Build a Friend: From Pencil to Movement

A course by Carlos "Zenzuke" Albarrán , Motiongrapher

Motiongrapher. Madrid, Spain.
Joined January 2009

Learn how to create an animated character, from the initial sketch to the final rigging in After Effects

  • English, Spanish
  • 98% positive reviews (324)
  • 11483 students

Learn how to create an animated character, from the initial sketch to the final rigging in After Effects

Do you ever feel like the characters you draw are missing something? Like they're a bit stiff and lack that spark of energy? Maybe you've thought about bringing them to life with animation, but you're not sure where to start.

This is where motion graphics expert Carlos Albarrán, better known as Zenzuke, steps in. In this online course, he teaches you basic animation concepts and simple techniques to transform a sketch on paper into an animated friend who can walk, run, jump, and even change facial expressions.

By the end, you'll have a digital puppet that you can easily animate with hundreds of poses and movements.

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What will you learn in this online course?

16 lessons & 15 downloads

2 minutes, 13 seconds
After Effects is your friend too
11 minutes, 34 seconds
The puppet pin
8 minutes, 59 seconds
The extremities
23 minutes, 56 seconds
Spinal column
6 minutes, 37 seconds
English, Spanish
  • 98% positive reviews (324)
  • 11483 students
  • 16 lessons (2h 55m)
  • 15 additional resources (11 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: English, Spanish
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

What is this course's project?

Create an animated character from sketch to rigging—the set of controls that allow our puppet to take on different poses—using a free set of After Effects extras and tricks.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

Anyone who likes drawing and is interested in learning about character animation, as well as artists with experience in character creation who want to take their work to the next level. This course is also great for anyone who's already familiar with After Effects and wants to learn new tricks to get the most out of the program.

Requirements and materials

A working knowledge of Photoshop and basic notions of drawing are recommended to get the most out of this course.

As for materials, you need a pencil, a digital camera or a smartphone (if you decide to sketch your character on paper), a graphics tablet for color in Photoshop (your teacher uses a Wacom tablet), and access to Adobe Photoshop and After Effects (Zenzuke uses version 5.5 throughout the course).

New to Adobe After Effects? In that case, we recommend taking Domestika Basics courses to learn how to use the software: Introduction to After Effects.


11483 Students
324 Reviews
98% Positive ratings
  • More reviews

Carlos "Zenzuke" Albarrán

Carlos Albarrán (Zenzuke) has more than ten years of experience working as a creative director, a 2D and 3D animator, and a motion graphics artist. As a co-founder of the motion design studio Maaambo, he regularly collaborates with some of the most prestigious producers and agencies in Spain. He also combines his creative work with teaching and has been sharing his knowledge on motion graphics and 3D animation for more than six years at some of the most well-known schools and workshops in Madrid, as well as online with Domestika.


  • U1

    From pencil to After Effects

    • Introduction
    • The sketch
    • Give color and prepare the photoshop
    • Duik
    • After Effects is your friend too
  • U2

    Be Dr. Frankenstein

    • The puppet pin
    • The extremities
    • Spinal column
    • Head
    • All together now
  • U3

    Get up and go!

    • Animate in After Effects
    • Making the animation of our friend
    • The way is made by walking
    • Share our friend with the world
  • U4

    It is not the end, it is the beginning

    • Put our friend in a background
    • More advanced extras
  • FP

    Final project

    • Build a Friend: From Pencil to Movement

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus member, when you complete a course you've purchased, you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates.
Build a Friend: From Pencil to Movement. 3D, and Animation course by Carlos "Zenzuke" Albarrán

Build a Friend: From Pencil to Movement

A course by Carlos "Zenzuke" Albarrán
Motiongrapher. Madrid, Spain.
Joined January 2009
  • 98% positive reviews (324)
  • 11483 students