Making Motion Comics
3.3 (2 ratings)
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Making Motion Comics

Animating Comic Illustrations In in Adobe Photoshop, After Effects + Character Animator
3.3 (2 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.
19 students enrolled
Created by David Miller
Last updated 2/2017
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Current price: $10 Original price: $35 Discount: 71% off
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • create talking animated comics
View Curriculum
  • basic Photoshop knowledge
  • have access to Adobe Creative Cloud programs Photoshop + After Effects

Welcome to the world of Motion Comics!  This is a specialized form of animation using portions of original artwork to animate a story rather than individual drawings for each frame or cgi characters.  By animating in this style, we are able to keep the aesthetic of individually drawn panels with complicated foregrounds and backgrounds; we are able to make our comics into films. 

Besides adding movement to our drawings, we’ll be able to create talking head characters that can be animated through your very own webcam- “live” animation using Adobe Character Animator!


This class uses animation techniques in Adobe Photoshop, After Effects, and a sub-program of After Effects called Character Animator, so you’ll need access to those to start with.  We’ll cover the basics of each program so if this is your first time animating, this class is for you!

For my demo, I chose to use public domain Golden Age comics, so I'll show you how to break apart and clean up the artwork from these scans.  If you need artwork, feel free to follow my example, or use your own illustrations.

Some expectations:

This class is designed to work with flat, comic book-style illustrations.

This class is not for people who are more interested in fully rendered, realistic animation in the vein of Pixar. 

Also, we are focused on the technique and not on a final, fully completed 30 minute film with sound and voices. The final stories and editing are so unique project-to-project that I have chose to focus on these animation methods.  

See you in class!

Who is the target audience?
  • illustrators who want to animate their work
  • filmmakers who want to learn animation
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Curriculum For This Course
22 Lectures
What are Motion Comics?
1 Lecture 02:44
Preparing Artwork in Photoshop
2 Lectures 08:10

If you don't have your own artwork to work with, it's easy to find some fun public domain material to work with.  We cover one such site, the Digital Comic Museum.

Getting Public Domain Material

This is the where we take apart the comic panels to make it animation-ready.

Breaking Apart the Art and Basic Cleanup
Photoshop Animation Timeline
4 Lectures 17:08

We are getting deep into Photoshop's Animation Timeline panel.  This involves turning Layers on and off between frames and setting a duration for each frame.

Preview 01:39

We'll cover warping and transforming your individual layers so there's added motion between frames.

Transformations For Complex Animation

We cover "tweening", how animators automatically add extra motion between frame movements.

Tweening Frames

To create a full scene in After Effects, we need to export our animation loops with only the moving parts without a background.  Here we cover how to keep the alpha channel (the "empty space") when making your mini-animations.

Exporting Animation With The Alpha Channel
Adobe Character Animator
6 Lectures 25:28

Here we talk about how Character Animator actually works with Photoshop layers.

Preview 02:37

Here we adapt our artwork for the Character Animator template.

Preview 04:58

Finishing touches in Photoshop to get a fully functioning face for animation.

Finalizing The Face

Preliminary steps in Adobe Character Animator!

Diving Into Character Animator

Here we cover how to make our talking head have additional movements such as dangles.

Adding Physics

Once you have done your motion capture and lip sync, you'll need to export a PNG sequence (the frames) and WAV file (audio).  We discuss that here as well as how to get it over to our final program, Adobe After Effects.

Exporting a Sequence and Importing to After Effects
Adobe After Effects Work
9 Lectures 28:25

Here we introduce Adobe After Effects and how compositions work.

Preview 04:06

We have a brief introduction to effects and animation presets.


Here we discuss building up the full scene with more layers and having more lively movements between keyframes by changing their velocity (how quickly or slowly they change).

More Layers and Velocity of Keyframes

Parenting means linking one layer to another so that they move in unison.  Here we show how to parent in a fuller scene with multiple layers.

Envisioning the Full Scene

We add placement of backgrounds and try to show more depth between foreground objects with effects.

Backgrounds and More FX

Adding adjustment layers for special effects that cover all your other assets.

Adjustment Layers

Want to add some additional depth and camera movements?  Here we include some ideas for 3d motion comics.

3D Space

Since compositions can be nested, we address pre rendering (creating animations a section at a time) and rendering (creating an animation with all of your assets in play).

Rendering + Prerendering

Motion Comics Wrap Up
About the Instructor
David Miller
2.6 Average rating
5 Reviews
29 Students
2 Courses
Multimedia Artist

David was born in 1977 in Omaha, NE. He graduated with his BFA in Photography from Arizona State University in 2006, creating portrait series that reflected both the hyperkinetic films, games and comics of the 1980s and 1990s, as well as more humanist documentary work with Indigenous communities in America and Australia.

After ASU he became a teaching artist as well as exhibing around the Southwest/ West Coast and been published in numerous magazines such as Orion, View Camera, B+W/ Color, and others. In 2014 he was named as one of the top 100 Creatives of Arizona by New Times Magazine. He currently lives in Chandler with wife Vesna and 2 children, Patrick and Magdalena.