Adobe® After Effects® CC® Quick Start

 

Lesson Info

Adjusting Keyframes & Improving Animation

Now, let's talk about adjusting keyframes. We want to fiddle with these keyframes, and I'm actually gonna go back to the rocket for this. What I'm gonna do, is I'm gonna go back, and I did screwy things with my motion path, so I'm going to fix that. Maybe add a little bit of an arc. Just a little bit of an arc here. And we're not gonna spend too much time about motion paths, but what's really cool about this, if we had more time to get into it, is that each one of these dots on here, actually represents one frame of the animation. And these big squares that look like just like anchor points, or just regular points in Illustrator, are actually keyframes. They represent keyframes. So I could actually move this, and change the keyframe data. And you could see right here, the position values, as I'm moving this point, it's changing that data, which is kind of cool. So if I preview this, and it goes. I'm going to let it go that far, even though this is absolutely killing me that I cut off t...

he exhaust fire. I'm punching past Chad in the face right now for missing that, but we're gonna power through it. So, a couple things about animation to enhance it. So just a couple little tricks. So when you have something moving along a path right here, even already, I'm gonna exaggerate this a little bit more, you can see that it's not really realistic, because it's drifting sideways, and then coming back. It should be kind of like pointing, right? It should be kind of like pointing the right way. So what I can do is right click on the layer, go to Transform, so right click on the layer, Transform, and down all the way at the bottom, is something called Auto-Orient. By default, Auto-Orientation is set to Off. But I'm going to orient it along the path. And what happens is initially sometimes, is something really screwy and not exactly what you wanted at all. But that's just because it doesn't understand where the path is. It doesn't know what's up or down, or where the path is, so you do have to kind of say, "Oh no, no, no, no, no After Effects. This is what I meant. This is what you should be doing." And then it figures it out, and now it's orienting along the path. It's subtle, but do you see how it's rotating? Can you imagine manually setting the rotation keyframes, like for rotating, rotating, rotating, rotating? It would be just a nightmare. So now it just automatically orients along the path which is so nice. And then, if I went back, and I decided to change the path, and maybe we went this way instead, so now it's coming a completely different trajectory, I don't have to change anything about the rotation. I haven't set any rotation keyframes. It just orients along the path, because of that command. And now it just kind of orients along the path, no matter what I do to it. It's beautiful. Okay, I'm gonna undo a few times to get back here. I want to talk to you a little bit about something called interpolation. I mentioned this earlier. Basically, how to get from point A to point B. We set keyframes, we know that's the point A, that's the point B, but we also have power over what happens in between. Again, that's called the interpolation. How it gets from one keyframe to the next. In real life, you don't move at a constant rate of speed. But by default, in After Effects, it does move at a constant rate of speed, and it feels really fake, and really digital, and it's not organic. Nothing that you know of in real life, moves at a constant rate of speed. A lot of times we'll even say, "Oh that feels really robotic." But even robots, they slow down. They don't go like a constant rate of speed. Nothing does that. In nature or synthetically, nothing moves at a constant rate of speed. When you come down to a stop sign, you slow down to the stop sign. And when you're done at the stop sign, no matter how fast your car is, or how great you think your car is, you start your car, and it's going to start slow, and then, slower, and then eventually get to its top cruising speed. So that's just the way things work in the world. And in After Effects, we can actually choose to do that as well. So, I can right click on one of these keyframes. I don't have to be on it. I move my play head just out of habit, but you don't have to be on it. Right click on a keyframe. And choose Keyframe Assistant. Keyframe Assistant. And we have some Easy Ease options. We have Easy Ease, Easy Ease In, and Easy Ease Out. So this refers to the motion coming into and out of the keyframe. So think of the stop sign. So, you're going into the stop sign, you're coming out of the stop sign. Into the stop sign, out of the stop sign. So that's kind of like what the keyframe is. The keyframe is the stop sign. So, if we wanted to ease into the stop sign, then we choose Easy Ease In. But this is our first keyframe. This is where we start. There's nothing to ease into. This is the, we're starting from