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Fine-tuning animation with the Graph Editor

From: 2D Character Animation with After Effects

Video: Fine-tuning animation with the Graph Editor

Okay, so now we're going to have a look at how you can use the graph editor in After Effects to fine-tune your animations to improve the speed and the dynamism of the animation. Now we're in the graph editor project which you can find in the layer animation folder, and we're gonns use the graph editor to retime these existing keyframes. Now just be aware that if you click on the graph editor button, you won't actually see anything except an empty graph.

Fine-tuning animation with the Graph Editor

Okay, so now we're going to have a look at how you can use the graph editor in After Effects to fine-tune your animations to improve the speed and the dynamism of the animation. Now we're in the graph editor project which you can find in the layer animation folder, and we're gonns use the graph editor to retime these existing keyframes. Now just be aware that if you click on the graph editor button, you won't actually see anything except an empty graph.

So in order to be able to see the key frames, you need to either select a key frame or select the rotation property. And then when you go into the graph editor, you'll be able to see a graph representing the movement that's being made. By, in this case, his arm. Now I'm going to preview that by clicking the Run Preview button. You can also hit zero on the number pad. And you can see the movement represented by this graph. And the rotation values what's being animated. So what we can see here if we zoom in a little bit, so let me just stop playback and we'll zoom in a little bit tighter just by using the zoom slider at the top of the screen here. And I'm going to pull my work area in a little bit more so we're not previewing as much.

Let's preview that once more. So what you can see here it's gradually speeding up. And then it's coming into the second key frame, so this is the speeding up and pulling back section, and then it's hitting the nail on the head, moving forward very, very quickly. So basically what it's doing it's gradually speeding up, then it's getting to an optimum speed and then it's gradually tailing off into the middle keyframe. And that's because we've eased these two keyframes. And you'll notice that when you ease a keyframe if you select it, you'll see handles coming out from either side of it.

And these are Bezier handles and they allow you to adjust the curve which represents the speed between the key frames. So if I want this to hold a little longer on the middle keyframe, what I can do is I can actually adjust this so that it gets to this point. And then it kind of holds for a little longer, as he pulls back the hammer before he hits it forwards. And I can do that by pulling this handle out, just clicking on that handle and pulling it out. If I want to, I an hold down Shift after I start dragging to constrain it so that we don't accidentally move it up or down the screen.

So that's a really nice way of just holding that animation for a little bit longer before he pushes the hammer forwards. And we can have a little look at that by doing another RAM preview. And you'll see we're starting to get a much more dynamic movement now. He pulls it back and really whacks it forward. Now we can also change the angle going out of of the keyframe. If I do the same here pull the handle you can see that I can move it up and down. But holding down Shift allows me to constrain it, and we can have a look at what that does as well. And that's going to hold for a little bit longer this way which makes that movement going into the nail a little bit faster.

So let's preview that. And now we've got a really good animation. It really looks like he's whacking that nail on the head. instantly we're just going to have a little go at adjusting the first one just to show what that does. So if I pull this one out, again holding down Shift, as far as it will go. And preview it. Now you'll notice that that's a little bit wobbly. And that's because we've created this s shape here. Which kind of creates a little bit too much of a jump between one speed and another.

So I don't really recommend that you adjust this keyframe too much. Let's undo it so we're back at the beginning. Can maybe I adjust it a little bit further so it takes a little bit longer to start moving his arm back and then we'll preview that again. Okay, you know what I preferred it as it was, I'm just going to do a simple undo by hitting Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z on the PC. I'm going to play it again and I'm going to say that I'm quite happy with that. 'Kay, a really good, dynamic animation of a guy pulling back the hammer and hitting the nail on the head.

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2D Character Animation with After Effects

27 video lessons · 3311 viewers

Angie Taylor
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