Artists who nail character animation in After Effects

By Ryan B |

When it comes to software, Adobe After Effects is our studio’s number-one animation workhorse. Initially conceived as software for compositing and simple visual effects, its ever-evolving list of features now makes it an ideal tool for a whole host of other things. This includes some not-too-shabby solutions for producing character animation, largely thanks to some rather clever scripts and plugins.

Whilst the workflows aren’t quite as developed as those you’d find in something like Toon Boom oprocr TV Paint, some animators have achieved incredible results inside of After Effects. So, we’ve put together a list for you. Here are a few examples of inspiring character animators and studios who have pushed the software’s character tools to the absolute limit.

Markus Magnusson

This Swedish animator’s fun, story-filled loops are all done within After Effects. They somehow manage to be beautifully simple in their design but extremely rich and nuanced in their motion. Consequently, he has a large following on social and Patreon. He regularly shares advice and tutorials on how to create awesome character work for fellow animators.


Hend & Lamiaa

What Hend Esmat and Lamiaa Diab have done with their animation ‘Flipped’ is nothing short of amazing. They’ve created animation that feels so organic and hand-drawn almost entirely within After Effects. It would be bordering on the unbelievable if they didn’t show you how they engineered it here.


Emanuele Colombo

Emanuele’s character work seems to have a real sense of rhythm running through it. He often pairs simple shapes with bold designs. Therefore creating engaging characters and stories.


Vladimir Marchukov

Vladimir’s NSFW series for Pornhub is the perfect vehicle for this animator’s comedic style because he creates rich backgrounds and transitions, deliciously bizarre characters and has an impeccable sense of comic timing. And all within After Effects! Who would have thought porn could be so much fun?


Eoin Duffy

We were lucky enough to see Eoin Duffy’s inspiring short film ‘I am Here’ at Encounters film festival a few years ago. It still packs an emotional punch, and serves as a shining example of how simple shapes can be used to form highly engaging characters and stories. In addition, the overall design is just beautiful.


Joe Le Huquet

In the Guardian Labs series, Joe Le Huquet takes the vector style of character animation and softens it, therefore giving the whole thing a gentler feel whilst still keeping the characters relatable and interesting to watch. It’s the perfect example of how experimenting with different styles can help to create an engaging and memorable After Effects animation.


Manuel Neto

An artist adept at telling stories with each character he creates, and a solid example of highly believable and engaging character work. We love his bold, colourful style and the ability to create such organic-feeling animation inside of Ae.


Chris Phillips

An animator who clearly has a lot of fun whilst putting together his colourful and gloriously funny animations! He seems able to find opportunities to exploit characters in the unlikeliest of places. Check out his GIF collections to get a glimpse into this animator’s mind…



We fell in love with DeeKay’s style after seeing the ‘Designer & Client’ series produced for Animade studios, and his portfolio reveals an animator who likes to experiment with different approaches to character work inside of After Effects.


Animade / Build / Edik Katykhin

These Plus Plus teasers are a perfect example of stripped-back design paired with great character animation inside of AE. This is nothing more than simple shapes with eyes and mouths, but every character is immediately loveable.


Animade – Tend

Whilst Animade’s Tend wasn’t strictly produced using After Effects alone (so we’re cheating a bit here), the software was used to provide a building block for each of the characters in this beautiful and moving short film.


Shy Guys Studios

OK, so you’ll have to forgive us for a bit of shameless self-promotion, but we’re extremely proud of the character animation in our recent video ‘Practical Tips for Dealing with Anxiety’. So, we want to share this with the world wherever possible! Created 100% within After Effects…

And there you have it… proof that After Effects can certainly hold its own when it comes to great character animation. If you know of any artists you think should be included on this list, we’d love to know about them!

Check out some of our own After Effects character work here.

Ready to kick off your project? Great. We’d love to talk