the stop sign. This is the garage, so there's nothing to ease into. So we actually want to ease out of this keyframe. We're leaving- this is the stop sign, we're leaving it, so we want to ease out, and start a little bit slower. So then, as we're starting slower, it has to pick up speed. You see that? It's subtle, but it's starting slower and then it's picking up speed. Because, none of this interpolation stuff that we're doing, can be allowed to change our keyframes. Our keyframes are sacrosanct. They cannot be touched. Those values inside of those keyframes will not be messed with. But the interpolation, how it gets from point A to point B, that's what we're messing with here. So, if we tell it to, okay, start slow, but it still has to get there at the same time, think of again the flight from LA to New York. If you start really slow, and you get off the ground slow, there's turbulence, I don't know, I'm not a pilot. I don't know what slows planes down, but things slow you down, then you're gonna have to speed up, in order to get to New York at the same time. So, keyframes work the same way. Now if you want to rest, that comes slowly to rest on something, I could actually Easy Ease In to the next keyframe. So again, the keyframes are like stop signs. So if I wanna ease in to that stop sign, I can right click, Keyframe Assistant, Easy Ease In. And actually, if you wanna look, if you're super astute here you can see this motion path, and these dots will change as we Easy Ease In. They're kind of realigned here. So they're kind of bunched up here, and then spaced out in the middle. So we start slow, go fast, then slow. And, I'm gonna go to Keyframe Velocity. This is a little bit intense, and there's actually a lot of really intense stuff you could do with animation. There's this area that we're not gonna talk about called the Graph Editor, where you could actually go into the graphs of the values and the velocity, and you adjust the curves and the points, to adjust how intense the speed is and all that kind of stuff, and that's beyond the scope of this course, but, we could kind of cheat it a little bit by right clicking ... I'm gonna right click on the second keyframe. I choose Keyframe Velocity. And right now, the incoming velocity, so the speed at which we're coming down, is affected 33 percent by the easing. So, if I were to change this to 70, then it's gonna be a lot more aggressive of an ease in. And it feels a lot more organic. And so if I hit home, and then, woo, see that speed? See how that feels a lot more organic. It feels a lot more lifelike. And this is one of the big things we're gonna talk about throughout this course, and it's really important when you're dealing in After Effects, because with After Effects you're trying to add effects, and textures, and glows, and animation, and all these different things, to footage, to Illustrator files, Photoshop files, to bring them to life. And the way that you bring them to life is by making them feel, infusing them with all this organic stuff, to make them feel more believable, more familiar to the real world. And the more that we do that, the more that our viewers associate those things, you just instinct ... You're not thinking about this, but you instinctively feel that this is more like life. This rocket is a little bit more like life, because it moves like the things that I am familiar with, moving. And so there's more identity and connection to it. So, as you preview this, that just feels more real. No one's gonna buy that that's a real rocket, but because it behaves in a way that we're familiar with, as humans we connect to it more, and that's really what After Effects is all about, is getting more engagement, more passion out of the audience that's watching this stuff. And keyframe interpolation is one way to do that. So, adjusting that keyframe velocity is one way to really punch things up. Let me share one other thing. I'm actually going to drag this closer, and by so doing, we make this way faster. And a lot of times when you move things quickly in After Effects, it starts kind of feeling a little hokey. A little hokey. Because in real life, when I move my hand really fast in front of my face, sorry camera people, that's probably not good, but, I can't see anything. It's just a blur. That's the way our eyes approximate things. So this is another way that we're being super digital and fakey, and we're reminding our audience that we're super digital and fakey. It's moving more organically, but with this blur, it's razor sharp the whole time, so it feels super digital. So what we wanna do is put some motion blur on this. We want to blur it the same way my hand blurs when it moves. We want to blur this object as it moves really quickly. And After Effects has this really great feature, where motion blur is just built in, and you don't have to think about it. You have to set keyframes, you have to adjust parameters, they've already figured out all the science with the eyes, and what