A crying onion. How ironic. How funny. That’s what I thought as I was brainstorming ideas in my head.

For this project, we were required to make something in Illustrator to bring over into After Effects and create an animation that had movement. The illustration needed to look good still as well as the animation needed to loop, be 30 seconds and have one pre-comp.

This was harder than I expected because I wouldn’t call myself a master in AE so, it took some learning on my part on how to do certain keyframes. Although, it was a fun project, and a good mix up from all the AI projects that we have been doing.

The Process

When I first started brainstorming, I listed out items that had to do with food. I wanted to do a pun-ny animation. I had first thought about avocados hugging each other, toast popping out of the toaster, potatoes lifting weights but then I settled on the idea of an onion crying into a puddle of his own tears.


As I started to sketch, I found it a little difficult to figure out how to create an onion in a simple way. I experimented with it and used reference photos of onions. I wanted to have a more cartoonistic feel to it, and its harder to do that when you’re just looking at an onion. But, I was able to come up with some good eyes for it.


Creating this, I tried to keep it simple. I used highlights and shading to create a circular look. The teardrop and the onion body, I wanted to look the same so I used the shape builder tool to create some shading. I kept the layers separate and did not want to have all the pieces together. It took me several times to get the layers the right way. I wanted to move the eyes and the inside of the eyes separately, but when I first loaded it into AE, I realized they all needed to be different layers. Oops!

Here was my completed illustration.

Going into After Effects

This was my first draft of my onion, I knew I needed to add some motion with the eyes and the body. I also wanted the tear to look more realistic. I also wanted to move the eyes down so the highlights weren’t as covered.


Receiving Feedback

After making some changes, I made the eye water up before the tear started to fall in the beginning, as well as made the tear smaller and make a half circle when it fell. I watched some videos, to get some ideas of how a person’s eye would cry and how the tear falls. Since, the onion is round, the tear wouldn’t fall straight, it would veer off to the side a bit, then fall drastically when it fell off the onion. I also created movement in the body and the eyes. I created a Pre-comp of the eyes, so I was able to work with them independently.

The Final Product

It was a lot of fun to make this, although it took a good amount of time to figure out how to do what I need to do in After Effects. I am happy how this turned out.I know it makes people happy when they see it! My onion when I was creating it was that I wanted it to look cartoonistic with movements and the illustration. That is what I was wanting to accomplish. I hope to learn more about after effects because it is a super neat program.