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Techniques on How to Make After Effects 2d Animation

Liza Brown
Liza Brown
Originally published Jan 06, 22, updated May 20, 24

Adobe After Effects is probably the most versatile software you can add to your arsenal of skills on your journey to learn After Effects 2D animation. Both beginners and professionals can brush up their animation skills on After Effects with some help from tutorials and videos. When it comes to experimenting with visual effects, motion graphics, and 3D composting, Adobe After Effects is recommended as an industry-standard software. So it should come as no surprise that there is a surplus of After Effects tutorials and information on the internet. To help simplify things, here’s a compiled list of Adobe After Effects courses along with a few tips to get started.

 Part 1 Practical Online 2D Animation Courses

Learning After Effects need not be complicated. You can use this tool to help you create amazing designs from your sheer imagination. Here is a list of the best courses which are self-paced so you don’t need to worry about fitting them into your schedule. Some of these courses are primarily for beginners who are seeking to orient themselves to the basics. While other courses have recent insights into the latest techniques curated by the industry experts. The courses in this list are diverse and are from different platforms like Domestika, Coursera, Adobe, and YouTube.

1. Getting Started - Adobe

The official Adobe learning site has its own course for introducing After Effects. After all, the software is a product of Adobe itself. This tutorial is purely for complete beginners and is designed to briefly introduce the interface and basic functioning of Adobe After Effects. It takes you through the manual control and menu options which you will need to familiarize yourself with.

2. The Basics – YouTube

This free-to-watch After Effects tutorial is presented by a very passionate photographer and YouTuber Peter Meckinnon. He walks you through the various elements the Adobe interface puts at your disposal. These elements are quite artistically introduced by Peter as he animates a basic title project on Adobe.

3. How to Animate a line - YouTube

When you are introduced to a vast world of possibilities, it can be a bit overwhelming. Which is why starting from the very basics is always a good idea. This next YouTube tutorial shows you step by step how to animate a line on Adobe After Effects from one point to another.

4. Introduction and Advanced After Effects – Domestika

Domestika is an online learning platform that is great for freelancers and independent artists who can purchase self-paced lessons on topics like graphic design and animation. The Introduction and Advanced After Effects tutorials by Carlos Zensuke Albarran are a comprehensive bundle of lessons that quench your thirst for 2D effects animation a bit further.

5. Typography Animation – Domestika

The mark of a professional is his specialization. As you gain more experience in practicing Adobe After Effects, you can begin trying out more bold and stylistic animations with simple typographic techniques. It would not only make you more confident as a motion graphics designer but also equip you with fluid skills as a freelancer. Typographic motion graphics is a cash cow for many After Effect animators.

6. Vectorial Animation – Domestika

Cartoonist animated videos and motion designs are quite interesting to animate. Vectorial 2D animation is quite popular among YouTube tutorials and explainer videos. They make for excellent corporate animations. You can find an amazing Domestika tutorial on Vectorial that walks you through in simple steps on Frame by Frame style animations.

7. Getting Started with Motion Graphics - Coursera

Coursera is another amazing online learning platform for gaining access to Beginner to Advanced courses on Adobe After Effects. This one tutorial introduces you to Beginner level motion graphics where you can learn from short self-paced videos.

8. Getting Started with Motion Graphics - SkillShare

SkillShare is another amazing online learning platform for gaining access to Beginner to Advanced courses on Adobe After Effects. This one tutorial introduces you to Beginner level motion graphics where you can learn from short self-paced videos. It is guided by a leading professional in motion graphics and visual effects who covers all the bases alongside hands-projects.

9. Make Simple Logo Intro in After Effects – YouTube

Creating Intros for your videos is probably the most cost-effective marketing gizmos employed today. This free tutorial on YouTube from Tech Infusion is a simple-to-follow video that sheds some light on how to create eye-catching intros that instantly catches your audience’s attention.

10. Work with Composition - Adobe

Working with After Effects is all about creating gorgeous compositions that pop. This Adobe tutorial equips you with the basics of creating animation on Adobe After Effects with multiple layers and keyframes.

 Part 2 How to Create 2D Motion Graphics with After Effects

The astonishing world of intriguing after-effects is vast. Whether you do it as a profession or simply as a hobby, learning how to add after-effects to your 2d motion graphics is always an amazing idea. Worried how you'd understand the tools to add after-effects to your animation? Well, we've got you covered! Today we'll be looking at how you can add after-effects to your 2d animation.

after effects interface

●To make a new 2D graphics in after effects, you need to make a new composition. To do so, head to the composition menu in the menu bar. Upon clicking on the composition menu, a new drop-down menu would open up. From the drop-down menu, click on "new composition".

new composition after effects

●A new setting box would pop up, in this settings box you can alter the settings of the composition. If you do not wish to change any setting, simply click on "ok" and proceed ahead.