we expect, and when something moves this fast, this is how much it should blur or whatever, and we don't have to think about it or worry about it at all. So here's how this works. I'm gonna go to this, this is a little confusing. Just stay with me for a second. So there's this column right here with this ball that's shooting into space. This is motion blur. So I enable this motion blur for the layer, and nothing happens. And this can be a little bit confusing. Because in After Effects, there's a lot of things, there's a few things, there's some things, there's a couple, there's a few things, that you have to enable it on a layer level, and on a composition level. So you have to enable it in two places. So I have to enable this on the layer, and you'll find a corresponding switch up here at the top, like the master motion blur. And once I enable this, and on the layer, then watch what happens. Watch what happens. Click this, it gets blurry. Before, after. Before, after. Automatically it's just blurry. And, it's blurry, if you look really closely, it's streaked in the right direction. It streaks it based on the trajectory of the object. If you did that thing with the screwy motion path stuff, it's gonna be going a different direction, and the motion blur is gonna follow suit. It's gonna change. So if I change the trajectory, motion blur direction is going to change as well. Its brilliant. And if I made this go faster, if I bring these keyframes closer together, so that it means we're speeding up the motion, watch the blur. It's going to get more blurry. It's going to get more blurry automatically. I don't have to do anything to it. It's really great. And you might be wondering why the two switches. Well, motion blur in times past was a real hit to your processing power. You hit enable motion blur, and everything slows way down. That still could be the case, depending on certain situations, if you have a really big project and big file sizes, if you're working in 4K and got a lot going on, it might slow you down a little bit. And so, it's really helpful to be able to turn all the motion blur off, or all the motion blur on. As I mentioned, it's not uncommon to have dozens if not hundreds of After Effects layers in a single composition. And you could imagine going through, oh wait, I wanna turn this off with motion blur, I wanna preview it without motion blur so it goes a little bit faster. Okay I'm gonna scroll through, and scroll through, oh there's a layer, there's a layer. And then try to remember which layer those are on. Oh it's just a nightmare. So you have one master switch that just turns all layers off, all layers on, and then you don't have to worry about it on an individual layer level, which is really helpful. And now when I preview this, it's super subtle. Super subtle. Matter of fact I might even bump this up so we could see what's going on. There we go. Yeah, so we get a little ... And I'm gonna set a work, at the end of my work area here. Just a little bit of blur. Just a little bit. But it adds this organic feel. This animation is super lame, and I still feel really bad about the exhaust flames, but you get what I'm saying. So just anymore of this kind of organic stuff that you could infuse into your animations, makes it just feel so much more organic and real. And so it just feels believable. And we'll see this a lot when we get into 3D later, which is really exciting. Enough to make my eyes go like this, like ah, because really it's that fun. Okay, so that's what we wanna talk about, about adjusting keyframes. I'm going to take the position keyframes off. Just delete them by clicking the position stopwatch. Oh okay. And it flipped out like that because of the path orient. There's no path to follow, so now I need to take the rotation back to zero, and I'm just gonna put it there. And I want to adjust the opacity of the rocket exhaust fire. I'm hoping that this idea of keyframing is making a little bit of sense. That we click the stopwatch, which remembers that value. Move in time, create another value, it remembers that value, and then that's how we create animation. And I'm hoping you've had some time to kind of digest that a little bit, because I want to push that idea a little bit more. So this might be a little bit confusing. But I want to talk about fading in and out this thing right here. Yeah. So, if I want this to fade in, the fire, the exhaust fire, I want it to fade in, there's a few things I can do. A few ways I can do that. Right now my opacity is at 100 percent. So, this isn't where I want it to start. I could take this down to zero percent, which is where I want it to start. Click the keyframe. Move to a second, or wherever in time, take this back to 100 percent. So now, my rocket exhaust fades in. That's one way to do it. I could also start here at the first frame, click the stopwatch for 100 percent. This is the wrong value, but because I'm lazy, or some might say efficient, on better days I might say efficient, I