Dutch Animation – Character Rigging

Project Purpose and Objective

About three months or so ago I set out to create an animation of a Dutch visual. Before creating this animation, I had never truly animated or rigged something aside from adding a wiggle to some visuals here and there. The thought of animating and rigging an illustrated person really scared me because it was uncharted territory that I was about to walk into but with encouragement from my mentor and feedback from several sources, I am proud to say I completed what I had visualized several months back. And I learned more about After Effects which was one of my goals with this project.

The Project


There were two main challenges that I had encountered during this project, aside from small challenges. One was creating the illustration in Illustrator because I had to think about how the person on the bike would move to make each part of their body in a way that I would be able to animate. To overcome this challenge, I had to think as an animator, which in turn made me realize that I had to make each body part of the illustrated person on a separate layer for me to illustrate each limb, body part, and detail. The other challenge I came across was animated the illustration. I had watched many YouTube videos and did a lot of research to figure out how to animate it in the way that I wanted it to look and in a way that would accurately reflect how the human body looks and moves.

Project Process

I began with visual research on Dutch illustrations others have done, mainly to get an idea of how others have illustrated Dutch houses and what perspective others have created them at.

I then began to create my illustration roughly through strokes. This way I was able to make sure the shapes of the houses were like I wanted them. This was also helpful to me because it made it easier for me to be able to change things because they were simple shapes with strokes.

After creating the outline of everything, I began to add color, this was one of the other hard parts because I knew that color has the power to convey a lot of different things. For this I wanted it to convey old Dutch houses with muted, non-saturated colors.

It took a while to get the color scheme down, but eventually I got there. Now it was time to animate. I’ve added screenshots of the rigs I made on my character and other screenshots of my After Effects project.

After rigging the character and the bike, I added textures and blur to the animation to stylize it and make the character and the bike the focal point of the animation.

Overview of Experiences

Overall, I truly believe that even though this project was way out of the scope of my knowledge for After Effects at this point in time, it truly helped me learn SO much about the program by just throwing myself into the project and learning one of the hardest things to do in, in my opinion, rigging a illustrated character. I feel more confident with my knowledge of the program which was one of my main goals when I decided to create this project.

Insights and Takeaways

One of the main insights I took away from the project was that effort pays off. Effort in any form but in this case personally, it paid off to learn and watch videos about animation and asking for help and feedback from others who have worked in After Effects before.