composition settings after effects

●Next, you need to find the tool panel in the main menu bar. Upon clicking on it, a new drop-down menu will appear, click on "star tool". We're simply taking the star shape, for instance, alternatively, you can select and another shape too...

star tool after effects

●Once you've selected the shape you want, draw by clicking your mouse and dragging

draw shape after effects

●Click on the shape and the layers will appear on the left of your screen. From the popped up screen, click on "properties". Here you can find multiple animation options and you can even edit frame by frame. Add frames at regular intervals and move according to your wish

choose animation and apply after effects

 Part 3 5 Best Animation After Effects that you must know

1. Stacking animation – YouTube

Stacking animation is an excellent and simple trick that can make any animation look cool and complex. The stacking animation is nothing but the use of the stacking template multiple times. To do so, you just need to duplicate a few of the base layers. Next, you need to offset the duplicated frames by a few frames and finally add some effects. The Adding of stacking animation will result in a slight extension of your animation layers. You can further customize your frames by adding effects or color to enhance the animation.

stacking animation

2. Light sweeps

An advantage of using the after effects software is that it offers several drag and drop features which you can simply drag and drop to your animation to enhance its looks. A light sweep animation is one such animation that can add great value to your animation. You can add this effect by following the steps given below

●Head to "effects" from your main interface

●Here you need to find "generate"

●Now from the list of drag and drop animations, drag and drop "light sweeps" onto your workspace

You can then change and customize almost any aspect of the animation simply by clicking on it and changing the settings

light sweeps

3. Quick shape animation

This is a very cool trick that you can use on your 2d objects! This includes the creation of your own layer(you can use any 2d shape). Further, you need to duplicate your shape and the stagger the animation. This gives the entire animation an interesting and engaging effect. The trick is very resourceful while dealing with 2d objects.

quick shape animation

4. Animate your background

When your entire animation looks slightly basic and you wish to give your animation a zest, this trick is highly useful! If you're working with colored backgrounds, this animation trick can help make it more attractive. This animation is simply just adding motion to your background making it look like it's moving in or out.

animate your background

5. Graphics reflection

Although this method is slightly complicated, it could enhance the animation by leaps and bounds. To do so, you need to write a fancy text of your choice, then you need to duplicate this text, and further, you need to flip it vertically. To make it look more realistic, you can add the blur effect. This will make it look like the duplicated text is a reflection of the original text

new composition after effects

 Part 4 5 Character Animation Tools for After Effects

1. Rubber hose 2

Rubber hose is one of the primitive tools for adding animations. This is mainly because it was found in the early 2000s and back then, animations had wobbly legs and an absurd body structure. This tool has several cool inbuilt functions that make the animation so much simpler. The robust tool. makes animation pretty simple and hassle-free. Rubber hose 2 is an advanced version of rubber hose, it has several advanced features. The plug-in is however not free, you'd need to purchase it at $45 in order to gain a lifetime access.

2. Duik

Duik is one of the most advanced and comprehensive character animation tools in the market. It was initially launched in 2008, but since then there's been a vast improvement in the tool's features and today it's one of the picks to perform animation using rigging and other animation techniques. Duik has several tools that make the animation so convenient. The tool has features such as auto rig, which helps save time while animating. Other tools include effects such as bones, rigging, various filters, and effects.

3. Joystick 'n sliders

Joystick'n sliders is another highly utilitarian tool for animators. Along with key animation features such as rigging and boning, the tool has other cool and highly useful features to make your animation interesting! The user interface of this tool is a big plus, the simplicity of the user interface makes the tool perfect for beginners and advanced level animators. The tool is simple to use and has a plethora of cool features which could help you make your animation highly engaging.

4. Puppet tool 3

Puppet tool 3 is an after effects plugin that could help you create character animations. The plug-in is different from the in-built puppet tool in after effects. The puppet tool inbuilt into after effects are the Rigging tool for animation, however using the inbuilt tool is slightly sophisticated. Puppet tool 3 is not an individual tool but works in coordination with the inbuilt the puppet tool. Since using the inbuilt tool was complex, puppet tool 3 made it simple. Apart from rigging, the plugin also allows you to work with a few additional features. You can buy the plug-in for only $39.95!

5. Adobe animate character

Adobe character animation is the in-house plugin of Adobe to animate characters. However, the tool is probably still in development. Adobe has been working on releasing this tool for a while now, and in the latest version of after effects, Adobe added the beta version of the character animator. Character animator is probably the most efficient and advanced animation tool. It uses facial recognition for animations and allows you to perform almost all basic animations. The software is perfect when you're trying to create a complex animated character.

Key Takeaways from This Episode

Today we've dwelled a lot into animation and the tools available for animation.

We've seen how animation could be enhanced using the inbuilt tools available in Adobe after effects.

We've also gone a step further and seen the external plugin tools that you can use to make character animations and highly advanced 2d effects ok animations.

We've also taken an overview on how to create a simple basic 2d motion animation, all in all, we've gone from understanding the beginner level animation to understanding advanced animation

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