Rigging Stroked Characters in After Effects | Chris Anderson | Skillshare

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Rigging Stroked Characters in After Effects

teacher avatar Chris Anderson

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Preparing Artwork for Rig


    • 3.

      Rigging with DUIK


    • 4.

      If / Else Statement


    • 5.



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About This Class

We will explore ways to most effectively prepare characters for animation.  Specifically characters with strokes.  Well prepared character artwork and a great rig can quickly add quality to your animations by minimizing the number of keyframes required to create motion.  The better the rig, the fewer the keyframes.  The fewer the keyframes, the happier the animator.  And the happier the animator, the better the animation.

Meet Your Teacher

Hello, I'm Chris.  A Freelance Illustrator and Animator.  Over the past decade of working professionally in the motion graphics industry I have picked up a few tips and tricks that make animating a lot easier.  Hopefully the information I am sharing here helps you to become a more efficient animator.

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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to my first skill share class. And this is my first class. So bear with me if it's not so great. But I hope it has some good information for you. My name is Chris Anderson, freelance illustrator and animator. And oftentimes I get asked by whichever studio I'm working for. How did you create this rig for character and rigging is the process of off preparing your illustration to be animated. And the more time you spend working on your rig and making it perfect, the easier animation is gonna be. If you have a sloppy rig, a bad rig, you're gonna have way too many key frames. It's gonna be hard to add. It's gonna be hard to work with, so it's super important to get it right the first time in this glass. I'm gonna take you through how I go about rigging a character that has outlines and more specifically, something that's been hard for me in the past that is creating a crease in a joint and before I just use brute force to make it happen. But I recently figured it out, and it's great, and I hope I hope what The information I can share with you is something you've been wanting to know now. It would be great if you could follow along using your own artwork on doing so. I think you'll more fully understand the concepts versus just copying the steps I'm doing. And once you've got something, working would be awesome if you could share it as part of your project Onda. If you have any other ideas that come across, it's all about problem solving and figuring it out. Be great If you could share those as well. Okay, let's jump right in. 2. Preparing Artwork for Rig: all right. So I'm gonna show you how I go about preparing artwork such as this outlined artwork for rigging. And if you look at this leg in particular could poses a problem the way it's illustrated. But I'm gonna delete the original illustration to show you what's lying underneath. So I have prepped a upper leg in the lower leg that come together in a perfect circle and to make this line disappear, which is what we want. I'm gonna duplicate the lower leg, pop it above the upper leg and then use the lighten blending mode and that makes both of those lines disappear that we will need to do in after effects. We don't need to do right now. I just wanted you to know how that works. The first thing I'm gonna do is create reference layers for my my joints, my knee and my elbow. I'm gonna draw a circle to show you how I have those exactly on that circle. And they need to be exact, because if they're not perfectly on that circle, it's gonna look like it's dislocating every time the me in the elbow bend, so I'll draw another circle here so we can see exactly where that center is. To make the crease, we need to draw a line that starts in the center of that circle, extends out through the point where they connect the upper and lower leg and is longer than the leg itself. Sits longer than this line. And then I'm gonna take the beginning of that line, moving it along its own path to the edge of the circle. And what that does is when this leg bends all the way down to a complete 1 80 decrease will disappear. Anything beyond the circle will not be visible. So if I pull this in, even at a 1 80 would still see this much of the crease. So the same thing for the elbow, starting in the centre, dragging through that corner and just pulling it way out. Let's grab that beginning and put it right on that circle. And then, of course, I gotta put these on their own layers and name the elbow and knee, and that is all I need to do for now, since I've already prepped everything else. But I just wanted you to see how toe create those joints. And in the next lesson, we're going to start rigging 3. Rigging with DUIK: Okay, so I've brought the illustration into after effects and created outlines. We're just gonna focus on this arm and this leg and back. The first thing we need to do is set the center points for the rotation of each of these objects. And if you remember, we made perfect circles for everything that rotates. So if I want to put the the joint in the center of this hand, what I usually do is with the anchor point at the top of the circle and then dragged while holding shift to the edge. And as he slide up and down right when it pops into the center, that is the center. If you rotate, you can see it constantly within the cuff of that sleeve. We'll do the same thing with this arm down player. Of course, we need two Parent, the hand to the lower arm to the upper arm and then to the torso, starting at the hand to go to the lower arm, upper arm torso, and I'll turn off this reference layer. For now. We also want to duplicate the lower arm and put it above the upper arm and parent it back to itself back to the original lower arm and then turn on that lighten blending mode to make this line disappear. And then we're gonna duplicate it one more time and bring the elbow below that and then use the track matte Alfa Alfa Matt so that the crease doesn't extend beyond this arm. Now let's, uh, let's creator I k system. We select the child of the system. It goes from the shoulder to the elbow to the hand. So our hand is the child in the do it box click controllers create, and then he select the child, the hand to the elbow to the shoulder, and then finally select the controller that you just created and then back in the do it penalty click I k create. So the elbow is working as faras I. K. Is concerned, but the increase is not working. So in order to make this crease work, we need to do a few things. Number one. It needs to have a rotation at that elbow point as well. So click the the arm down on Open up your anchor point, select your anchor point and copy, and then the elbow. If you open the anchor point and the position and paste into both of those attributes. Then your anchor point will be right there on that elbow. The next thing we need to do is we need the rotation of this line to be