2D Animation

After Effects in action | Creative Industries North Dept. promo 2014
This module introduces you to 2D Animation, Principles of Animation, trends, tools and terminology.

It focusses on 2D animation for broadcast. This is in contrast to the CUA31015 web stream which focusses on animation for the web.

How you will be assessed

After a series of skills-building Learning Tasks, students should be in a position to do the Assessment. The Assessment tests performance and knowledge evidence from the following unit:

CUAANM301: Create 2D digital animations

2D Animation | Web vs Broadcast

Animating for the broadcast scenario uses a different set of strategies to web animation. Web animation needs to be "lightweight", this is essential for web publishing. File sizes of assets need to be as small as possible. Web animation also offers interactivity, users can click and drag, open and close items and fill-out forms.

2D Animation for broadcast isn't limited by file size but there's no interactivity with the one exception; Virtual Reality (VR) which now allows low-level interactivity.

Q. Why Animate?

If you animate your artwork you can dramatically increase its chances of getting noticed. Even something as simple as a slideshow can significantly elevate the appeal of your artwork. In addition, if you apply the Principles of Animation such as exaggeration, secondary action, squash and stretch you can add even greater appeal.

2D vs 3D Animation; the lines are blurred

2D animation has historically meant that animations were deployed in 2-axes, left/right and up/down, and the third axis, the z-axis, was simulated using scaling.

This distinction is less clear now thanks to the increased functionality of industry standard 2D animation software. 2D software can now simulate 3D using masks, scaling, parallax movement and 3d "plug-ins".

Adding Audio

Although not a major part of this delivery, audio needs to be considered as a crucial part of animation. Don't underestimate the power of audio to convey extra meaning and value. Audio can reduce the workload of the animator by providing drama and atmosphere even before anything moves.

The Tools & Knowledge

This module mostly uses Adobe After Effects (AE) with a supporting cast of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Core knowledge of Design Principles as applicable to Screen Composition and an understanding of the Principles of Animation is also addressed.


What is After Effects?



EC Abrams YouTube channel shows you the diversity of AE:




Learning Task 1 | Intro to After Effects


To learn the basics of After Effects (AE), it's best to start slowly with a simple task. In this task, make a five second, HD (1280x720) animated sequence.

There is no theme, just explore the filters and animate some type. Have a play and experiment.


  • In a new file, make a new composition, 720p (HDV 1280x720, 25fps) 5 secs duration (see screenshot and note duration) :

  • Make a background using a solid and add some pre-set effects to the solid.
  • Add some text; your name or an inspirational quote from the Design Module. Choose your font, colour, size.
  • Animate the text with pre-set effects.
  • If you'd like a challenge, try animating a mask.
  • Save your file then render it out as HD, mp4, h264 codec no audio.

Submission Guide
Submit your rendered mp4 and your .aep file using Cloud Storage. Put them both in a zip folder for convenience and don't forget to include any artwork used.


Supporting Resources


Chris Adams 2017


Learning Task 2 : Working with audio in After Effects. (4-6hrs)

In this task you import audio into After Effects and adjust the artwork to "synch" with the audio.

Using the resources on our shared Google Drive, download the video and supporting files (LT2animate2audio) and work through it at your own pace (2-3 hrs).

Try changing the typeface and effects settings to your taste.

Submission Guide:
Submit both your .aep file and the final render in mp4, in a zipped folder via Cloud Storage.


Chris Adams 2017


Assessment Task AT1: Animate an Infographic

Using After Effects as your primary application, follow the instructions in the Assessment Package supplied to you via our LMS.

In this task, you are requested to make an Animated Inforgraphic, 1280x720, 25fps with audio. The Infographic can be on anything you like. It's primary role is your choice too; it can inform, entertain or educate.

In addition to the animated Infographic you need to supply a Supporting Document. This is used as evidence of your Knowledge of the Principles of Animation, Screen Composition and WH&S.


Assessment and Submission Guide:
See the Assessment Package for details on all aspects of the assessment.

Chris Adams 2017