2d Character Animation After Effects

5 min read Jul 07, 2024
2d Character Animation After Effects

2D Character Animation in After Effects: A Comprehensive Guide


In the world of animation, creating 2D characters that come to life is an art form that requires skill, patience, and practice. After Effects, a powerful software developed by Adobe, is a popular choice among animators and motion graphic designers to create stunning 2D character animations. In this article, we will explore the basics of 2D character animation in After Effects and provide a step-by-step guide on how to create your own animated character.


Before diving into the animation process, it's essential to prepare your character design and assets. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Design Your Character

Design your character with simplicity in mind. A simple design will make it easier to animate and allow for more flexibility. Consider the personality, emotions, and movements of your character.

Create Your Assets

Create your character assets, including the body parts, facial expressions, and clothing. You can use Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop to create vector shapes and raster images.

Import Assets into After Effects

Import your assets into After Effects by creating a new composition and dragging your files into the project panel.

Setting Up Your Character

Create a Puppet

Create a puppet by grouping your character assets together. This will allow you to control your character's movements and animations.

Add a Null Object

Add a null object to act as the parent object for your character. This will enable you to control your character's movements and position.

Add Keyframes

Add keyframes to define your character's movements and animations. You can add keyframes to the null object, puppet, or individual body parts.

Animating Your Character

Walk Cycle

Create a walk cycle by animating your character's legs, arms, and body movement.

Run Cycle

Create a run cycle by animating your character's legs, arms, and body movement.

Facial Expressions

Animate your character's facial expressions by changing the shape and position of the facial elements.

Adding Secondary Animation

Add secondary animation to enhance your character's movements and expressions. This can include hair, clothing, and accessories.

Tips and Tricks

Use the Puppet Tool

Use the Puppet tool to create natural-looking movements and animations.

Use the Warp Stabilizer

Use the Warp Stabilizer to stabilize your character's movements and reduce camera shake.

Experiment with Different Animation Styles

Experiment with different animation styles to create a unique look and feel for your character.


Creating a 2D character animation in After Effects requires patience, practice, and attention to detail. By following this guide, you'll be well on your way to creating your own animated character. Remember to keep it simple, experiment with different techniques, and have fun!

Further Learning Resources

  • Adobe After Effects Tutorials on YouTube
  • After Effects Character Animation Courses on Udemy
  • 2D Character Animation Books on Amazon

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