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Animating Light and Shade in 2D: With Animate and After Effects

Animating Light and Shade in 2D With Animate and After EffectsAnimating Light and Shade


Animating Light and Shade in 2D: With Animate and After Effects : How can you 2D animate a shade, casted by a moving light? One solution is to combine frame/cel animation with shape layer animation and get the best out of each craft.

Lighting and shading is an essential part of an illustrations style and expression- so it’s a shame to exclude this when we animate! Follow along my process and get new insights when it comes to animating shade. By the end, you’ll be able to create unique 2D animations by combining different animation techniques. You’ll learn how to:

  • Import and prepare a character (with shade) for animating frame by frame in Adobe Animate (Flash)
  • Make guides and plan for drawing a moving shade
  • Frame-by-frame/cel animate the shade
  • Transfer your project from Animate to After effects
  • Add texture and expression with effects in After Effects
  • Export an animated loop

Whether you’re an illustrator who’s curious about animation, or a motion designer looking to solve a new problem, learning a combination of frame-by-frame and shape layer animation will open up new possibilities for your work to evolve.

This class is open to all levels, though some experience with Adobe software, and in the best case After Effects, is suggested to make it easier to follow along. To finish the class project, you’ll need a version of any frame-by-frame animation software and After Effects. The shade animation will be easier to do if you have access to a digital drawing device.

There is plenty in the subject this class doesn’t cover. To educate yourself further in animation, consider looking into classes covering: the concept phase of animation (like storyboarding); the 12 principles of animation (like squash and stretch) and the graph editor in After Effects.

Watch the Introduction Video :


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