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About the Graph Editor

From: After Effects CS5 Essential Training

Video: About the Graph Editor

When it comes time to do really advanced animation in After Effects, you want to go to the Graph Editor. The Graph Editor deserves a training series on lynda.com all by itself as it is extremely complex and robust. And so, my purpose in this movie is only to tell you that it exists and that is all. I have here this bouncing ball and this is using linear keyframes. We know how un-awesome those are. So, we just have very flat animation and this does not look in any way, shape or form like a realistic ball bouncing.

About the Graph Editor

When it comes time to do really advanced animation in After Effects, you want to go to the Graph Editor. The Graph Editor deserves a training series on lynda.com all by itself as it is extremely complex and robust. And so, my purpose in this movie is only to tell you that it exists and that is all. I have here this bouncing ball and this is using linear keyframes. We know how un-awesome those are. So, we just have very flat animation and this does not look in any way, shape or form like a realistic ball bouncing.

So, what I am going to do is I am going to select the layer and I am going to open the Graph Editor by clicking this button in the Timeline panel. Click that to open it, and then we want to select the property we want to adjust in the Graph Editor. Now there are two different types of graphs that we can look at. If we click this dropdown here, we can choose to look at the Speed Graph or the Value Graph. The Value Graph will show us the Position values. So, the X doesn't change. That's the X, the red.

So, it's not going left to right at all. The only thing that changes is the green, which represents the Y axis. So, we are seeing the bounce visually here. And again, nothing on the X axis. The Y axis is moving only. And then, if we want to adjust the velocity, the speed, we go to the Speed Graph. So, this is indicating the speed here. So, there is a constant rate of speed, because it's a linear keyframe. And then, after the bounce, there is another set rate of speed that's a little bit slower. So, this graph right here is indicating the pixels/second.

So, it's a little bit more than 200 pixels/ second here, and that's the rate of speed. And then as it declines, it goes to, looks like about 175, somewhere around there, pixels/second. So, the higher the graph goes than the faster things go. So, I am going to show how to create a good bouncing ball. A lot of this won't make sense, again, because this is very complex. And again my purpose in this movie is just to show that it exists. I am going to exit the Graph Editor by clicking this button again. I am going to go to this middle keyframe and I am going to hold the Command key on the Mac or the Ctrl key on the PC and click this once until you get a round keyframe.

This tells After Effects to make the motion smooth as it goes through the point. We actually don't want this to be smooth, but the benefit of this is that once we go back to the Graph Editor, then we have these curves to play with. Kind of like what we saw when we were dealing with Motion Paths. So, I'm going to click and drag this point upwards. Keep in mind that this graph represents speed. So, I want this ball to be going slowly at the beginning, so I could bring this down and slowly at the end.

But the spike in the middle, I want it to have a huge surge of speed. I want it to kind of go slow and then as it bounces, then I want it to have a huge a huge spike and a slow trail-off at the end. So, this is the shape that I am kind of going for and although this is not perfect and not fine-tuned. Honestly, the Graph Editor as I see it is kind of like this artistic thing where there isn't like some set of rules of how to use it. You just kind of got to go in there and fiddle with the curves until you get the animation that's right.

It's almost like how do you make a perfect sculpture. It's an artistic choice. So, this might not be perfect. But let's see if we are any closer to the ballpark of getting a realistic bouncing ball. Okay. We are closer, but we need that speed to be much more significant. So, what I'll do is select this property again, go to this middle point, and I am going to click and drag upwards a lot. Notice that it automatically resizes the graph for me. So, I don't have to use scrollbar to get to the top of this page.

It automatically changes the graph, reorients it so the highest point now fits. So, it's 2500 pixels/ second, which is really fast. But let's see how this looks. See now that's starting to look a little bit more believable like somebody dropped the ball. And you are not going to get this sense of realism from easing alone. So, you have to use the Graph Editor. Now again, it is a complex beast. It probably will be too much for you to chew on at this point in your After Effects career. But just know that that is the eventual destination.

That is where you want to end up being able to use the Graph Editor, because that is where professional animation takes place.

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This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS5 Essential Training
After Effects CS5 Essential Training

