Science of Character Animation

by Markus Magnusson


Get as much life as possible out of your 2d characters with this all-encompassing course into the fascinating world of Character Animation. Markus will cover tonnes of classical animation and character design principles. He will also share his unique techniques gained throughout his long experience of a professional animator and motion graphics designer.

The Struggle is real

Characters are too complicated

A character is a complex system of limbs, body and other parts. And it’s extremely hard to handle all of this at once. Usually you don’t know what to animate first, what kind of dependencies exist between all of the body parts, each step of the animation process just confuses you even more.

But we will give all the necessary knowledge to understand what to start with, what to do next and even where and when you should stop in animating characters.

Something is wrong with my character’s moves

Your character is moving like he has just run away from hospital long before making a complete recovery? Not satisfied with the result and can’t understand why?

In this course you will learn all the essential fundamentals that will allow you to heal your characters from past diseases and let them enjoy this beautiful life you’ve just brought them into!

How to prepare illustration for animation?

You have just drawn the character, imported it to After Effects and here we go… Splitting it into new layers again and again, going back to illustrator and sorting out it in a new way. OMG, is there any rule of thumb?

Sure, there are a bunch of principles you should know and apply while preparing your character for animation. You will be taught all of them.

My characters don’t look awesome

Decided to do a real cool shot for your portfolio but even static characters already don’t look good?

Keep calm, this course will show you not only how to organize illustrator layers but also how to design characters so that they are easier to animate and are still as charismatic as you want them to be.

Rig doesn’t work as I planned it to

Alright, you imported the character to After Effects, and the first thing you decided to do is to rig the limbs. But when you started animating you realized that this rig doesn’t work for your particular case and it’s time to redo it all over again.

This course also touches upon the topic of rigging. So, you will definitely know what exactly, at which stage and in what way should be rigged.

Is this course for me?

You will need basic knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and some experience working in After Effects to be able to complete this course.

Illustrators & Character Designers

Who want to gain more knowledge about character design and to bring to life their own creatures.

Motion Designers & 2D Animators

Who want to diversify their works with kickass character animation or at least get rid of an ugly limb movement.

UI Designers & Graphics Designers

Who want to learn character animation and create scenes which then can be used in their apps, games and other digital products.

What will I learn in Science of Character Animation?

It’s a drip course and you will get the lectures one by one every week.

Work on character animation starts with the character. For this reason, Markus will pay great attention to how really charismatic characters are created.

You will have a quick overview of Adobe Illustrator tools and then learn about blocking out a character, proportions, exaggerations and etc.

The author will continue talking about character design and will pay more attention to such things as hands & feet, face and hair and will finish with adding details and outlines and, of course, showing you effective ways of working with color.

Many believe that the main role in animation is played by easings and timings… But the truth is, the secret to good character animation lies in high-quality poses. So in this section you will learn what the line of action is and how to use it, how to work with weight and gravity, and how to build an expressive and balanced composition.

What emotion your character is expressing? There are a lot of small nuances in facial expressions, that’s why it is very important to know the basics of building emotions.

You will learn mouth and eyes designs and the ways to create different moods

So, let’s start animating, right? Don’t hurry… To start with you need to have everything planned thoroughly. This stage is extremely important, as it helps to avoid tricky corrections when animating and it will also save some hair on your head from falling out.

In this lesson, we will talk about ways to generate ideas, create concepts and how to turn them into a complete captivating story.

A character is a complex system consisting of lots of limbs and other elements. So it’s very important to secure yourself against unnecessary trouble by splitting and naming layers in Illustrator first, then import it in After Effects and create a flexible rig.That will save tons of time and make the animation process much more comfortable. This is what this lesson is about.

Alright, it’s time to animate. Markus will share with you a lot of different techniques he has learnt during his long journey as an animator. In this lesson we will talk about such principles as weight, anticipation, recoil and follow through.

After you have already got familiar with things that allow you to create the good animation basis it’s time to learn how you can add flexibility to your characters with the help of squash & stretch, whip and wave motion, and offsets.

A character consists of many details, and after main parts have been animated let’s create some secondary motion by animating clothes, hair and adding some smears or action lines to emphasize the motion.

One of the greatest animators Ken Harris once gave a great piece of advice:

“ A walk is the first thing to learn. Learn walks of all kinds, cause walks are about the toughest thing to do right”.

A run is not just an accelerated walk. This movement has different dynamics, that’s what we will talk about here. Markus will show you the key poses and some secret ways to make your run-cycles more expressive.

This approach will save you a lot of time while animating complex scenes with a lot of different actions. In this lesson you will learn how to plan your shot and all the further steps to achieve a really nice result instead of getting lost and spend a lot of time on experiments when animating each movement one by one.

Even the slightest brow movement can cause a significant emotional response from the audience. Would be nice to know this trick as well as some others, wouldn't it?

Here you will learn how to animate transitions between emotions and get equipped with the alphabet of lip-sync.

What if your viewers were able to watch your animation only once? Would they get the message? Animation is a true stage performance, so it follows the same principles and the same tricks can be used.

Here we will talk about body language, facial expressions, importance of the eyes and, of course, timings, which usually play even greater role in achieving the best possible dramatic effect than technically challenging animation.

It’s time to finish up your animation, create a perfect loop, add sound design, render it out and post it on your Dribbble, Instagram, Vimeo or whatever.

Enroll now

What are the course benefits?

