Fruit Disco: Animation Process

When the idea of this short was first floating around in my head, I knew I wanted to animate a simple, 5-seconds or less dance party to the tune of “Froot” by Marina & The Diamonds.  A couple months later and it turns into a 30 second scene.  Oh well…

It all started with the strawberry.  Then the apple and orange.  Pretty soon I had a full cast of characters, and I liked all of them.  Just look at these cute guys:


When it came to animating them however, I was cursing myself for deciding to animate so many characters in one shot.  This is definitely a personal record at 6 (or is it 7?) characters.  I’m so happy with the end results though!  I created some of my favorite animation I’ve ever done with this project, and took my knowledge of rigging After Effects puppets to the next level.

Like my previous animation I started in Photoshop, making sure to separate anything that needed to move on it’s own layer.  I then imported the PSD into After Effects to start rigging.

The main tool I use for making puppets called Duik.  It’s completely free, awesome, and will make your life so much easier.  I’m not here to write a tutorial on using Duik today.  That’s for a much longer blog post.  Here is, however, what one of the puppets looks like all rigged up:


Each solid red square is a bone (a point where the character can bend), and each cross-hair is a controller.  When you move a controller, the rest of the leg or peel bends appropriately, making the animation process so so much easier.

Most of the characters are simple like this with the apple and kiwi being the exceptions.  To allow the apple and kiwi to move side to side I utilized “Track Matte” to mask off certain layers as they turned, giving the illusion of 3D.  I also used Track Matte to show the reflection of the apple on the knife as it’s cut in half.  I think Track Matte is my new favorite thing.

After rigging the characters, I animated them in their own compositions.  I then arranged those compositions on 3D layers in another composition with a camera that panned.  The shadows, reflections, and words were added here also.  The end result is what you see at the top!

Music is “Froot” by Marina & The Diamonds, and the chop sound effects is from

Bonus cherry gif because they’re my favorite:


Check back soon for more short films and posts about my animation process. 🙂

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