After Effects Animation

Viniyata and I partnered up again for the second animation assignment. We ran through a number of ideas for this project, from a riff on the little mermaid to a hypnotic pocket watch pendulum. Eventually we settled on something using DaVinci’s Vitruvian Man. The drawing seemed like a good way to explore animating the human form, without having to invent a character. It also allowed us to explore shapes and patterns, which seemed pretty cool.

We storyboarded out the idea, then divided the work into two parts: prepping and animating the Vitruvian Man himself and then duplicating and animating the original animation. I took animating the Vitruvian Man, who I eventually grew really really tired of.

Cutting up the Vitruvian Man into parts was straightforward, but tedious. I thought of him like a paper doll. I spent quite a bit of time duplicating layers to separate each arm, fore arm, and upper arm into three distinct pieces. It was the same process for each thigh, calf, and foot. After cutting everything up in Photoshop, I took everything into After Effects to test it out. The figure needed a lot of adjustments, and that also took a fair amount of time.

Something that we hadn’t considered when we first picked the Vitruvian Man is that only one of his legs can really bend, due to how they are positioned in space. I solved this by mirroring the leg that can bend. This looks a little silly, but you can’t really tell in the animation.

Vitruvian Man Legs


I created the figure’s animation by with rotations and parent/child pairings. I was trying to keep the motions angular and ‘mathematical’, but also make them seem human. I think that works. After finishing the figure animation I handed the composition off to Viniyata.

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