2D Animation With No Drawing Skills in AE
4.6 (195 ratings)
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2D Animation With No Drawing Skills in AE

Learn to create and animate characters who express with body language in After Effects
Best Seller
4.6 (195 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
4,164 students enrolled
Last updated 4/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $200 Discount: 95% off
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  • 5.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 min on-demand audio
  • 6 Articles
  • 4 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Design Simple Characters
  • Do Character Animation, expressing with body language
View Curriculum
  • You don't have to know anything, this is a STARTER. But some experience in After Effects helps.

This course is divided in 3 parts:

  1. Theory (Secrets to do awesome animation with no drawing skills, and how to make interesting characters no matter how simple they look)
  2. Rigging (A series of tutorials that teaches you how to rig a character step by step)
  3. Animation (Another series of tutorials that teaches you how to animate body language for simple characters)

There are a couple of things you need to understand to achieve simple animations.

  • Shapes
  • Body Language
  • Emotional Expression
  • Character Relationships
  • What makes a good story

And for your character, you only need a Body, Arms, Legs and a Mouth. Eyes are optional.

If a simple circle has personality, people will watch it.

Our personal purpose is to help anyone interested in Animation to start practicing with little projects, simple Characters, and most of all, explore the expressiveness of their Body Language and Character Acting.

Many people seldom to start learning 2D animation because they are convinced that you need to know how to draw.

While drawing skills can help you to improve, that is not the essential skill to do animation. For animation you need to understand the most basic principles in animation, like timing, anticipation, pose to pose.

Concepts that Thomas and Johnson, 2 of the animation masters in Disney talk about in their famous book, Illusion of Life.

This course puts those basic concepts into practice and also explains step by step how to achieve great body language when a character is talking.

What you will get:

  • Lifetime Access to all the Lessons: This is not a membership course. We offer a 1 time payment to have full access to all the lessons, and if you claim your spot, you will have everything for free.
  • Downloadable Project Files: You can download the project files to follow along with the tutorials and practice on your own. Heck! You can even skip the Theory and start with Animation!
  • Access to Student Discussions: In here you will be able to share any ideas or projects you are currently working on with other fellow students, and even ask for help when needed.
  • Step by Step In Depth Explanations: The course covers everything from Theory to Practice. You will learn how to set up your characters and why; with tutorials to help you animate them.
  • Printable Workbooks: Thanks to all the feedback from all the students in our other courses, we decided to add Practical Guides that will help you set your characters easier.
  • Full HD Video Tutorials: All the lessons were recorded in Full HD so you can see every detail and every step of the process. Every click and every keyboard stroke is shown.
Who is the target audience?
  • Absolute beginners who don't have any drawing skills and would like to learn animation.
  • Not for students with a lot of experience in Character Animation
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Curriculum For This Course
82 Lectures
Start Here
7 Lectures 14:49

This is the introductory video. Will show you what the course is about.

Preview 01:31

There are 2 secrets to do awesome animations, thos secrets are pretty easy to understand and yet, not very simple to apply.

Preview 02:26

Now that we discussed that interesting characters are important, this lesson will show you an example of how to create a simple character and make it interesting.

Preview 02:45

This will be a quick review of the two secrets, and will show you the importance of conflict to create a good story.

Interesting Character in a Good Story

In this Lesson we go through the short film "Who is Better", part by part to analyze the concepts we have learned so far, and introducing a new concept: The use of Opposites.

Preview 02:53

This is the PDF that helps you to prepare for the Quiz in the next lecture.

Review: Getting Started PDF
1 page

Time to consolidate what you have learned. Are you up for the test? This Quiz will review the concepts from the First Section

Getting Started
4 questions
Character Emotion
4 Lectures 09:17

This lecture will explain why just having a character with emotions and feelings is not enough, you have to make him or her, do something about it. That is the basic concept behind emotional expressions.

Preview 03:23

This lesson talks about the next element you need for a successful simple animation. No matter how simple your characters are, they have to have a good relationship, and for that, you need to understand the secret to start a relationship.

Character Relationships

Now that you understand the foundation to start a relationship between 2 characters, this lessons gives you a couple of examples to help you understand the concept even further.

Relationship Examples

This PDF reviews Emotional Expressions, Body Language, Character Relationships and Examples.

Review: Character Emotion PDF
1 page

Time to consolidate what you have learned. Are you up for the test? This Quiz will review the concepts from Character Emotion

Character Emotion
3 questions
Character Design
7 Lectures 16:54

This lesson will walk you through the different body shapes you have at your disposal when creating a simple character from basic geometric shapes.

Designing Characters With Geometric Shapes

This lesson explains how to the position of the shoulders and legs can change how your character is expressing. You will learn the basic elements to control the body language of simple characters.

Preview 04:09

In the last lesson you learned how the arms and legs can be controlled to suggest emotions with your character, now in this lesson, you will learn about how expressive the mouth can be.

Expressing With The Mouth

It doesn't matter if you have good imagination, in animation you always need references. From a mirror, pictures or videos. You can even record yourself. This lesson will teach you the importance of references to get excellent poses for your characters.

Working With References

This lesson will guide you through the practice of creating different characters, using a variety of geometric shapes.

Designing Simple Characters

These are the free tutorials by Mr Klay to create Human characters for animation.

Klay Tutorials

Review: Character Design PDF
2 pages

Time to consolidate what you have learned. Are you up for the test? This Quiz will review the concepts from Character Design

Character Design
4 questions
Planning a Project
7 Lectures 16:52

This lesson will tell you where can you find Voice talent online as well as some guidance on the prices. Depending on your budget, you can pay from $5 to $100 USD.

Preview 02:47

This lesson has the downloable ZIP file that contains all the project files for anyone interested in following along.

