How to make Animated Discord Server Icon in After Effects (2022)
Read Time16 mins
Creating an animated discord server icon is not an easy task, that requires a professional motion graphics designer. I have created this blog post to help an absolute beginner create their custom discord animated server icon or pfp.
Here is the preview of what we will be creating today. I will show it to you from scratch to export as GIF. So, you can be sure you don’t get stuck at any step.
Intro to animated discord server icon
Discord is a popular chat and voice application for gamers that allows gamers to voice chat with each other. But with the increasing demand for SAAS and small business startups, people and brands from every niche tend to go with a Discord server. It helps build a community and maintain a good relationship with its customers.
If you want to create a custom logo for free without using any paid software? You can check out this post.
This thing also applies to YouTubers as well. For example, I have been doing YouTube on my channel Enstant Man, where I teach Motion Graphics design to beginners. So, to make a loyal fanbase and help them with additional questions, I have created the Discord server.
So, I recently got my server to Lvl 2 with a boost from my server members and me. After doing that, the animated Server icon for Discord has been unlocked.
🔥Watch the Video format of the Discord Server icon tutorial
if you don’t want to read the blog post, no problem 👀I got you. I have also made the YouTube video on animated discord server pfp/icon.
One of the features of Discord is the ability to change your server icon. This tutorial will show you how to animate your Discord server icon in After Effects. It’s a complete beginner-friendly tutorial. Even if you have never opened after-effects, you can follow along.
Resources to get started on creating animated discord server icon
Once you have downloaded all the assets let’s start animating the discord server icon.
Initial Setup in After Effects
Alright. Please make a new composition and name it Main Comp. Use the dimension of 512 for both width and height. Keep the frame rate at 60 fps, and the animation will be 6 seconds longer.
I will create another comp for placing the reference animation, that will be easier to explain and follow along.
Well, let me explain the discord server icon step by step. First of all, we have a pleasant moving background going on. We will be using a stock video. It will be free to use and no copyright issue.
Then the Logo will have a scale up-flow with a 360 rotation. As soon as it finishes the Rotation and scaling to regular size, a circle will come from above.
Then it will have a shine effect. This will give the Logo a cinematic look.
Later it will have the same circle animation one more time. But this time with a different direction animation out animation.
In the end, it will reveal our text, and the animation will again start. This will be a smooth endless loop. So, it looks dope when people hover on it. Besides this, I will show you how to change the Logo, text dynamically and use this as a template for your future works.
Tutorial process of the Animated Discord Server icon in After Effects
OK, I will first import the background video that I got from pixels.com. All the assets are linked in the description box or in the Blog post.
Drag the video into the main composition, and then resize as per your likings. To extend the length of the video, right-click the layer, then time and enable time remapping.
Now, while holding ALT on your keyboard, click the stopwatch icon. From there, click the Plus icon. Select the loop-out option under the property option.
Now click the layer once again, and now you can stretch the length of the layer. It will make the duplicated versions of that layer without creating duplicate layers.
Now, import your Logo. I will create another composition named Logo placeholder. We will be placing our Logo in this composition.
Now, create a circle that perfectly fills the canvas. Place it in the center. It will be a safe place to get an idea of the visible animation in circled server icons.
Now, we need to decrease the background color and the color that matches our theme. To change the color, add a Hue/Saturation effect. And drag the master hue setting, and it will change the color. Choose the most suitable color you like. For this tutorial, I will be using the red color tint.
Then add a solid rectangle with black color. After that, give a little bit of opacity, it will make sure the whole video will not vanish, but it will give a dark tint to the background.
Now, drag the Logo placeholder composition and place it between the safe circle area in the middle. Go a few frames ahead and hit “S” on your keyboard. It will reveal the scale properties. Click the stopwatch to add a keyframe. Again go a few frames more, then increase the scale value more. Now, press “R” to reveal the rotation properties. But you can only change the Rotation to 1 axis. TO enable 3d, click the Box icon. If you cant see this option, click the Togg;e option below. We will only work with the “Y” axis.
When the Logo has been scaled up, add a keyframe for Y rotation. Then go 15 frames ahead and add another keyframe. Change the 0 to 2. It will have a 2, 360 rotation. If you press “U” on your keyboard, all the Keyframes will be revealed once.
