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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.
In this movie, I want to show you what I consider to be a very important trick, and that is creating a pause in animation. We have here our same female character. She is walking down the path. She gets to the bridge. We want her to pause for a second and then at two seconds in resume her walk. The problem is that if I let's say for example, in three seconds I want her to be at the green barn and let's say that I put her there. The problem is that right at 1 second, she just starts walking there. She slowly starts getting there and that's not we want.
So, I'm going to hit Command +Z or Ctrl+Z to undo that. Here's what we need to do. We're going to use this keyframe navigator. On the left-hand side of the Timeline panel, we have this little doohickey. And as we click these left and right arrows, it allows us to navigate through keyframes, similar to the way that the J and K keyboard shortcuts do. But there also is a great benefit here because there is this indicator right here in the center that tells us if we're on a frame with the keyframe. This is crucial for adjusting existing animation. If we are in a frame that does not have a keyframe, it will be gray.
Now, it lets us know that if we adjust these values, if we'd make a change, it will make a new keyframe, not adjust an existing keyframe. If we wanted to adjust an existing keyframe, then we need to make sure that we're on a frame. And again, this yellow indicator here lights up letting us know that we are in fact on a keyframe. But if we go out in time what we can also do, and notice this is empty here, we can manually click this and that will automatically create a new keyframe and the value of the keyframe will be the previous value.
So, basically this keyframe is the same spot as this keyframe. So, there really is no interpolation between these two keyframes. In other words, as After Effects goes from point A to point B, there's nowhere to go. It doesn't have to do anything. So, there is no interpolation. There is no animation. There's no movement. It's holding basically. It's pausing there. Then we can go out at 3 seconds in and move her to the green barn and as you notice-- we'll play this back-- there's a pause and then she walks on to the green barn.
So, this trick is great, for example, if you're creating a pump and you want to make something get large than weight and then get larger in weight and like that type of animation where you want to go in stages. This is a really great trick. Now, this isn't really part of the trick, so if that's all you are interested in you can go ahead and turn this off. But one of the problems is that, as we select these keyframes, we're not getting the smooth animation that we'd like. We're not getting these handles, so we can correct our motion path. So, what I need to do is I'm going to the Pen tool and click and drag. And we will get a handle then that we can then move around and our animation will then be complete.
Now, of course, we could go with our Selection tool if we wanted to and stretch these out so that pause was bigger, but really, the trick is accomplished by having two keyframes of the same value and that creates the pause.
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