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Christopher Mallananimation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 1:06:13 pm

hi there

i am considering making a short anime cartoon and was wondering if after effects would be a suitable program to use to animate my work.

i am experimenting using photoshop and illustrator to develop my hand drawings and would appreciate any thoughts, suggestions or tips on using these methods to produce my animation.



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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: animation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 1:23:48 pm

AE is capable of animating in various ways. For your kind of project I would recommend you start by researching the Puppet Tool.

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Jason MettlerRe: animation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 2:57:56 pm

After Effects is well suited for that. A comic book style is a perfect example. After Effects can put your drawings in 3d space so as different layers interact with each other you'll get what's called a parallax effect (Background stuff moves slow, foreground moves fast). Adding lights and shadows to scenes can easily express mood.

Hope that sells you!

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Christopher MallanRe: animation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 3:06:56 pm


So now I know im not heading towards a dead end trying to get the results i want.

I am relatively familiar with after effects but some of the things that worry me include moving hair and certain shadow/highlights. I have found that a good technique for colouring hair is in photoshop using a graphics tablet. How on earth would I animate such detailed drawings using the puppet tool with out it distorting etc. Would it be better using vector layers from illustrator on top of base images as the shadows etc?

Sorry if any of my questions are no brainers, I just want to have a clear(ish) path in front of me before I start.



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Tudor "Ted" JelescuRe: animation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 3:26:57 pm

Vector drawings are best if you can achieve the look you're after with that. Puppet tool can be pretty intricate- you need to separate the parts of a character that you want to animate on separate layers (like the hair) and parent them to each other (head to neck, neck to torso and so on). You can also use Distortion tools- Mesh Warp can prove quite useful. One of the techniques used in anime is morphing - instead of having all the in betweens, the character (or part of it) morphs from one position to the next. Mesh Warp can be used for that. Here is a link to another post where I explain a simple morph:

Tudor "Ted" Jelescu
Senior VFX Artist

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Zack OlsonRe: animation
by on May 25, 2011 at 6:36:48 pm

Sorry to hijack this thread, but the animate vectors is what I am trying to lear.

I am new to After Effects, but experienced with Adobe Illustrator. My goal is to learn how to do simple animation "from scratch" meaning I plan to create all of the text, background artwork, icons, everything in Illustrator, and animate them in After Effects.

I have been Google-ing my brains out and have yet to find a tutorial that shows the workflow for creating something like what I am looking for.

Most of the .AE tutorials i find are integrating video/photos and text. I have yet to find (after literally hours of searching) a good tutorial for how to animate, from scratch using (start to finish) Illustrator and After Effects in a style like this:

which my guess is, would be pretty simple.

I am confident in my Illustrator 2D workflow and would like to create a fully animated 30 second to 1 minute animation.

It seems like there should be plenty of info out there...any suggestions, or a tutorial that stands out?

Thanks in advance.

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Walter SoykaRe: animation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 4:13:00 pm

For warps and morphs, I really like RE:Flex from RE:Vision FX. You guide it with masks instead of a grid.

You might look at ToonBoom's line of animation products, which are purpose-built for cartoon animation.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Philippe LessardRe: animation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 5:39:06 pm

If you plan to animate body with joins, I recommend you this script
Its a combination of IK(inverse kinematic) and puppet tool, it may seem difficult at the first look but if you check at the tutorial you'll be amaze by the time you"ll be saving and the quality of the animation you will able to achieve!

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jim cascarinaRe: animation
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 10:44:16 pm

For hair it's some time better to use wave warp or a similar plug. Mask of the bit of hair you need to flow on a dupplicate layer and chuck wave warp on it. If you start putting the mighty puppet all over your shots they will slow right down. Save the puppet for limbs. For facial expressions I use liquify. If you use pc and don't already know AE really well then there are better apps to use check the smith micro web site.

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