose multiple number of 24, it all works just fine. So I'm going to take my reference off and let's see this guy final loading. There we go, with a boiling floor. Amazing, we have it. So now is just just exporting and showing it to the world, let's make a GIF. 17. Exporting for Social Media: You did it. You came all the way through this very last video, and this means that you're halfway there to be an animator because that's what it takes, patience and sticking to it. You know it's one step at a time, it's a lot of steps, but you power through it because you believe that the final result is going to be amazing which turned out to be, look at this guy. Let's take a look. You can just see that it's full power, full screen. There we go. I'm going to show you guys first how to export a GIF out of this, and we're going to go to File, Export, Save for Web. Just thinking, yes. Here you can see our little guy and usually for Internet it doesn't need to be this big. It can be something around, actually let's put 600 for the height, and it takes a while to calculate and resize the whole thing but let's put 600 for the height instead. But it all depends on the channel that you want to output it to. But here, I'm just going to throw this number. Sometimes Photoshop comes with this as a preset like Looping options and then playing just once. But who wants that? The whole purpose of it looping is that it plays forever, right? So yeah. Then here is a couple of more options that we're not going to search at this point but they can be useful like this. This Dither option can be more useful for it when you have real footage and you're going to turn that into a GIF. So this gives you a couple of options on the quality, but not for this animation. So we're just going to go ahead and save it really. I'm going to save it in my desktop. How I'm I going to call this guy? Bubblegum dude. Wonder woman, Wonder man Bubblegum dude, and we have, look at him go. It's a GIF. So not all the time you're going to want to be exporting GIFs. You might as well be wanting to export PNG sequences that you can bring back to after effects and do other things to it. I don't know, it's up to you. But you can also export video straight from Photoshop as well, and videos can be really useful in case you want to post it on Instagram and share your dance move with the whole world. So let's do that. So maybe for Instagram because I want my videos to be really big and nice on Instagram. Maybe you want to do a square ratio. Yeah. So what I did here, I just pressed this Crop tool, changed the ratio here to square. Now, it's square. There you go. Scary boy. Then you just come here to File, Export, Render video, and then it already comes as an MP4. I'm just going to change this to Bubblegumdude.mp4. I'm going to select so it renders to my desktop, and it takes a little while. Oh, that that was quick. There we go MP4. This one is not looping, but it will loop on Instagram. Sweet. You did it. 18. Final Thoughts: Wow. Let's just do a little recap of all the steps we did. You recorded a video reference, or you used one. You broke it down, analyzed your movement, you've thumbnailed it. Do you remember? That's such a long time ago with thumbnailing, understanding the movement. We did sketches. We designed our character. We did the animation base for it and after effects. Brought it back into Photoshop again, recorded all of those layers, added details, we exported it. Here we are, it's done. Congratulations. You made it all the way to the end. Well, one very obvious takeaway from all of this experience is that animation, good animation takes time. It's a labor of love, it's a labor of patience, and those are inherited qualities to any animator. You just need to be very patient, and you need to trust the process. Eventually, it looks good. You just add up a little bit in every single step, you polish it a little bit, you make it slightly better every time until it looks good. So thank you so much for being here today, for powering you through the whole process, and the whole class, and for letting me be your teacher as well. So thank you. I can't wait to see what you guys are going to create. Bye. 19. Explore More Classes on Skillshare: