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In this course, Chris Meyer helps beginning After Effects artists take their animations to the next level. Chris shows how to refine animations to create elegant, coordinated movements with the minimum number of keyframes—as well as slam-downs, whip pans, and other attention-getters. Additional movies show how to reverse-engineer existing animations, create variations on a theme, and master other parts of the program. Even though this course is designed for beginners, even veterans should learn tricks that many experienced users are unaware of. Chris' friendly running commentary lets you in on his mental process as he works on an animation. Exercise files are included with the course.
The After Effects Apprentice videos on lynda.com were created by Trish and Chris Meyer and are designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice. We are honored to host these tutorials in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.
Next I am going to use the Graph Editor to edit the timing and the value of my keyframes. I'll make sure my layer is selected, Snowflake.mov, and I'll make sure that I am seeing my animated properties. And to help simplify my display, I am going to go ahead and say just auto-select the graph type and don't show me the reference graph. That way I will be seeing the values from most of my keyframes and the speed for my position keyframes. I am going to play around with this rotation value first. I hover the tooltip over it, and I see this ending as 0 degrees at time 120. Let's say that I want it to rotate more.
I just select the keyframe and drag it up or down to change its value range. Higher is a higher value. Now, After Effects will naturally try to snap to the same point in time as other keyframes, or the same values of the keyframes; that's controlled by this old magnet icon, Snap. If you find yourself straining a little bit, or you can't keep the same time while you are editing value, add the Shift key after you start dragging, and it too will constrain your movements. So here I have a much more rotation, but ending at the same time. I'll RAM-preview briefly, and you'll see that the snowflake is twirling around much more.
Okay, it strikes me as a little bit odd that it's just stopping there at the end. So let's say instead, I want to take it longer to rotate, and I am going to go ahead and drag it out here to later in time. And again, if I'm having trouble keeping the value, I just hold down the Shift key. It will constrain my movement, and I can go ahead and just slide it horizontally to a different point in time. Preview and now that's how my animation looks like now, taking a little bit longer to rotate. And you can do that with any other value. Now opacity can't go 100%, so that's not very interesting, but you can take things such as the Scale Value and have the snowflake scale all the way down to 0%, maintain a larger value, et cetera.
I am going to undo back to where it was. In addition to editing individual keyframes, you can also edit all keyframes for a given property. To do that, double-click the property, and you'll see a white bounding box appear around all the keyframes for that property you clicked on. Now you can move them as a group. For example, say that you like the basic animation; you just wished that it started and stopped later in time. Well, pick up this bounding box and slide it later in time. Again, if you are having trouble constraining your movements, you're moving it to a different value range or different time range, hold the Shift key and that will constrain your movement.
Now it happens later in time. Quick preview. Now it starts rotating there. Let's say instead, you like the timing, but you want to change the value range. You want it to have the same amount of rotation, but just have the start and end values to be different. Same thing, just drag the white bounding, add the Shift key to constrain it so I don't move its timing, and now I am moving the start and end values of those keyframes as a group, and I'll undo. Let's say that you liked the value range; you just wish you took longer in time.
Hover your cursor over one of the little nubbins at the end of this bounding box until you see this double- cursor. Then drag it out longer. Now you'll keep the same start and end values and in between values for your keyframes, but they will all scale together to take a longer amount of time or shorter amount of time. For example, here I have my snowflake animation take the same rotation but end much sooner. See, it's done rotating right there, pretty early. And I'll undo. Finally, if you have a selection keyframes that you are basically happy with the timing of, but now you need to expand or contract their value range, again, position the cursor over one of the nubbins from the bounding box and then just drag the bounding box taller.
That will keep the same timing but give me a different value range. There you see, I've got a larger rotation overall. Undo. I can also make it a smaller range if I want less rotation. Now, you'll see it has a much more subtle rotation as it lands into position. To remove your selection, just click anywhere that's not on another keyframe, et cetera, and now you'll lose your selection; you are back to where you started.
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