Comprehensive animation course: principles, objects, characters
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VIDEO TUTORIAL Comprehensive animation course: principles, objects, characters

Nicolas Dufresne
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Character rigging with Duik and After Effects is one thing, but one other thing is animation!
It's time to learn how to make characters move, and even better, to give them a soul and a heart, to animate them!

In this very complete video course, I'm sharing my experience as an animator with you.
You'll learn:

  • how to think to prepare your animation,
  • practical and technical tips and tricks to get nice and precise motion at first,
  • then, how to characterize the characters, to give them their soul, intentions, and temperament.

Pardon my French!
Please, keep in mind that I'm French and I live in France, so recording this tutorial is not easy ;) Please pardon my hesitations and my accent!
If you understand French, it's available in French here.

In this comprehensive animation course

We're going to focus on animation, on motion.
This course is not very technical: I won't talk about character setup, (other courses are and will be available for this) and I won't talk much about how to use After Effects animation tools - I just explain a little bit the important Graph Editor at the beginning of the course.
That means you should know at least a little how to use After Effects before following this course!

These are a few prerequesites (this list is not exhaustive) :

  • Having some knowledge about keyframes and eases (types and how to use)
  • Having (tried to) use the Graph Editor
  • Knowing the important keyboard shortcuts ("P", "U", "R", "W", "V" etc.)
  • Knowing what the "shy mode" is and what it does on layers

This being said, this course is made for beginners in animation.

As this course already lasts more than 8 hours, I'm talking about "semi realistic" animation only, somewhere between cartoonish and realisitic, but with these basics you can then practice other styles of animations.
I would have like to talk about the "animation exposure" too, something originally used in traditionnal animation but which can be very interesting when animating with softwares and rigs too.
All these matters may be covered in another tutorial one day...

The nice characters used in this course were designed by my talented friend Justine Cunha. Watch her work here or on Instagram!
The character rigging has been made by Léa Saint Raymond and myself, using an early version of Duik Bassel.

All these files are available with the course.
I wish you a nice course, and I can't wait to see your animations!

What will you learn in this course?

Course plan
Chapter 1
Introduction - Basics and theory
Chapter 2
Some exercises
Chapter 3
Neutral walk cycle
Chapter 4
Angry walk cycle
Chapter 5
Walk and act! Acting basics
Chapter 6
Acting and lip sync

Detailed course plan

Chapter 1 : Introduction - Basics and theory
Lesson 1The graph editor for animation
Lesson 2Spline vs Block animation
Lesson 3Energy!
Lesson 4Falling brick
Lesson 5The weight of the crate
Lesson 6Follow through and Overlap - Sticks and springs
Lesson 7The ball
Lesson 8Stretch and squash - Torture the ball
Chapter 2 : Some exercises
Lesson 1Appearance and disappearance
Lesson 2A stick and a ball - The ball in the air
Lesson 3A stick and a ball - Hit!
Lesson 4A stick and a ball - Bounces
Lesson 5A stick and a ball - Squash, Stretch, Distortions
Lesson 6Bonus - Expression to squash and stretch the stick
Chapter 3 : Neutral walk cycle
Lesson 1Introduction
Lesson 2Presentation and how to use the rig
Lesson 3Start pose
Lesson 4First keyframes
Lesson 5Right foot - Position
Lesson 6Right foot - Rotation
Lesson 7Left foot
Lesson 8Body and knees
Lesson 9Pelvis and shoulders
Lesson 10Arms
Lesson 11Head and details
Chapter 4 : Angry walk cycle
Lesson 1Introduction
Lesson 2Start pose and first keyframes
Lesson 3Feet
Lesson 4Hips
Lesson 5Shoulders and arms
Lesson 6Neck, head, hair
Lesson 7Details
Chapter 5 : Walk and act! Acting basics
Lesson 1Make them move!
Lesson 2Introduction
Lesson 3Locations of the steps
Lesson 4Feet
Lesson 5Hips
Lesson 6Shoulders and arms
Lesson 7Head
Lesson 8Eyes
Lesson 9Reaction
Lesson 10Reaction - Arm
Lesson 11Reaction - Look, hair
Chapter 6 : Acting and lip sync
Lesson 1Introduction - How to manipulate the rig
Lesson 2Start pose
Lesson 3Main poses
Lesson 4Blocking
Lesson 5Lip Sync
Lesson 6Animation curves
Lesson 7Animation curves - Hair
Lesson 8Finalization


Learner reviews

Review details
Average rating
Denzel Nyangombe
Denzel Nyangombe
Published on 01/29/2023
Best way to do 2d character animation inside After Effects.
Zareh Papalian
Zareh Papalian
Published on 08/08/2020
Nancy Philcox
Nancy Philcox
Published on 02/29/2020
Loved it - very helpful. Also love DUIK Bassel.

Your questions about the course

With which software version is this tutorial compatible with?

After Effects CS6, After Effects

Quel est le niveau requis pour suivre ce tuto ?


Que contient le fichier source ?

All the rigged characters used in this course (Photoshop files + After Effects rigs), along with the finished animations as examples.

Do you cover how to use connectors? For example how to create the mouth shapes setup as seen in the screenshots.

Hi, This course is only about animation and does not cover any rigging process. A comprehensive course about Duik Bassel is in the making and should be available soon!

Hi there, just wondering if I can visit this in China. I'm living in New Zealand but will go back to China for my holiday. I really want to watch this during the holiday when I'm available but not sure if I can watch this cos China has banned youtube and vimeo. Thanks.

Hi, I'm very sorry, but I really don't know... This website does not use youtube nor vimeo, but I can't be sure if it's banned or not in China...

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