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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.
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.
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