How to Animate Impossible Shapes in After Effects – Advanced Tips from Sander van Dijk


** Watch Part 2 of this tutorial on Sander’s channel! **

Sander van Dijk has worked with some of the top studios and brands in the world. His unique and clever approaches to using After Effects has earned him a reputation as an incredible animator and problem solver. He has also helped create some incredible tools for motion designers, like Ray Dynamic Color. In short, he’s pretty good at this stuff.

In this tutorial, Sander, who also teaches Advanced Motion Methods, will take you through the process and workflow he used to animate a very tricky piece of geometry, the Penrose Triangle. Animating “impossible” shapes like this one can leave you wondering… where do I start?

After this tutorial, you’ll know.

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Auto-Generated Transcript Below 👇

Sander van Dijk (00:00): Hello, my name is Sander van Dijk. And in this video, I’m going to teach you how you can make this. It’s actually one of the elements that was used in a blend manifesto animation. I’ll be sharing how I approach this animation and show you some handy techniques that you can use in other projects as well After effects is a very deep tool and it can take years to master. But if you’re looking for a way to get to the next level as an animator and check out advanced motion methods, where I teach you exactly how I’ve used after effects on projects, for some of the biggest brands in the world, also, you can download the project files I’m using in this video to follow along or practice. After you’re done, watching details are in the description. Now let’s get started.

Sander van Dijk (00:48): So first of all, how do we get a shape like that? It’s actually really difficult to draw. So luckily I’ve actually included the file where it’s already done. So you could just grab that if you don’t want to draw this thing on your own, I would like to challenge you to try, because it’s actually really hard if you want to, uh, hint, uh, what we, what I can do is I could just show you how to do this with a square, because it’s a lot easier to do that with a shape like that. So just draw a square, hit command C command after paste it in the same place. And then let’s just create lines for now.

Sander van Dijk (01:22): So you have lions here and then the outside shape, uh, let’s make some around corners for those. And then what you can do is you can just, you know, move these shapes like this, and you can start to see the effect already occurring, right? Duplicate that once more like this. And now you could see this shape starts to form, you know, you have two options. You could either go completely to the edge or you could do like halfway. So there’s lots of different ways to go about it or to recreate the shape. So if you end up doing this tutorial, try to do it with a different shape, uh, just to see, uh, what new challenges that brings. And maybe you can eventually share that with the community as well, so that everyone can learn from each other’s creation.

Sander van Dijk (02:10): Alright, now let’s get this into after effects. So there’s a couple ways you can bring things into after effects. One of the easiest ways is to just grab a shape like this, copy it, go to after effects, go to your pen tool, click anywhere in the field and just hit paste. And then that will, that way it will come in. Now, there are some challenges with like, as far as where the anchor point is. So if I just copied this shape and I paste it into after effects like this, we showed a title, same thing right now, it’s in the center over here. But then when I paste, uh, another object like this one, that’s obviously not going to line up. So, uh, you know, it kind of does whatever with the anchor points. So that’s why I actually have this shape that you see here around it, because if you use that shape as well, so you click here and you click on that.

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Duration: 00:16:58

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