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Create Animated Icons for Explainer Videos in After Effects

Joshua Noel

Learn how to design and create animated icons for your corporate explainer videos — without ever having to leave After Effects.

Whether you are a video producer or motion graphic designer, if you work directly with clients, it may be necessary to display information like statistics or other forms of data. Animated icons can help spruce up your video and help limit the amount of words you may need to use to explain an idea. If used correctly, animated icons can be great for visual corporate storytelling.

This After Effects tutorial will cover the basics of conceptualizing icon design, how to create icons with shape layers inside of After Effects, and how to use shape layer parameters to animate an icon.

Create Animated Icons for Explainer Videos in After Effects
Image: PureSolution’s Set Web Icons Business Finance Communication pack, available on ShutterStock.com.

Here’s what you’ll take away from this exciting Animated Icon After Effects tutorial:

  • How to conceptualize an icon design for your project
  • Design an icon using shape layers
  • Animate Icons with shape layer parameters

Be sure to do your research to ensure your icon design and animation makes sense for the type of work you are doing.

Download the Free Assets

Download the free project file used in this tutorial by simply clicking on the button below. This project file is free for you to use, but please do not distribute without permission.


Time-Saving Advice for Design Icons

There are a multitude of designs for every type of icon you can think of. For example, if you are looking to design a cellphone icon, you could design it hundreds of different ways. So how do you focus your efforts?

It’s best to search for the type of icon you want to create before you get to work. Find an icon you already like (instead of creating something you may not like), take note of what works about the design, and put your own unique creative touch on it.

Places like Shutterstock.com can be a great place to get ideas when looking for icon designs for your videos. The ShutterStock icon library contains endless examples of icon designs. If you are dealing with time constraints, purchasing vector icons can be a huge time saver. Having a vector icon pack in your personal library will allow you to skip the icon design step. With a little bit of Adobe Illustrator knowledge, you can copy the vector paths inside of Illustrator and paste them directly into shape layer paths in After Effects. We will post that workflow in a future video.

How do you approach animated icon design? Share your tips in the comments below!