Now, play with the keyframe positions until you find the best place. Again add another Scale keyframe. Make it 100, so it turn to the default size.
Making the Discord Server icon animation smoother with Graph Editor
It’s time to make it smoother. It’s currently showing linear animation. To make it smoother, select all the Scale keyframes and hit F9. You can also right-click any selected keyframe, then choose Easy Ease.
Go to graph editor and make sure you are in the Speed Graph editor. Create a curve something like this. Select any part of the Curve by selecting that side with the mouse. Then drag the Yellow pointer right or left to increase or decrease animation flow.
Do the same thing for Rotation as well. Make sure it follows the exact Curve like mine. It will make sure you have a nice and smooth rotation going on.
Add the Shine Effects to the discord server logo
It’s time for the lightning effects; go to 3 seconds when the Logo is in the perfect place, then search for CC Light sweep effect, under effects, and presets.
Feel free to copy my settings as this gives the best result in my case. You can hold the Target kind of icon, to move the pointer in a diagonal direction.
Then, do the Easy Ease the keyframes to make it smoother. Don’t forget to do the Curve settings, because this is the only thing to get the smoothest and natural flow in the animation.
Final Logo Animations
Alright, now the last swipe effects. But before that, let’s add the scale animation. Again hit S on your keyboard or U to reveal all the keyframes. Add the diamond icon to add a keyframe. Then go a few frames and add another keyframe. Make the Scale bigger in this frame.
Then, at last, add another keyframe. This will be the 100% scale. Now select these keyframes and go to the graph editor. From there, make sure you do the exact Curve like mine. It will have a buttery smooth Scale-up animation.
So, we are done with the Logo animations. Now let’s do the Shapes animations.
Background Shape animations time
Draw a circle shape, and place it below the Logo Placeholder compositions. Use the primary color. You can change the fill color by selecting the fill color option from the Top. Hit S on your keyboard to bring up Scale properties.
Make it bigger, so it fills up most of the space. Then press P to bring up the Positions properties. Drag the Circle out of the canvas. Then make it smaller by decreasing the scale value. After that, click the stopwatch for both Scale and positions. Once the Logo is back to the original Scale, then keep the Circle on the bottom side and out of the canvas. In this middle part, make the Circle bigger, filling the whole canvas. Play around with the Scaling, and Curve to get the suitable animation for you. If you want a detailed video about the Curve, please let me know in the comment.
Again I will draw the Circle. But for animation, this time, instead of coming from the Top, I will make it pop. Add a keyframe at the beginning with 0 value for Scale. Then go a few frames ahead and make it bigger, until it fills the whole canvas.
Then add keyframes for Positions. Add the first keyframe when it fills the whole canvas, and the second keyframe will be achieved, by dragging the Circle in the top left. And do the Easy Ease, and you are good to go.
Now, it’s text time. Create a new composition for text placeholder. Please write down your text and style it. You can get creative here. I will keep it simple. I will duplicate the main text layer, but change it to stroke color only for the bottom and top ones.
Once done, Drag the text placeholder to the Main comp. Place the Text composition at the end of the main comp. But before that, as you can see, the text-only reveals when the Circle comes in.
To do that, make the same circle pop animation as the previous. But this time, the Circle will go to the right side. Previously it was Top left. Once you have done with the Last circle prop, create a duplicate of this.
Rename it Track Last Circle. Make sure the Text Placeholder composition is below the Track Last Circle, then select the track matt option to the top one. If you can’t see the text revealing, make sure the text placeholder composition is not hidden. Then to have the background, place the Original Last circle shape layer, at the bottom of the text Composition.
To change the color of the text, add a Gradient Color Ramp effect to the text placeholder composition. From there, you can add your gradient color. Try to make it subtle, so it does not seem more overpowered than the Logo itself.
Make the Animated Discord Server icon loopable
Now, let’s make the Logo Loopable because it’s not looped. Add a marker at the beginning of the video layer. Then go a few frames or 10 frames ahead and add another marker. Create a duplicate of that layer. Place the timeline cursor at the beginning, and then drag both of the layers at the begging and match the second marker to the beginning cursor.
Now cut down the right portion of the top layer, and the left position of the bottom layer. I have used the shortcut “ALT+Close of the second bracket” to cut the right side from the timeline cursor. Again “ALT+Open of the second bracket” to cut the left side.
