2D Animation With No Drawing Skills in AE

Learn to create and animate characters who express with body language in After Effects
4.4 (131 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.
3,689 students enrolled
92% off
Take This Course
  • Lectures 83
  • Length 5.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
Wishlisted Wishlist

How taking a course works


Find online courses made by experts from around the world.


Take your courses with you and learn anywhere, anytime.


Learn and practice real-world skills and achieve your goals.

About This Course

Published 9/2015 English

Course Description

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.

What are the requirements?

  • You don't have to know anything, this is a STARTER. But some experience in After Effects helps.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Design Simple Characters
  • Do Character Animation, expressing with body language

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

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Start Here
Welcome To This Course
"Who Is Better" Short Film

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


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


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.


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

1 page

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

4 questions

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

Section 2: Character Emotion

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.


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.


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.

1 page

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

3 questions

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

Section 3: Character Design

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


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.


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.


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


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

Review: Character Design PDF
2 pages
4 questions

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

Section 4: Planning a Project
Planning Your Animation With a Storyboard

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.


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


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


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.

1 page

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

4 questions

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

Section 5: Introduction to Rigging Tutorials

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


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


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


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


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

Section 6: Rigging The Character

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


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


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


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


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

Section 7: Prepearing Controllers

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


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


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

Section 8: Working with the Mouth

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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

Section 9: Emotional Lip Sync

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


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


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.


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.

Section 10: Technical Tips to Know Before Animating

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


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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

Section 11: Animation Tutorials

In the following tutorials, Mark Diaz will teach you how to animate the body language of your character, pose by pose. The first step is identifying when to have those poses.


Beside adding two more markers, this lesson teaches you how to identify the enfasis that the voice talent puts on each word.


This lecture covers how to pose the character for when "Simple" says "Like me"


This is the second pose. The next three lectures will teach you how to pose the character for when "Simple" says: "I'm Simple"


This lecture teaches you how to pose the hand and hips of the character for the second pose.


Finally, after posing the character, you need to fix how the leg moves, by animating the stretch.


This is the third and final pose of the character. After this lecture, all that is left is to add the anticipation and aftermath of each pose.


This lecture not only covers how to add markers for the anticipation and aftermath, but also teaches you those concepts.


The next couple of lessons will teach you how to pose the anticipation and aftermath of each of the 3 poses. This one will guide you to work the anticipation of the 1st pose.


This is the ending result of the 1st pose. The aftermath. In other words, what your character does after accomplishing that pose.


As covered in an earlier lecture, Timing is one of the 12 principles of animation, and the plug in Ease and Wizz helps you to improve your timing in After Effects.


Now that the character has correct timings thanks to the plug in Ease and Wizz, we are ready to continue working with the anticipation and aftermath of the other 2 poses.


After posing your character for the anticipation of the 2nd pose, you need to fix how the left leg gets to the 3rd position, by animating the stretch.


This lecture follows the same instructions used for the left leg, but this time we animate the stretch of the right arm.


This is the final posing, the anticipation of the 3rd pose. The following lessons will help you finish the animation.


We have the character ready and all the animation has been done, but we still need to fix the wah the right hand drops to the side.


This lecture finishes the animation by fixing the left leg getting to the last pose, the 3rd pose.

Section 12: Wrapping Up The Course

These are just a couple of observations and warnings you should look for when you do animation.


This lecture explains how this course can be interactive, by inviting you to animate 3 seconds of a character talking. It can be the exact same segment covered in the tutorials, or it can be another segment.


With the animation ready, here is how to prepare it for rendering


These are just a couple of recommendations for your renders to be optimized for YouTube.

Getting Adobe Media Encoder

Congratulations on finishing this Course! We have a special surprise for you :D

Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed

  • Loading
  • Loading
  • Loading

Instructor Biography

2D Animation 101 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.

Ready to start learning?
Take This Course