Falling animation in After Effects

Falling illustration

I’ve been getting back into animation recently having done some bits and bobs for work. I’ve also been flicking through my old sketchbooks recently and found one or two that can be quickly done up so that I can work my way through some tutorials.

I found an ideal one of guy gleefully plummeting through the sky, which I quickly drew out and layered up for the animation an imported into After Effects. I’ve used After Effects on projects previously like my Wizard Party animation and Splishy Sploshy animations with the puppet tools, but went a bit further this time using the DUIK IK tool which gives you more control over the After Effects puppet rig. I’ve also set it up to loop properly when it’s outputted to a gif (see below).

Here’s the video:

Things I learned:

  • Animation is fun to do but there’s nothing to kill that happy end result with getting bottlenecked when trying to output it. Adobe’s Media Encoder might have moved on a bit from CS4 to the current version in terms of what it outputs to, but it can be infuriating trying to get it to do what you want without errors popping up.
  • Their online help is just as bad. But there is a massively supportive community that documents and finds workarounds for all CC suites irritating quirks.
  • Gfycat is great but doesn’t embed that well on old types of forums and blogs.
  • You have to centre the puppet pins pretty carefully on your composition layer as they can sometimes clip bits off the mesh (you can see the outlines of the hands have detached themselves slightly, as if he’s being followed by his fingernails).

More animation work coming up in the next few months.

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