Getting the Project Files

This lesson will guide you to have everything ready for the creation of your animatic.

Preparing for the Animatic

Now, let's start the animatic, which is the process of transforming the storyboard into a slideshow of all the frames with all the sound, music and dialogue.

Preview 04:27

This is the final version of the animatic for "who is Better", the third version.

And also, this is the last lesson imparted by Jessica, in the following lessons you will be guided by Mark to accomplish the animation for Who Is Better.

Finished Animatic for "Who Is Better"

This PDF will help you refresh the concepts learned in the Planning a Project section.

Review: Planning a Project PDF
1 page

Time to consolidate what you have learned. Are you up for the test? This Quiz will review the concepts from Planning a Project

Planning a Project
4 questions
Introduction to Rigging Tutorials
5 Lectures 22:01

This is the introduction for the next series of tutorials that will help you rig the characters for the animation.

Preview 02:29

If you don't have Adobe After Effects, check this lesson to learn how to get it.

Getting Adobe After Effects (For those who don't have it yet)

This lesson is for Absolute Beginners: How to create a new composition

New Composition in After Effects (For absolute Beginners)

This lesson teaches you how to create a circle, and fill it with pink color.

Preview 04:07

Once you have the circle as the body, we will use thin rectangles as legs and arms

Preview 06:56
Rigging The Character
5 Lectures 23:56

This is an explanation for the Absolute Beginners who don't know how expressions work in After Effects

Automation Using Expressions

Check this lesson to get a free plug in that will make your character rigging process much easier

Getting Duik Plug in and Project Files for the Tutorials

This lesson is what you need to be able to do cut out animation: Forward Kinematics

Preview 06:35

Once you have forward kinematics done, you are ready to take your rig to the next level: Inverse Kinematics

Preview 02:54

This lecture repeats the riggin process but on the other arm and the legs

Rigging the Right Arm and Legs
Prepearing Controllers
3 Lectures 12:44

Our final goal is to connect the limbs to the body, and for that, we will need controllers. This lesson will show you how to create them

Creating and Aligning Controllers

Now that we have the controllers, we can connect the arms and legs to the body

Connecting the Body with Controllers

This lecture shows you how to work with shy layers to keep a clean timeline

Cleaning the Timeline
Working with the Mouth
8 Lectures 46:15

Before start drawing any mouth, you first have to do a research to know what emotions does your character need. This lesson will show you how to do the research from the storyboard

Preview 04:24

With the list of mouths you created on the last lesson, you will now draw them on the body for your character. Mouth by mouth

Drawing The Mouth Variations

We have 5 different mouths, and now we are going to set the ground for the lip sync

Prepare Mouth for Emotional Lip-Sync

In this lesson we go over how to animate the first mouth, from a closed shape into an open one

Animating the First Two Mouths for the Lip Sync

This lesson is a review of the last one, because the process of animating a mouth is done on the other 4 mouths

Animating the rest of the Mouths

We have the mouths animated, but now, we need to prepare expression controls for the lip sync. This lesson will show you exactly what expression control effects you need and on what layer

Preparing the Mouth with Expression Controls

This lesson teaches you how to do a head turn effect, by scaling the mouth when you move it to the sides.

Preview 09:38

The flip switch is what can get your character from happy to sad with just one click. This lesson teaches you how to do it.

Activating the Flip Switch to rotate the Mouth
Emotional Lip Sync
4 Lectures 31:49

We have everything ready, all we have left is the final steps for the lip sync

Emotional Auto Lip-Sync using Expressions

The character is now lip-sync enabled. This lesson will test our work.

Adding Dialogue to test Auto Lip Sync

In the shortfilm for who is better, the character "Simple" starts to get crazy by turning sadness into laughter, in the procces she wiggles her body. This lesson teaches you how to automate that effect.

Wiggly Body for Maniac Effects

Now that we have everything ready, all we got left is an optional step to make the character simple look a little more appealing: Add Some Shading.

Simple Shading
Technical Tips to Know Before Animating
9 Lectures 33:22

Well, you have a character rigged and ready to be animated. In the next series of tutorials you will learn how to animate it.

Introduction to Animation Tutorials

This lesson will teach you how to get the EASE AND WIZZ plug in


Changing the angle of the elbows or knees can be a bit tricky, but in this lesson, Mark will show you how to do it by animating the stretch.

Preview 05:10

This lecture, is the second part of the last lesson, in which you learn how to change the angle of the elbow or knee.

Preview 06:29

Sometimes the voice talent says the words in very peculiar ways, and sometimes the auto-lipsync is not working smoothly because of the soundwaves. This lesson teaches you how to fix that.

Preview 04:43

Timing is one of the principles of animation, so knowing what the basic frame units are for each movement proves to be very helpful.

Basic Frame Units in Animations at 24 fps

This lecture covers how many frames should you use for reaction movement of your characters.

Basic Frame Units for Reaction Movements

After some animations at 24fps, you will discover that each movement is almost always between 5 and 10 frames long. See why.

Applying the 5 to 10 frame rule

Aggressive movements can sometime trick the audience into believing that the movement is done in less that 5 frames. The secret is, long anticipations.

Preview 05:05
2 More Sections
About the Instructor
2D Animation 101 Courses
4.5 Average rating
3,295 Reviews
47,046 Students
17 Courses
Animation Courses for Beginners

With a background of 10 years in the film industry at Autumn Leave Films, and with over 30 short films produced to this date, we are a group of animators who love to share everything we know about animation, from pre-production, animation, to post production.

Our aim is to equip future animators with all the necessary techniques and tips to help them do better projects. Our courses will help beginners along with intermediate users.

We have helped more than 22,000+ students to discover techniques and all the knowledge they need to start animating their projects.