‘Hand Drawn animation style’ using After Effects

Animation Test – After Effects


This is a short animation test that was created in 45 mins for a recent project pitch.
It is an attempt to achieve a ‘hand drawn’ 2D animation style using After Effects.
Basic workflow:

  • I drew the artwork in Illustrator using Pen tool, modified paths with variable stroke tool to get the look desired.
  • separated elements into individual layers as required.
  • imported the .AI in to After Effects
  • Set comp to 12 FPS.
  • “Convert Vector to shape layer” command (After Effects CC).
  • Used wiggle expression on ‘Twist’ and ‘Offset Paths’ Modifiers of the shape layers.
  • Used a recent fluid sim rendered sequence as a track matte for the colour reveal

This is a quick workflow and allows you to approximate the look of the organic moving lines of 2D animation after only drawing one frame.
Also easy to Update and iterate. The wiggle expression is slightly different per layer to not look too computerised. It is easy to apply this expression to other shots.

You can read more about the process in the YouTube comments for this video.

About the author

Michael Wentworth-Bell is a Melbourne-based 3D generalist and Motion Graphics artist. Michael started the Lode in 2012 as an online Portfolio and blog.

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