My venture into the world of traditional animation.

I’ve been wanting to introduce traditional animation into my workflow for years but the learning curve is so steep it put me off. Having said that, my greatest skill is drawing so this approach would allow me to actually utilise it.


A few weeks ago, I started the fantastic course by MoGraph Mentor titled Classical Animation Workflows and Techniques by the legendary Henrique Barone. It definitely isn’t for the faint hearted but I’m so glad I took the plunge. It’s early days but so far it’s been immensely liberating to free myself of plugins and scripts just to animate. Instead of focusing on the software side of things, I just draw. If I get an idea in my head, I just draw it. There’s no need to create all the assets in Illustrator or Photoshop, I just draw.

One of the ultimate goals is to introduce this into my character animation pipeline. I’m a long way off from doing that but being able to freely animate characters will be a huge boon for my work. Don’t get me wrong, DUIK, Limber and Rubberhose are all great but sometimes you’re just pushing After Effects in a direction it was never intended for. Anyone that has had the “pleasure” of animating characters in a 4K comp in DUIK will get what I mean. At the end of the day, your characters are locked into a rig and are only capable of simple movements. If you want your character joints to change perspective (imagine their arm goes from the side to reaching out towards you) DUIK just can’t achieve. Limber can but there are some huge caveats involved. Just watching the looseness involved when Henrique animates a character is mesmerising.

Above is my first completed piece. In the grand scheme of things, it’s simple but learning the process wasn’t. Above you can see the first rough, where the timing is so linear and dull, then I refined the movement. Once I was happy with that, I created a clean up pass before finally adding colour. I could definitely create something like that in After Effects but it just wouldn’t look as visually engaging. Yes it’s not buttery smooth as I animated on twos but I believe that’s a trade off worth making.

Only time will tell how this will fit into my workflow. The epic extension for After Effects, Photoshop and Animate, Timelord, really is a game changer and has already proven to speed up this technique by ensuring all the buttons in all 3 applications are consistent. I’ll keep posting my progress, and fingers crossed, soon I’ll be able to use it in a huge project I’m working on.