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In After Effects CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins discusses the basic tools, effects, and need-to-know techniques in Adobe After Effects CS5, the professional standard for motion graphics, compositing, and visual effects for video. The course provides an overview of the entire workflow, from import to export, as well as detailed coverage of each stage, including animating text and artwork, adding effects to compositions, working in 3D, and rendering and compressing footage. Exercise files are included with the course.
Before we leave this chapter on animation, I really want to give you some important shortcuts as you're working in the Timeline. These shortcuts don't just speed things up. They make things infinitely easier as you work in After Effects, especially as you are working in the Timeline and with the animation. Before you do that, I want to show you just what we have done for this final project. I have kind of put everything together here and so I am going to maximize this window. Let's just play back our little animation here. Not too shabby for so early in the training series. Pretty cool stuff.
We have our biker girl. We have things coming on and animating. There is a lot of like layers to this, a lot of staggered animation, so it's very visually appealing. Pretty nice work. You should be proud of yourselves. Okay, so let's talk about this. First of all, most important keyboard shortcuts, navigating the Timeline. The Home key on your keyboard will jump you to the first frame of the animation. The End key will jump you to the last frame of your composition. By the way, some of you may be working on a laptop, which is totally legal. You can do that.
You might wonder, "Well, I don't have any of Home or End keys. I don't have the 0 on the numeric keypad for RAM previewing." Well, if you look at your keyboard, usually there is a Function key. On a Mac, for example, that will say fn. If you hold that, if you look closely at the keys on the keyboard, you will see tiny little numbers and letters off to the side. Those will tell you that if you hold the Function key, and then use those regular keys, you actually access Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, 0 on the numeric keypad, all those features on a regular keyboard as well.
So, you are not left out in the cold. Now, another important keyboard shortcut - I am going to hit the Home key and jump to the first frame. If I hit Page Down, that will advance me exactly one frame at a time. If I hit Page Up, I go backwards one frame in time. If you add Shift to that, it will add 10 to the increment. So, if I hold Shift+Page Down, I'll advance 10 frames at a time. If I hold Shift+Page Up, I'll go back 10 frames at a time. Well, the other killer ones we've already talked about. I'm just going to select the Biker Body layer.
Press U to reveal all of the keyframes on that layer. I am just going to close it up. I want to show you something else. If you press U two times fast like U, U, it will show you not only all the keyframes, but it will also show you all of the properties changed from their defaults. So, if you move something, if you added an effect, anything you've changed from its default settings then it will show you that, which is very helpful.
Now, I am actually going to select the Sun layer, layer 15. I am going to press the letter U to reveal the keyframes. There are actually three properties animated on this layer. If I press the letter K, it will jump to the next keyframe that is visible. If I have multiple layers open, let's say, I go to the Bridge layer. I'll press U for the Bridge layer. So, now there are multiple keyframes showing both from the Bridge and from the Sun layers. If I hit K, I will jump to the next keyframe, no matter which layer it's on.
If the keyframes are visible, if I am seeing them here in the Timeline, then K navigates to the next one. J navigates to the previous keyframe. Now, this is not only helpful for jumping to right where you want to go quickly, which it is good for. It's helpful. But it's also even more important to make sure you are on exactly the correct frame, if you are going to adjust an existing keyframe. So, say, for example, on this Bridge, let's say I wanted to adjust the Position property. If I was only one frame before or one frame after, I am going to create a new keyframe, and that's really bad.
But if I press the letter J, I make sure that I'm on that exact keyframe. Then this keyframe indicator here will illuminate from gray to gold, letting us know that we are on a keyframe at that exact frame. Now, one of the problems with this project was that we have this biker girl and she just kind of is there, and then she starts biking, and then everything else comes up around here. Ideally, we'd like her to drive in. She is kind of like the centerpiece here.
So, it would be great if she kind of like rode her bike into the scene as it were when everything else is kind of coming in as well. The problem with doing that, why we didn't do that in this chapter, is because she's spread out over multiple layers. She is the Biker Body. She is the Bike. There are rear tire curls, the extra little accents in the back here, and there is a bunch of stuff with the Pedals and the Crank and her other Leg. There is a lot going on here. So, we'd have to animate the position of all of these layers. That's really frustrating. So, in the next chapter, we are going to look at a way to combine and group these layers together, so we can actually animate her coming on the scene.
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