I have decided to experiment in After Effects since I have found out that you can actually also make a 2.5D animation in it. I started off watching different YouTube tutorials to get a small grasp of what I was doing. The tutorial which helped me the most, was this one:
I found it super useful and it helped me get a good start on animating the test animation.
Firstly, I opened my desired image in Photoshop and removed the background, so the image (character) will be on a transparent background and then I saved it as a PNG and imported it into After Effects.
To be able to move any parts of your character, you would have to use the “puppet tool” (which is the little pin tool in the toolbar at the top). Because I wanted her head, chest and abdomen to move, that’s where I placed the little puppet tool pins (the yellow dots on the character). If you want to select a pin, all you have to do is click on it and it will turn into a solid yellow colour (like the one on the head). You know a pin is deselected when it’s empty inside.
You can also toggle the “mesh” layer on or off (the lines on the character) to be able to see the actual structure much better.
You might notice that the mesh also goes over your character. That’s when you need to edit the expansion and decrease the size down to
The thing you want to do next, is to edit the “strength” of the pins. You can do that by long pressing on the puppet tool icon and then clicking on the “puppet starch tool”.
Then, you need to click on the edge of the lines, where you want to strengthen the part of your character’s body.
A red dot will appear and/ or it will fill with a light lilac colour- that’s when you know if the part has been strengthened. This will restrict the movement of the selected part and will make it less “floppy”.
When you are happy with the strength and the placement of the puppet tool pins, you can begin animating.
So far, the only thing I know about animating your character, is to press “Ctrl” and click on one of the pins and a yellow outline of your character should appear. The yellow outline will end up being the movement of your character after you will animate it. Simply, you move one of the pins while holding down “ctrl”- this records the movement you make, keep moving one of the pins in the movement you want your character’s limb/ part to move and when you’re happy with the movement and the length of it, just lift your finger off the ctrl key and it should automatically record the movement you’ve been making. You do that for every pin separately and later on you can play it back on the timeline underneath.
This is what the screen looks like. You have the record timeline at the bottom where the animation has been recorded. I also switched off the black background to see the character from a different perspective.
Overall, I really enjoy working in After Effects and I think that it’s a perfect program to work on my FMP on. I still want to research and try out different software in case I will find something even better but for now I think I will carry on working in After Effects.