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After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation
Illustration by John Hersey
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Instant gratification: Auto Bézier


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After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Instant gratification: Auto Bézier

If you're new to After Effects, I can understand if that last movie left you a little bit intimidated, because I am showing how to Alt+Double-clicking or Option+Double-clicking keyframes to edit those numerically, I am opening up Graph Editors with all of these graphs and handles and bars and everything. Well, if you were intimidated, rest assured there are a couple of great shortcuts you can use to instantly refine your animations. One is called the Auto Bezier keyframe; the other is called Easy Ease. To see where we would use these, let's RAM-preview this animation. I am going to hit zero on numeric keypad and watch this animation.

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After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation
3h 1m Beginner Jan 26, 2011 Updated Nov 12, 2012

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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®.

Topics include:
  • Understanding how keyframes work under the hood
  • Controlling the Anchor Point to create more predictable animations
  • Mastering the Graph Editor for the ultimate control over keyframes
  • Animating parameters including motion paths
  • Hand-drawing motion paths to simplify complex movements
  • Applying and tweaking Motion Blur
  • Using Hold keyframes
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

Instant gratification: Auto Bézier

If you're new to After Effects, I can understand if that last movie left you a little bit intimidated, because I am showing how to Alt+Double-clicking or Option+Double-clicking keyframes to edit those numerically, I am opening up Graph Editors with all of these graphs and handles and bars and everything. Well, if you were intimidated, rest assured there are a couple of great shortcuts you can use to instantly refine your animations. One is called the Auto Bezier keyframe; the other is called Easy Ease. To see where we would use these, let's RAM-preview this animation. I am going to hit zero on numeric keypad and watch this animation.

I'm seeing right around here I've got a bit of an abrupt speed change through this spatial keyframe. I am slow coming into it and fast coming out of it. Let's say I wanted to smooth out that transition through that keyframe. That's a job for Auto Bezier keyframes. This diamond indicates the default linear interpolation, which means basically no interpolation, a sudden speed change. But if you hold down the Command key on Mac or Ctrl key on Windows and click on the keyframe, it will change to a circle, which indicates Auto Bezier keyframes, and now the transition to that keyframe will be smoothed out.

I'll press zero to RAM Preview and now you'll see as this comes around it's a much more gradual transition speed. It's not nearly as abrupt. Let's see what's going on underneath the hood. I'll hold on Option on Mac, Alt on Windows and double-click. Auto Bezier is not really a special keyframe; it just automatically edits the keyframe velocity for me. It makes the incoming velocity and outgoing velocity the same, so the speed is smooth and it also adds a little bit of influence, here just under 17%, just to smooth out the deceleration or acceleration through that keyframe.

If I want to look at this in the Graph Editor, press this button, and you'll see through this keyframe, we now have a smoothed outline. By the way, if you're in the Graph Editor and if you want to change another keyframe to Auto Bezier type, the Command+Clicking or Ctrl+Clicking doesn't work. It would just remove the keyframe instead. Fortunately, the Graph Editor gives me other options to apply Auto Bezier. I make sure my keyframe is selected and then just click on this handy button, Convert selected keyframes to Auto Bezier, and there we go. There are a number of similar buttons along the bottom of the Graph Editor.

These three are for Easy Ease, which we'll be talking about in the next movie. There is also a button to Convert back to linear keyframes, hold keyframes, which we'll be talking about later in this lesson, and if I want to see all my choices, there is this wonderful Edit selected keyframes button that gives me a pop-up menu with all sorts of different choices, including a Keyframe Interpolation dialog with Auto Bezier as an option there. But if you're in a hurry, all you need to do is click on this handy Auto Bezier button at the bottom of the Graph Editor.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation.


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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:

Q: This course was updated on 11/09/2012. What changed?
A: We have updated the movie dealing with Time Display to be applicable to working with different versions of After Effects (from CS4 to CS6). We also added a movie that shows our premium subscribers how to use the exercise files, including the new exercise files designed for After Effects CS6.
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