111 video lessons · 67489 viewers

Chad Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 5m 40s
    1. Introduction
      1m 30s
    2. What is After Effects?
      3m 12s
    3. How to use the exercise files
      58s
  2. 28m 14s
    1. After Effects workflow overview
      2m 18s
    2. Bringing elements into After Effects
      2m 23s
    3. Adding elements to the Timeline
      1m 57s
    4. Working with layers
      3m 45s
    5. Creating animation with presets
      3m 24s
    6. Applying effects
      3m 34s
    7. Creating animation without presets
      5m 38s
    8. Previewing your work
      2m 46s
    9. Exporting content as a movie file
      2m 29s
  3. 27m 20s
    1. Touring the interface
      6m 2s
    2. How After Effects projects work
      4m 47s
    3. What is a composition?
      4m 52s
    4. Tips for adding content to compositions
      2m 49s
    5. Understanding the properties of video
      8m 50s
  4. 57m 8s
    1. Importing an Illustrator file
      4m 57s
    2. Animation basics
      7m 12s
    3. Animating opacity
      6m 40s
    4. Understanding anchor points
      4m 57s
    5. Animating position
      6m 8s
    6. Animating rotation
      4m 41s
    7. Animating scale
      7m 19s
    8. Using the Puppet tool
      7m 13s
    9. Copying and pasting keyframes
      3m 4s
    10. Animation shortcuts
      4m 57s
  5. 9m 42s
    1. Understanding precomposing
      6m 51s
    2. Navigating through compositions quickly
      2m 51s
  6. 1h 12m
    1. A showcase of effects
      2m 34s
    2. Creating a layer for effects
      3m 1s
    3. Applying effects
      4m 54s
    4. Animating effect properties
      4m 29s
    5. Using Glow
      5m 34s
    6. Creating patterns and textures
      6m 57s
    7. Creating a fireball
      7m 9s
    8. Using the Cycore effects
      5m 58s
    9. Adding blur
      5m 45s
    10. Creating a galaxy scene from scratch
      8m 38s
    11. Distorting objects with effects
      4m 7s
    12. Creating and using lens flares
      4m 21s
    13. Creating lightning bolts
      4m 3s
    14. Viewing random variations with Brainstorm
      4m 39s
  7. 30m 52s
    1. Shortening the duration of layers
      4m 23s
    2. Trimming in the Footage panel
      4m 14s
    3. Slowing and accelerating video speed
      7m 9s
    4. Applying video transitions between clips
      6m 7s
    5. Working with image sequences
      4m 47s
    6. Importing footage with an alpha channel
      4m 12s
  8. 36m 11s
    1. Brightening dark footage
      9m 12s
    2. Changing colors in footage
      6m 34s
    3. Creating cinematic color treatments
      8m 17s
    4. Creating a quick vignette
      3m 42s
    5. Colorizing black-and-white objects
      4m 50s
    6. Using adjustment layers
      3m 36s
  9. 21m 9s
    1. Creating and editing text
      7m 39s
    2. Applying text animation presets
      4m 41s
    3. Animating text manually
      4m 43s
    4. Applying layer styles to text
      4m 6s
  10. 28m 58s
    1. Let's get better
      37s
    2. Using work areas
      3m 37s
    3. Creating markers
      6m 17s
    4. Replacing layers
      2m 35s
    5. Mastering Timeline navigation
      3m 18s
    6. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 4s
    7. Selecting layers quickly
      1m 56s
    8. Cropping layers
      3m 43s
    9. Adjusting comp resolution
      3m 51s
  11. 23m 53s
    1. Using the paint tools
      9m 35s
    2. Using the Roto Brush tool
      9m 25s
    3. Animating growing vines
      4m 53s
  12. 40m 29s
    1. Creating and using masks
      6m 42s
    2. Exploring mask options
      7m 57s
    3. Creating masks with Auto-trace
      6m 51s
    4. Masking objects with other objects
      5m 33s
    5. Making shape layers
      3m 43s
    6. Modifying shape layers
      9m 43s
  13. 30m 44s
    1. Turning 2D layers into 3D layers
      9m 22s
    2. Creating lights and cameras
      6m 14s
    3. Creating shadows
      4m 23s
    4. Using depth of field
      4m 42s
    5. Working with 3D effects
      6m 3s
  14. 18m 10s
    1. Removing a green screen background
      4m 37s
    2. Refining the matte
      4m 48s
    3. Compositing with color adjustments
      4m 50s
    4. Compositing with blend modes
      3m 55s
  15. 25m 44s
    1. Understanding spatial interpolation
      2m 5s
    2. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      3m 55s
    3. Orienting moving objects along a path
      1m 29s
    4. Drawing motion with Motion Sketch
      2m 51s
    5. Creating pauses in animation
      3m 6s
    6. Understanding temporal interpolation
      1m 56s
    7. Easing keyframes
      5m 57s
    8. About the Graph Editor
      4m 25s
  16. 12m 13s
    1. Stabilizing shaky footage
      7m 46s
    2. Tracking the motion in footage
      4m 27s
  17. 24m 58s
    1. Setting up parent layers
      5m 49s
    2. Working with null objects
      2m 31s
    3. What are expressions?
      7m 17s
    4. Modifying simple expressions
      2m 20s
    5. Using the wiggle expression
      7m 1s
  18. 6m 52s
    1. Understanding audio in motion graphics
      1m 22s
    2. Previewing and mixing audio
      3m 55s
    3. Enhancing audio tracks with effects
      1m 35s
  19. 11m 36s
    1. Adding comps to the Render Queue
      2m 30s
    2. Exploring key Render Queue settings
      4m 11s
    3. How should I export my video?
      4m 55s
  20. 7m 16s
    1. Using Photoshop with After Effects
      2m 10s
    2. Using Illustrator with After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Using Flash with After Effects
      2m 4s
  21. 11s
    1. Goodbye
      11s

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