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Animation 101: Follow-Through in After Effects

By Joey Korenman
After Effects

Learn to create life-like movements with the animation principle of follow-through in After Effects.

Animators are often trying to mimic the way things move in real life, using the principles of animation to recreate what they see with their eyes. Learning this skill is the key to creating beautiful movement regardless of the software or medium you're working with. Follow-through, or overlapping action, is a principle that can add loads of visual interest and realism to your work once you grasp it.
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In this tutorial, Joey, who teaches Animation Bootcamp and our free course The Path to MoGraph, shows you one way you can apply follow-through to your After Effects work. This trick is incredibly handy because it doesn't rely on having artwork that was divided up into layers for animation.
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Animation 101: Follow-Through in After Effects

​​Download the Project Files & Assets

Amateurs just watch the tutorial, pros actually practice what they've learned. Download the artwork and project files from this video for free below, and give this whole follow-through thing a shot! If you don't already have the free Duik plugin, download it here.

Download the free project file and assets from this video!

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​​What are you going to learn in this tutorial?

In this lesson, you'll learn what animators mean by the term "follow-through," and then you'll see exactly how to apply it in After Effects. This is just one of the many ways to use this principle, but it will unlock many new creative ideas once you grasp the basic concept.

What is Follow-Through?

Boring name, amazing animation principle. Find out what all of the hype is about.

Why should you use it in your work?

If you're not using follow-through in your work yet, you'll find out just how big a difference it can make.
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Using puppet pins to set up a rig

For this particular technique, the first step is to set up a "spine" of puppet pins in your artwork. While a bit tedious, it gives you a ton of control and doesn't require you to prep your artwork.

Using Duik bones to create a joint chain

Just Duik. Creating a puppet-pin joint chain without Duik is possible, but kind of a pain. You'll learn how to use this free plugin to save you time. And time is money.
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Overlapping the action

Once your animation rig is set up, it's time to create overlapping movement! This is the easy (and fun) part of the job. Play around with this!
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Don't just be "Good at After Effects." Learn to Animate.

There are plenty of courses out there that can teach you how After Effects works so that you can be "good at the software." But the hard truth is that the software is just the tool... it doesn't actually make great work for you. If you're not happy with your work, it's time to learn the fundamentals of animation. Anticipation, Overshoots, Follow-Through, Squash & Stretch... learn all of these principals and more in Animation Bootcamp, the #1 course in the world for learning to animate well in After Effects.
Our team is standing by to answer any questions you have about this course or any other class in our curriculum. Please let us know if we can help you in any way!