It is likely that at some point, scrolling through a social network like Instagram or TikTok; you have come across a video in which a person was performing an interesting choreography, while around them, there was a kind of animated silhouette drawn that matched the person's movements. To learn how to replicate that effect professionally, you must understand how some After Effects tools and panels work.
Do you know how to activate the Brushes tool and how to set up its respective panel? If so, you already have the necessary basics to make a frame-by-frame animation. If not, don't worry. We will show you how to use them to animate the silhouette of a video character in After Effects.
To animate someone's silhouette, you first need to import the video you will be working on into After Effects. To do so, click Ctrl + I or Cmd + I and select the footage.
Once you have the video you want to animate in your workspace, drag it to the layers below the Project Panel. This step is essential; otherwise, you will not be able to activate the Brush tool.
Once you activate the Brush tool (Ctrl + B or Cmd + B), adjust its properties in the Brushes panel (Ctrl + 9 or Cmd + 9):
After you have set the thickness, color, and duration of your brush, comes the fun part: choosing the frame you want to animate. To do this:
For more precise results, we recommend using a tablet and other After Effects tools, such as Zoom in and Zoom out, as you go through the steps. Remember that the more detailed the strokes are, the better the animated outline effect will look.