half that off. This as it bends this Ben's half as much that I always keep it in the center. So if you open up the rotation pick, whip that rotation of the lower arm and then after that expression, right divide by two. That'll make it rotate half assed, Muchas the lower arm. So now we have a crease that is always right there in that corner. Like I said in the previous video, once it gets to 1 80 it's gonna disappear exactly what we want. So let's do that with the leg down here. Now, This one is a strange case because this me is planted on the ground. So the actual I K system is going to start at the knee, then here at the waist and then go up to the shoulders of shoulder being the child with the torso, turn down the opacity so we can see where the anchor point should be on the anchor point to be right here on the rotation off his but his waist here so that if this torso rotates, this corner always stays on that path. And this is the center of that path. I just rotate a little bit. You always stay on there, and then we need a We need the child with this chain, which we don't have. So I'm gonna create a knoll object. Drop it right there. I'm gonna call this the body and the body is going to be parented to the torso, which is bending at the waist and the torso is gonna be parented to the upper leg bending at the knee. The body being our child is gonna need the controller so and do it quick and controllers create. And then we need to select the body knoll, the torso and the upper leg. And finally the controller for the body on then And do it quick. I k create and you can see how is Mia staying planted. His arm is attached to the body. Everything seems to be bending. Well, we just need to make sure this creases in the middle and that line disappears So once again , let's duplicate the lower leg poppet above the upper leg and use the light blending mode. So now there's no lines there, and then we're gonna duplicate that lower leg one more time to put above. But the decrease there's gonna bring these down so that they're similar layer order. Okay, so next thing we need to do is move the anchor point of that decrease right here. And we already have the anchor point found in the upper leg. So open that up, copy the anchor point and then open the anchor point and the position of the knee and pasted in both of those. And then the rotation of that crease is going to be half off the upper laser, creating expression that ties to the rotation of the upper leg and divide by two again. So now when we move, the body increases right on, it's gonna become a problem. When we go past zero, it disappears because it's actually flopping to the other side. In the next video, I'm gonna show you how to avoid that within FL statement 4. If / Else Statement: all right. So our rig is mostly working except for one small problem with this late crease, and I've shied most of the layers and I'm going to turn off this other do it handle and this Noel objects that we can see better what we're looking at. So when I move forward, the creases working perfectly. But when I moved back, it disappears. And if I select that, you could see it's actually flopping to the other side. And the reason this is happening is because I have rigged on illustration that's already been posed. So after effects thinks that this angle right here is about zero because that is the angle that it was drawn out. And this moving forward is positive. 19 degrees, you can see. But when you move backwards, instead of going into negative territory, it flips over to 354 degrees, which is not what we want. And that is why when we're dividing the increase by two, we're getting 1 75 which flops it over here. So we need to create a, if else statement to fix that, which is pretty easy. We know this expression is working whenever the angle is greater than zero, but it's a relatively low angle. In fact, it works all the way up until it works all the way, probably till 180 degrees. So we can say if this angle is less than 180 degrees used. This expression, if it's greater than 180 degrees, or else we need a different expression. And let's just first figure out what that other expression would be. In what scenario does this angle work? And like I said, it's being flopped over. So what we're going to want to do? We don't want 174 who want something more like negative six, and all you need to do is subtract 180 degrees to make it flopped back. So now it is working on this angle. But again, once you get past zero, since we're subtracting, 100 degrees is flopping back. This expression works when this is closer to 3 60 is above 1 80 So we need both of those expressions working in one, and you do that with an NFL statement. So let me go back to the original and copy this and we're gonna write if open parentheses. If this number is less than 180 exceptionally close my parentheses and then paste that expression that was working. So if it's less than 1 80 use that expression that was working else. And then I'm gonna pace that expression again and say, minus 1 80 that was the other expression that was working. Hope that makes sense. So now it is working. No matter what angle egret, if it's below 1 80 it uses the regular expression. Just divide by two. And if it's above 1 80 it uses the expression that divides by two and then subtracts 1 80 Okay, And the final thing I'm gonna do and this is just for fun is Teoh written expression for that head because when we move our bodies and we're looking at something way, tend to always keep our gaze at the same point. So I want to write a little expression that helps animate the head without doing any animation. So what we want is we want the head to constantly be looking right about here in this a C unit. And to do that, we want the head to rotate inversely compared to the torso. And right now, my anchor point is not where it needs to be. So I'm gonna pop it up here somewhere. Okay? So in the head, under rotation, great expression. Holding option Pickwick Pit to the torso rotation. And then just do time thinking of want to invert it? So now we can grab the body and see how that had reacts to the torso. So now we have happening, Is all the animation is going to occur on this one layer, which makes animating a lot easier, a lot easier to deal with an update. So I hope this helps let me know what you think of the class and any comments or ideas that you have would be great to hear. 5. Conclusion: Okay, so that is everything. I think. I hope it was easy to follow along. I hope. I hope you got something cool working out on your end. Um, it's really satisfying for me when I figure out a problem that's been bugging me and figure out a new way to work that the streamlines the whole process. So I hope you picked up some useful tips in this lesson. And if you've got something really cool working on your end, please share. It would be great to see what you've come up with. And if you're like Chris, that was terrible. And there's a better way to do it. You gotta let us know So we can all just move forward and be on top of things and any other ideas you come up with. Just chairman. The comments, uh, be great. Okay. Until the next one to you