Now, stretch the end of the bottom layer by dragging with the mouse. Place the top layer at the end, and select both video layers. Press “T” to reveal opacity and add keyframes like mine. The beginning keyframe for the bottom layer will be 100% and 0% for the Top. And in the end, it will have the opposite opacity value. And there you go, now you can see there is no sudden background change. It will look seamless.
Adding realistic motion blur to the animation
Now add the realistic motion blur to the animations. Go to Main Comp, and click the Motion Bur option at the Top. Simply select all the layers that have any moving animations. If you are following this tutorial, you have to enable this for the Logo placeholder compositions and the circle shapes.
Click the toggle options button, and select the boxes under the Motion blur icon, to the layers you want to motion blur.
Now, you can see the magical motion blurs in your animations.
Make your Discord Server icon 3D in After Effects
It’s time to add a 3d look to the Logo. Add a Drop shadow effect to the Logo Placeholder composition. And do the following settings.
Once you are done, add another drop shadow, and just make the color black and increase the Softness value. It will act as the drop shadow. And the First drop shadow will work as a 3d look.
You can easily hide the first drop shadow by Clicking the “FX” icon beside the effect name.
And Congratulations. You have successfully created your own custom Animated Discord Server Icon with Loopable animations. Now, let’s see how to make it GIF , so it’s compatible with Discord.
Export as “GIF Animated Discord Server icon”
Go to File and choose “Add to Media encoder queue.” From there, click the blue text, and follow my setting for maximum compatibility. Choose the quality 25 because your GIF should be under 10MB. Once done, hit the Green icon and wait for the render to finish.
Now, you can use this as an animated gif and use it as your Discord server’s pfp or icon.
Once done, preview it, but if your exported gif is not under 10MB, you can go to gifcompressor.com and compress your gif without any cost. And you are good to go.
Use as Discord server pfp or icon template
Now, if you want to use this as a template and want to change the logo, text, color in the future, you can follow this part of the Discord Animated server icon tutorial.
I am going to import my Logo. Drag the Logo into logo placeholder compositions. Make sure you hide the previous Logo or simply delete that. If you go to the main comp, you will see the Logo changed.
The same thing goes for the text placeholder as well. And for the shape colors, you need to select the shape layers and change the fill color to your ones.
So that’s how you can create a very professional but simple, animated gif Discord Server icon in After Effects. I hope it was helpful for you. But please, don’t just copy paste my settings. Try to learn the tactics and tools I am using.
That will ensure you will be able to create your own custom made discord server icon in your animation style. If you are loving this type of contents, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel, where I teach about Motion graphics and how to make a living doing that.
Catch you in the next one. Stay creative and keep Creating.
FAQ about “How to make an Animated Discord Server icon or pfp in 2022)
Here are a few frequently asked questions from the reader. You may get your questions as well here. If not, feel free to leave that in the comment box below.
How do you get started in creating your own animated discord server icon?
01 – Choose an image editor. There are many free and paid image editors available. Adobe Photoshop and GIMP are popular paid options, while photopea a popular free option. 02 – Open the image editor and create a new document. 03 – Then create your server icon 04 – Then animate it using after effects. You can follow easy step by step tutorial writen above. 05 – Export as GIF. Now you can upload your custom Animated GIF Discord Server icon.
Is it possible to make discord server icon with after effects without any experience?
Yeah. Deffenetely. I have created the tutorial so the beginners can follow.
What is the best software to make the animated discord server icon if not after effects?
You can use Premiere Pro or Filmora to animate them. But After effects give the most professional look. You can get their free 7-day trial. Once done, you can Unsubscribe.
How long did it take you to make the following animated gif discord server pfp?
It took me only 30 mins or so.It may take 45 to 1 hours, if you are a beginner on Ater Effects.
The final export size of the GIF disord server icon is too big, what can I do?
If that’s the case, you can compress it by using a free online tool gifcompressor. You can also keep the Animated Discord server icon qulaity to 50% to get the best result in less size.
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Farhan Mubin is sharing design, WordPress website, youtube, & Entrepreneurship-related content here at Cretrs. Besides writing content here, he is also a YouTuber at Enstant Man and the Founder of 11hrs Creator.