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Auto Bezier keyframes are great if you need to smooth a speedy transition but a value is still going to be changing before and after the keyframe. If instead it's the first or the last keyframe and you want to gradually start up or gradually come to the stop, that's where the Easy Ease keyframe type comes in. Now, there is a couple of different ways to select the Easy Ease keyframe type. One way is to right-click on the Keyframe and look underneath the Keyframe Assistant submenu.
Here you'll see three different types of Easy Ease: Easy Ease In, gradually slow down to a stop as you approach a keyframe; Easy Ease Out, gradually accelerate away from a stop as you leave a keyframe; or Easy Ease, do both--slow down and come to the stop as you come into a keyframe, then gradually accelerate away from that keyframe as you move on in time. Since this is the first keyframe in my animation, I can select either Easy Ease Out, or just Easy Ease. Release the mouse, RAM Preview, and now you will see that this snowflake takes off gradually from that first keyframe.
It still ends abruptly, because I have not edited that last keyframe, but at the beginning of the animation is a nice slow take-off from that initial position. Let's go ahead and use Easy Ease to come to a gradual stop as well. I'll select that ending keyframe, and in this case I'll use the keyboard shortcut F9. By the way, those on the Mac will find that Expose takes over some of your function keys; you'll need to go into System Preferences, in Expose and turn off those preferences. I'll press F9. I've got an Easy Ease type on this end and I'll RAM-preview.
And now I've got a smooth position animation easing out from my initial position and then easing in to my final at-rest position. Now just like Auto Bezier, Easy Ease is not really a spatial type of keyframe; it's just automatically entering numbers for me. If I Option+Double-click or Alt+Double- click my keyframe, I'll see that it's change the speed to zero for both the Incoming and Outgoing Velocity; it comes to a complete stop. And that's a broader influence in Auto Bezier, in this case, about 33.3% influence.
That gives me a gradual deceleration and acceleration as I come into and leave this keyframe. You can also look at this in the Graph Editor if you like, and you'll see these nice gradual curves as we come into that Easy Ease keyframe and come out of that Easy Ease keyframe. Now Easy Ease only works for when a value starts and stops animating. It does not work so well if a parameter is supposed to continuously change through that keyframe. Just to demonstrate that, I'll take these position keyframes in the middle of my animation, go down to the Graph Editor's handy shortcut for Easy Ease, right there.
You'll see what's happened in the graph. It comes all the way down to zero speed and takes off again. As I RAM-preview, you'll see well, this is not really what I had in mind. The snowflake stops and picks up again. So Easy Ease rarely works well in the middle of an animation. It's far better at the end points of an animation. I'll stop, undo, and get back to my previous smooth animation. So Auto Bezier and Easy Ease are two great shortcuts beginners can use to add instant refinement to their animations.
Later on in this lesson, I'll show how you can gain even further control and refinement over those animation moves. But next, I want to move into another little-known, but very important part of animating inside After Effects, something known as the Anchor Point.
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