can move this keyframe over to a second. So now, this value, and I put my mouse over it, it tells me this is a value of 100 percent, I can keep that, I can move that to where I want it, because it still stores that data, that value of 100 percent. I could just move that in time, and now I'm at the first frame, now I can change that to zero percent. Same way of creating that animation. So, a few different ways to do that. Another way to do this, is I could actually move in time later, set the keyframe for 100 percent, and then go back to the beginning, and take this down to zero percent. So there are many, many ways of setting keyframes. Many ways to do this. Many approaches, different paradigms, ways of seeing this. And they're all valid. They're all great. Just whatever one works for you. Now, let's say instead of fading this in, I wanted to fade it out. But I've already created this animation. And I'm lazy, so I want to use the minimal amount of steps possible, to fade this out. So what I can do, is just switch places. This value is zero percent. This value is 100 percent. That's opposite of what I want. So I'm just going to move this over, move this over, and now I've swapped the values. The values are, again, they're like containers. I don't have to reinitialize the animation, or do anything to After Effects. I can put them wherever I want, and After Effects will be like, okay, that's cool. And so then it fades out, because I moved them to different places. So it's really, really flexible. And I love that. Now, quick question. What if we wanted to have this, this is a challenge, this is a mental challenge, so again hopefully we're ready for this, but let's say we want it to, the exhaust fire to fade in, and then hold for a second, and then fade out. This is more of a challenge than it seems like it should be. I'm gonna start from scratch. I'm gonna get rid of my keyframes. And we want to fade it in, hold it, then fade it out. So I'm gonna start from zero percent. And let's go to a second. And we'll fade it in over a second. Actually a half second. I don't need to waste all this time. 100 percent. And then I want it to hold for a second, to this point, and then I want it to fade out at two seconds, to zero. But the problem is, is if I take this last keyframe to zero, what happens is, as soon as it passes this keyframe, it automatically starts interpolating to the next value. So we have to find a way to get it to stay put for a second, before it starts fading out. So a way to do that, is I'm gonna come over here, and I could just increase this to 100 percent. So now, we're going from 100 percent, to 100 percent, and then fading out. So we're holding it essentially. We're holding that same value. So it fades in, holds, doesn't interpolate, then it does interpolate. So we can create this kind of bursts if we wanna do that. Another way to do that, I'm just gonna click and drag a marquee to select these keyframes, and then delete them. Another way to do that, is with the keyframe navigator. We talked about this little guy before, that we could use these little arrows to navigate those keyframes. And then in the center, we have this diamond, right? And, when it's blue, it indicates that we are on a keyframe. And if it's gray, it means we're not on a keyframe. But, if we click it when it's gray, it will make a keyframe with that same value. And then we could move in time a little bit, and then fade out after that. So it creates the same end result. Fades in, holds, fades out. So, little bit more about keyframes, and wrestling with keyframes to improve your animation.

Knowing how to utilize the tools and opportunities in After Effects® can take your video from amateur to professional. Award-winning filmmaker and author Chad Perkins will help you get started with utilizing this motion software. This course covers the basics of starting a project and how to make the most of the many ways to bring life to a video. You’ll learn:

  • How to start a project and create a composition
  • Working with layers
  • Creating text
  • Understanding animation
  • Working with textures and shapes
  • Creating 3D motion with lighting and camera
  • Compositing techniques

Learn to enhance your video projects by animating text or creating transitional effects with this quick start into Adobe® After Effects® CC®.

Software used: Adobe® After Effects® CC®

 
 
 
 

Reviews

  • Excellent introduction to After Effects. Definitely delivers on being a quick start to the features and capabilities of the software. Chad's passion and enthusiasm really shines through.
  • Chad is an incredible teacher. He makes what would seem like daunting projects and tasks to the common person become both possible and even simple! He keeps his audience engaged by taping into one's inner child of creativity. Keep your hand hovering over the pause button because this presentation is crammed full of incredible information. Thanks again, Chad and all the folks at CreativeLive in Seattle!