Tutorial: Animating Birds with After Effects

After Effects Tutorial from Cleveland Graphics firm, Go Media



Like a lot of motion designers I spend many hours trying to accomplish complex animations in a short amount of time, while attempting to optimize my workflow within After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator. This tutorial utilizes Trapcodes Particular, which is one of After Effects more popular 3rd party plugins. Creating an animation like a flock of birds is very versatile and is a great filler animation which can add a lot of style to a piece. You can also adapt this technique to create other flying creatures…. perhaps a flying skull with flapping wings?

Here’s a short clip of the Go Media promo reel that utilizes the bird animation that you will learn to create. (To view the entire promo reel, click here and scroll down to the bottom of the tutorial).

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/LdC5vVI6VDg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

What you’ll need:
A working knowledge of Adobe After Effects
Trapcode’s Particular Plugin
Adobe Illustrator.

So what we are going to do is create a flock of birds in After Effects using Trapcodes plugin, Particular.

1. Open up After Effects
Create a composition called “bird.” Set your composition settings to something similar to this:

2. Set up your Wing Layers
Once you have your composition set up, create two new solid white layers both about 300×300 pixels. Name one of them “right wing” and the other “left wing.”