Free updates
Free updates

Once you finish the course, you will continue receiving new tutorials and updates. Isn't that awesome?

Study wherever you go
Study wherever you go

Even though we recommend using a desktop computer or a laptop, you can study on any device. But you will still need a laptop or a desktop computer for practice.

One of a kind support
One of a kind support

We have a live chat support for you. It may not be a 24/7 support, but it's still real help.


You will be invited to the members only private community of other students from around the world on Facebook. It's a whole bunch of people that you will have a lot in common with.

100% money back guarantee
100% money back guarantee

If you're disappointed for whatever reason, you'll get every cent back within 14 days after the purchase. Only applies to the purchase of the course with no discount coupon applied.

Student and location discounts
Student and location discounts

Not-so-good exchange rate? (i.e. India/Brazil). Get in touch to get a coupon. Student? Email us from your student email or attach your student ID.

Who will be teaching?

Markus Magnusson

Heyoo, My name is Markus Magnusson but most of you probably know me as Motionmarkus. I’m a swedish born animator with over 10 years experience of bringing characters to life. I’ve animated everything from Google Doodles to wizard sticker packs for Dropbox. In this course I will spill the beans on all my techniques so if your characters are a little bit stiff & bent out of shape then you’ll love this course.

Markus Magnusson

Author's Works

You might have already seen some of his striking eye-catching stuff, but here it is once again!

How much?

Science of Character Animation by Markus Magnusson

Science of Character Animation by Markus Magnusson


This course will teach you the full process of creating animation scenes with characters starting from sketching out the ideas, creating design in Illustrator and finishing with hitting the Render button in After Effects.

  • Learn how to create memorable, expressive and balanced character designs for your future animations
  • Learn how to setup your scenes for animation and rigging techniques
  • Get acquainted with and dig deeper together with the author into classic animation principles that will take your works to a completely new level.
  • Become a better director of your future projects by learning about acting and timings.
  • Get familiar with exclusive animation techniques Markus has worked out from more than 10 years of experience in the industry.
  • No additional plugins needed.
    We will provide you with an exclusive tool developed specifically for this course. Its work principle is pretty similar to most popular modern tools such as RubberHose, Limber, Duik, so you can easily apply this knowledge to work with any of them.

    You will also have an opportunity to use our Character Tool for the 6-month period.
100% money back guarantee

100% money back guarantee

If you're disappointed for whatever reason, you'll get every cent back within 14 days after the purchase. Only applies to the purchase of the course with no discount coupon applied.

Student and location discounts

Student and location discounts

Not-so-good exchange rate? (i.e. India/Brazil). get in touch to get a coupon. Student? Email us from your student email or attach your student ID.

Frequently asked questions

You can find After Effects here: It will be enough to work with the trial version for some time, but we highly recommend buying a license.


  • Intel® Core™2 Duo or AMD Phenom® II processor; 64-bit support required
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. See the CS6 FAQ for more information about Windows 8 support.*
  • 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • 3 GB of available hard-disk space; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on removable flash storage devices)


  • Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • macOS v10.6.8 or higher
  • 4 GB of RAM (8 GB recommended)
  • 4 GB of available hard-disk space for installation; additional free space required during installation (cannot install on a volume that uses a case-sensitive file system or on removable flash storage devices)

We will provide you with an exclusive rigging tool developed by our school specifically for this course. Its work principle is pretty similar to most popular modern tools, so you can easily apply this knowledge to work with any of them.

But if you already have RubberHose 2, you can use it throughout the course.

This course is created for people who already have some experience of working in After Effects. If you’re a total After Effects beginner we recommend to complete our Motion Beast course first.

If no presale or discount activities are happening, you can get in touch with us to receive a -$50 coupon. We provide coupons for countries with not so good exchange rates and for students.

We consider a country with a not so good exchange rate if the currency rate is more than $1 to 10 units of local currency. For example, 10.5 Botswana Pula equals $1. If your county currency rate is lower 1:10 then we do not consider your county as a country with a not so good exchange rate.

We consider you a student if you have a valid student email address (@***.edu) and/or a valid student ID. Please either write to us from your student email or attach a picture of your student ID, so that we can verify your student status.

Please double check if there are no presale, sales or discount activities happening as we do not provide coupons during these periods.

If you're disappointed for whatever reason, you'll get every cent back within 14 days after the purchase. Whether you select to complete the purchase in a single or in several payments.

Note that it only applies to purchases without a discount. So if you would like to use a discount coupon or complete a purchase for the items during a sales period, you will be not eligible for the refund.

Yes, all the artwork that you create on the course belongs to you. You can share and tweet and dribbble whatever animation you create. We would be grateful if you mention our school while sharing, we have @motiondesignschool accounts almost on every network.

With enough practice, you will receive just enough knowledge to reach a new level and beat your competitors. You will get a chance to get more clients since your character animations will become absolutely outstanding. Most of all, you will be able to charge far more than you are doing now.

It usually takes at least 8 hours of doing practice and watching lessons per week for 3,5 months for a student to get to the final stage. We do recommend to spend as much time as possible since you are gaining new skills here, it's never an easy journey.

Yes, the course works well for people who have skills in Character Animation and Character Design too. We will provide a great foundation and structure to complete your knowledge. And just to make your journey more fun almost all of our lessons have tasks with additional difficulty for advanced students.

This course has subtitles, which makes the content easier for understanding and lets you check the unknown words in the dictionary, if needed.