Videos have become one of the most popular and fruitful digital marketing strategies. And why not? They are connecting as well as engaging, fun, and cool.
Animated characters are an incredible asset to build a strong connection with the target audience while they help you meet your marketing objectives and streamline your ROI.
However, one must practice a lot to be proficient in character animation. As easy as it may sound, it includes many artistic disciplines.
The true essence of animated character videos or animated explainer videos lies in how proficiently one can bring life to lifeless characters. In a simple sense, character animation After Effects is about giving life to inanimate characters using this tool.
Character animation videos are perhaps the most sought-after marketing strategies among the various kinds of videos, especially animated explainer videos. That’s because these videos have an extraordinary ability to give you and your brand a perfect touch of feelings and personality and help you stand out in the crowd.
The characters could be anything from fancy, imaginative cartoon characters to non-living aspects like a lamp, wood, and even a single colour. Great character animation is the key to creating an amazing animated video.
An animated explainer video works great for explaining a concept, marketing a product, etc. A recent report found that over 80% of companies now use videos for marketing.
Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effect is a fantastic software that lets you do many things with your animated characters. It is an excellent piece of software with numerous built-in tools that enable you to beautify your characters immensely.
In this article, you will learn crucial tips and ticks for moving forward with character animation After Effects. After reading this article, you can use Adobe After Effects character animation features that will allow you to tweak your characters according to your needs.
Hacks to Unveil the Potential of After Effects for Character Animation
1. Get back to the excellent old method of sketching
Surely, you can use software to do some sketching tasks. However, there is no better way to come up with amazing ideas for character animation than sketching on paper.
You can get into using software afterwards, but start with character drawing on paper at first. After sketching rough ideas of your characters on paper, you can move your work to software.
After you finish moving your sketches to the software, import them into Adobe After Effects. Here is a video that will teach you how to import designs to Adobe After Effects.
2. Use Photoshop for designing your characters
After you complete the sketching part, you need to use Photoshop to make your characters look real. If you have used software for sketching, you can import it into Photoshop. You can import the scanned copy into the Photoshop app if you do your sketch on traditional paper.
Take reference of your sketch to design your characters in Photoshop. You need a separate layer for every single moving part of your character. For instance, you should make a separate layer for a character’s forearm, bicep, and so on instead of using a single layer for its hand.
After allocating a separate layer, you need to label your layers.
3. Use Dulk for rigging
Install the Adobe After Effects character animation plugin, Dulk, to simplify character rigging. You can get this plugin for free. If you like it, you can donate to the creator of this software.
Rigging is the process of bringing together the body parts of your characters to make them ready for animation.
Rigging makes character movement realistic. For instance, your character’s thigh and shin should move while walking; otherwise, the whole campaign would be unrealistic. The rigging part is carried out by parenting Photoshop layers and turning those layers into null objects.
Rigging is a complex activity. Check out this tutorial for carrying out basic rigging.
Keyframing is another complicated thing to do for beginners. It is about telling After Effects about the positions in which you want to adjust the value of a layer, such as rotation, opacity, colour, and so on.
When setting a keyframe, we tell After Effects about the beginning and end of the animation. We insert keyframes within a timeline.
There are three steps to setting a keyframe:
Step 1. Use the Stopwatch icon to set up the first keyframe
At first, we select the starting point of a character and then set a keyframe for the role.
Step 2. Position your play head to the next location
In this step, you move your time indicator to the endpoint or other position.
Step 3. Second value adjustment
The final step is the second value adjustment. We release the mouse button for creating a new keyframe. After that, we can preview our characters’ moves.
Here is a tutorial for setting up a single keyframe to help you.
The tips I’ve mentioned will only allow you to insert some necessary keyframes in the video. It takes a lot of time to master the keyframing skill. However, you can make it as a starting point of your journey.
5. Troubleshoot problems
After completing all the previous steps, you will still need to troubleshoot problems. We need to be careful in the earlier steps, but we cannot develop a perfect animation in the first trial.
The significant problems that you may observe would probably be in keyframes. Carefully play and check out the animation. If you find any issues, note them down and make some adjustments to overcome the problem.
You may connect with other experts or a professional animated explainer video production company if you encounter problems in the character movement part.
What is the way forward from here?
The tricks I’ve mentioned in this article will help you get started with character animation immediately. On that note, don’t get disappointed if you fail in the first few attempts. It takes some time to master the art of using the character animation tools. Remember, “Rome was not built in a day“. So, take baby steps for now.
You can spend time learning the usage of different character animation software to enhance the quality of your animation. Another option to improve the animation quality is outsourcing this task to a third-party, animated explainer video production agency.
You should follow my tips and start using After Effects tools to bring your characters to life. Hopefully, the article has provided a clear direction on how to start.
If there is anything that you want to add to this article, let us know your thoughts below. Till then, Happy Animating!!!