Video Tutorial Comprehensive animation course: principles, objects, characters with After Effects


  • Course duration : 8h20m
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  • Source files included
Comprehensive animation course: principles, objects, characters

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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!

After Effects training table of contents (duration : 8h20m)

  • Introduction - Basics and theory
    • The graph editor for animation free 00:05:02
    • Spline vs Block animation 00:12:59
    • Energy! 00:08:41
    • Falling brick 00:11:34
    • The weight of the crate 00:12:32
    • Follow through and Overlap - Sticks and springs 00:16:42
    • The ball 00:11:18
    • Stretch and squash - Torture the ball 00:10:19
  • Some exercises
    • Appearance and disappearance 00:06:54
    • A stick and a ball - The ball in the air 00:08:18
    • A stick and a ball - Hit! 00:08:16
    • A stick and a ball - Bounces 00:06:54
    • A stick and a ball - Squash, Stretch, Distortions 00:08:24
    • Bonus - Expression to squash and stretch the stick free 00:02:47
  • Neutral walk cycle
    • Introduction free 00:01:58
    • Presentation and how to use the rig free 00:16:34
    • Start pose 00:15:39
    • First keyframes 00:06:38
    • Right foot - Position 00:12:19
    • Right foot - Rotation 00:10:10
    • Left foot 00:06:58
    • Body and knees 00:11:50
    • Pelvis and shoulders 00:11:03
    • Arms 00:08:19
    • Head and details 00:14:33
  • Angry walk cycle
    • Introduction free 00:02:48
    • Start pose and first keyframes 00:04:41
    • Feet 00:16:40
    • Hips 00:05:34
    • Shoulders and arms 00:09:58
    • Neck, head, hair 00:17:11
    • Details 00:10:25
  • Walk and act! Acting basics
    • Make them move! free 00:09:15
    • Introduction free 00:01:02
    • Locations of the steps 00:07:24
    • Feet 00:16:42
    • Hips 00:09:52
    • Shoulders and arms 00:11:04
    • Head 00:08:45
    • Eyes 00:06:39
    • Reaction 00:15:55
    • Reaction - Arm 00:07:18
    • Reaction - Look, hair 00:06:51
  • Acting and lip sync
    • Introduction - How to manipulate the rig 00:04:53
    • Start pose 00:07:22
    • Main poses 00:06:33
    • Blocking 00:12:17
    • Lip Sync 00:07:15
    • Animation curves 00:19:53
    • Animation curves - Hair 00:15:23
    • Finalization 00:12:08

Instructor : Nicolas Dufresne

Nicolas Dufresne has published 14 tutorials and obtained an average rating of 4,8/5 on 20 256 courses sold. See others courses from Nicolas Dufresne

average rating

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  • 4
    review by member-5573-3531 written on 29/01/2023
    Best way to do 2d character animation inside After Effects.

  • 5
    review by member-4659-7359 written on 08/08/2020

  • 5
    review by nancypants written on 29/02/2020
    Loved it - very helpful. Also love DUIK Bassel.

  • 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.

    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.


    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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