Simple Character Animation And Eye Rig Tutorial

If you’ve read our previous blog about revealing a character’s emotions by bringing their eyes to life, you might be interested in how this quick animation was done. We’ve therefore prepared a little tutorial that you can hopefully follow easily.

It introduces you to two helpful tools of mine that really speed up my animation workflow. One  is a plug in that you can acquire through a small purchase, called Joystick ‘n Sliders. The other tool is completely free and comes as an effect in After Effects called ‘Set Matt’.

Joystick ‘n Sliders is used in this tutorial purely to animate the eyebrows by moving a slider between different emotional positions. You can see the animation while you move the joystick around on your screen. It’s really easy to set up as you can see in this tutorial.

To give the eyebrows a bit more of a drawn feel, the eyebrows were created in illustrator with a pressure sensitive brush. The line was then outlined, imported into AFX and was then converted into a shape layer in order to be animated and be rigged with Joystick ‘n Sliders. 

The Set Matt effect is such a brilliant way of creating a track mat without having to deal with layers that need to be switched on or off. 

Of course I could have created a joystick for the whole eye and not just the eyebrows, but for simplicity of merely introducing the plug in I’ve focused here on just the eyebrows. You can include as many layers as you want in your joystick. Try creating an angry, worried, sad, happy and neutral set of eyes that are controlled by a joystick. If you do that don’t keyframe the pupils to your joystick though as you’d want to be free to animate their position  later, letting your character look into different directions as you control the eye emotion with your joystick. Simply parent the pupils to the eyes.

There’s lots more you can do with Joystick ‘n Sliders – It’s a really fun tool and if you want to look into it in depth or buy it, go here:  

And here’s  what you can do with your newly rigged character that has no feet, no hands and only half of the facial features – a quick guide to animating a few seconds of an angry slice of bread…I hope you enjoy it.

Hey! I am first heading line feel free to change me

If you are unfamiliar with the animation production process, this blog post What to expect when you work on a project with Sliced Bread might serve to help you, it provides a complete guide on how we typically approach our projects, from concept to final delivery. It also provides information on how we structure our fees and plan the production schedule.

If you would like to know more about how engaging and immersive animation can help your marketing communications? Drop us an email at

Recent Posts