After Effects CS5 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Easing keyframes


After Effects CS5 Essential Training

with Chad Perkins

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Video: Easing keyframes

Easing keyframes is the easiest way to start playing around with temporal interpolation, because when you play with easing, as we will see in this movie, After Effects kind of does the work for you. I am going to go back to this Explore California logo, and it's really cool. We animated it, all great and everything. But now that we know a little bit more about temporal interpolation, we could start to see that this is a little bit robotic. Everything kind of animates on a very linear way. In other words, the motion, the velocity is constant.
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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
  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
    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

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Watch the Online Video Course After Effects CS5 Essential Training
8h 39m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the After Effects workflow
  • Precomposing footage
  • Explaining the basics and beyond of animating
  • Creating glows, patterns, textures, and more with effects
  • Color correcting footage
  • Working with text
  • Manipulating video playback speed
  • Masking objects and shape layers
  • Removing backgrounds with keying
  • Compositing multiple pieces of footage
  • Integrating After Effects with the rest of the Creative Suite
After Effects
Chad Perkins

Easing keyframes

Easing keyframes is the easiest way to start playing around with temporal interpolation, because when you play with easing, as we will see in this movie, After Effects kind of does the work for you. I am going to go back to this Explore California logo, and it's really cool. We animated it, all great and everything. But now that we know a little bit more about temporal interpolation, we could start to see that this is a little bit robotic. Everything kind of animates on a very linear way. In other words, the motion, the velocity is constant.

There is no change in speed as we saw with that cool arrow in the last movie. So, what we are going to do is we are going to this hill and we are going to make it so that it comes on little bit faster and then slowly comes to a stop. So, we are going to go to the Front Hill layer-- that's layer 8-- and push U. That's the keyboard shortcut to reveal all the keyframes. And that will show us our two keyframes. Now, when you see the keyframes that are diamonds, that is linear interpolation, meaning that the rate of motion is constant from the first keyframe to the next one.

That's what those diamonds mean. So, what we are going to do is we are going to right-click on the second keyframe. Just right-click directly on the keyframe and in this menu that pops up, go to the bottom that says Keyframe Assistant. And we are going to choose Easy Ease In. And that's going to make it so that the value is still the same of the keyframe, but that it goes a little bit more slowly as it comes to a stop. So now as we play this back, it kind of slows down a little bit right at the end.

It just kind of gracefully eases its way into the stop. And so we can do that again with the bridge and the sun and even the bicyclist, and we could do this with all of these layers that animate on to kind of just ease them into their positions. Now, I realize that this may seem very subtle. But this really is what separates like the men from the boys, I guess you could say. When you are talking about After Effect and animation, they seem like they're subtle things, but they really do add a lot of life into your animations.

And just so you could see this a little bit more clearly, we are going to go back to these arrows. What I have here, the green arrow is the normal linear keyframes, just standard, constant rate of motion. And then I have this Easy Ease In arrow that's right below it. And if I select this layer to press U, you could see that I have performed Easy Ease In on the final right keyframe, which makes it so that it goes slower towards the end. But if the first keyframe and the last keyframe are the same and if we go slower at the end then that means then in order to make up for this slowness at the end that we have to go faster in the beginning.

So, that's what Easy Ease In does. It not only slows down the end when you are easing in, but that means it also has to speed up the first part. And you can even see the dots here. They are more spread apart here. And then they also get very close together at the end. So, you could almost see through the motion path the speed of this arrow. So, now as we play these together, we could see that the maroon arrow goes faster out of the gate and then has to slow down to wait for the green arrow to catch up. So, just by itself, just looking at the Easy Ease In arrow, it's not all that easy to see what's going on.

It doesn't seem like there is that significant of a change, especially if you are new to After Effects, you are new to animation. They may seem almost exactly the same. But when you see it in contrast to the original, you see a big difference. Now, there is another Easy Ease solution and that's Easy Ease Out. I am going to hit the Home key and get back to the beginning and turn on Easy Ease Out. Select the Easy Ease Out layer. Press U to reveal its keyframes. And what I did on this keyframe is I right-clicked on the first keyframe and I choose Easy Ease Out.

So, basically it eases out of the gate. So, it starts out slow, as you could see the dots here, and then it has to accelerate to go faster to compensate for going slow at the beginning. Actually, I will turn off Easy Ease In. When we see that and compare it to the original, we could that it starts off slow and then launches like a rocket. So, then it goes much faster at the end to compensate. So, when we see all these three together, you could see how different they are in terms of what they are doing because of their temporal interpolation.

Again, the keyframe values are the same. They will start and stop at the same point in time and at the same location. But you could see because of their temporal interpolation how different the path they follow are. Now, I am hoping also that you are kind of getting a sense of where this would be practical. We have here, of course, our logo, and we saw how it's helpful there. But you kind of see with Easy Ease In, how this would be helpful if an object was coming to a stop, if something was landing on the ground or if a car was going to stop or what have you.

Something that's like moving and then slows down. This would be a more realistic way to slow that down. Likewise, with Easy Ease Out, this might be a rocket taking off or a plane taking off or a car coming off from a stop sign or something. It would start out slow and then get to its cruising speed. It should be pointed out that very few things in life animate or move around in a linear way like the green arrow. Very, very few things if any have a constant rate of speed. You might say it looks very robotic.

But even robots, if you watch robots move around, they still Easy Ease In and Easy Ease Out as they are moving around. So, now that you know about this, make sure that you use this Easy Ease In, Easy Ease Out stuff liberally. Use it all over the place in your project. It will make so much more realism. Of course, use it with the purpose. Don't just do it just to do it. But more than likely, most objects in your scene that are animated should be eased.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects CS5 Essential Training .

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Q: In the "Creating a fireball" movie in Chapter 6, the author showed how to make a fireball. Unfortunately, it all centered around a blob layer that he made without showing how to make a blob layer. How does one go about creating a blob layer like the one used in the video?
A: To create a blob layer, make a shape layer using the Pen tool. Animate the anchor points over time to make it move. These concepts are reviewed in depth in Chapter 4, "Learning to Animate."
Q: In the Chapter 5 video "Understanding precomposing," the exercise file provided does not seem to match up with the file the instructor uses. My file does not include a "Biker Body" layer. Is there an error in the exercise file?
A: Unfortunately, the exercise file originally distributed for this chapter was incorrect. A new file was issued in February 2011. If you downloaded the exercise files prior to then, you can download the corrected file on the Exercise Files tab of the course page.
Q: How do I transition from one piece of animated type to another in After Effects?
A: There isn't an effect that can create these types of transitions. It's really a matter of animating the type and camera, using basic keyframing and positioning.
If you understand the basics of moving the anchor point of a type layer, animating the parameters of that layer (Scale, Rotation, Position, etc.) and then separately animating the camera around the type layers, you can achieve different types of transitions.  Check out the following videos for more information:

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