After Effects II course at Sessions College

After Effects II

3 credits

DIG 212: After Effects II

Advanced Animation and Motion Graphics

It’s time to level up your After Effects skills. In this course, you’ll build on your basic knowledge of AE and explore how to employ more advanced animation techniques and visual effects. Guided by an industry pro, you'll learn how to use motion paths and value and speed graphs to make objects move in believable ways. You will discover how to apply classic animation principles to mirror real-world physics and how to use rigging to set up 2D characters for animation. You will learn about ways to refine your animations and make them interactive. Finally, you'll explore best practice strategies for using Motion Graphics Templates (MOGRTS) and coding to optimize your workflow.

Bring a character to life step by step

Course At A Glance

Course Features

  • 100% online
  • Project-based
  • Instructor-led
  • Credit-bearing: 3 Credits
  • Classes start January, April, and August


The course is taught by the following instructor(s):

Course developed by: Sara Wade

Take this course as a standalone or as part of the following program(s):

Course Projects

    1. Animating Time

      We will kick off this course by examining how to apply the fundamental animation principles of timing and space and their effect on an animation's look and overall feel. You’ll review the types of keyframes used in After Effects and discover how to access a variety of value-easing curves in the graph editor for greater precision and control over your animations.

    2. Mastering Motion

      Get ready to bring your animations to life in exciting new ways. We will explore the transformative world of animation arcs, discovering how they add fluidity and realism to your creations. You'll work with speed graph manipulation to unlock nuanced techniques for controlling motion while examining how squash and stretch principles can breathe life into your animations.

    3. Animating Energy & Narrative Animation

      This week, we explore why concepts based in physics, such as bounce and impact, are essential for crafting lifelike animations in After Effects. We will examine how a pendulum can oscillate between two values to create convincing motion. We will connect these scientific principles to the world of Western animation, looking at the ways in which animators rely on physics-based concepts to create scenes and stories.

    4. Refined Motion & Interactive Animation

      They say that one thing leads to another. In this lecture we will explore how natural, dynamic movement is created using overlap and follow-through techniques. You will discover how secondary animation heightens the realism in your environments, making each scene more distinctive. We will take a look at the fascinating world of interactive animation, discussing the exciting possibilities for an animator using After Effects.

    5. Character Animation Basics

      This week, we embark on an invigorating journey into the principles of character animation, exploring the key elements that breathe life and relatability into characters. This all begins with the intricacies of body mechanics and acting, where real-world physics and anatomy shape a character's movements by adding authenticity to their actions. We will discuss how to rig a 2D character and create a walk cycle animation, the sequence that creates the illusion of a character walking seamlessly in a perpetual loop.

    6. Expressions & Workflow

      To prepare you to tackle more complex projects, our final lecture will focus on how to use expressions in After Effects, unveiling the power of code automation to streamline and simplify repetitive tasks and revolutionize your workflow. We will dive into the use Motion Graphics Templates or MOGRTS, productivity tools that can elevate your efficiency and optimize your process. Finally, we will discuss some invaluable workflow enhancements, exploring best practices and plug-ins to boost your animation process, taking it to new heights.

Sample Student Work

For sample work, visit student gallery

Course Outcomes

What Are The Course Projects?

Animation projects simulate real-world physics, such as driving a car from an aerial view, path motion, a Rube Goldberg sequence, and rigging a character animation for a walk cycle. In the final project, students pursue an area of interest.

What Software or Supplies Do I Need?
  • Computer with Internet connection (broadband recommended).
  • Computer that meets the Adobe After Effects recommended system requirements.
  • Adobe After Effects.
  • Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
  • Basic experience in the above software and digital media skills.
What Will I Learn?

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Employ different key types in After Effects to control timing and spacing and enhance the overall feel of an animation.
  • Discover how to apply a variety of value and speed graphs for greater control over animated properties.
  • Simulate real-world physics in animation using principles such as arcs, squash, stretch, bounce, impact, oscillation, and pendulums.
  • Explore narrative and interactive animation applications and apply them in your work.
  • Develop a Rube Goldberg Machine animation based on overlap, follow-through, and secondary animation principles.
  • Incorporate principles of character animation to convey emotion and personality.
  • Create a walk cycle animation using rigging, anchor points, and parenting techniques.
  • Utilize code in After Effects to automate repetitive animation tasks.
  • Discover how Motion Graphics Templates (MOGRTS) allow editors to adapt and customize templates for their specific needs.
  • Install and utilize After Effects plug-ins to enhance workflow and expand the software’s capabilities. 

Getting Started

Course Registration

  • Classes start January, April, and August
  • 3 Credit Course
  • Project-Based: Exercises, Discussions, and Critiques

Course Tuition and Fees
Registration Fee* $200
Total Course Price $1730

Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for course content.

Course Registration Form

To register for this course, use the form below to enter your information and desired start date. An Admissions Advisor will contact you to arrange payment and provide you with an Enrollment Agreement.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


What Are The Courses Like?

Our courses are project-based. In each course you’ll enjoy a series of lectures, projects, discussions, and critiques designed to stretch your creative skills, earning college credit for your completed course.

How Much Time Do I Need?

Classes start January, April, and August, and this course can be completed in a 15-week term. College credit from this course can be applied to a range of degree and certificate level programs at Sessions College.

Who Are The Instructors?

Our courses are developed and taught by our faculty of professional artists, designers, and photographers. This means that you’ll learn in-demand skills, get feedback on your work, and build a portfolio of creative work.

Is Sessions College accredited?

Yes. Since 2001, Sessions College has been accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). The Distance Education Accrediting Commission is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency and is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).