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Discover how to manipulate time in After Effects. Author Chris Meyer shows how to stop, slow, and speed up footage, and how to combine these techniques with nested compositions, expressions, and the Graph Editor. Along the way, he reveals several important yet somewhat hidden functions, such as the advanced composition setting that ensures predictable stop motion, the Frame Mix and Pixel Motion modes of the Frame Blending switch, and the Time Remap parameter.
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As I mentioned in the very first movie, time remapping is a way to keyframe time. What that means is you get to pick what frame of source material appears at what time in your overall timeline. After Effects will then automatically interpolate in between those keyframes to speed up or slow down as necessary to hit those keyframes that you set. Time remapping can be used for very simple things, like creating freeze frame or adding handle, to speeding up or slowing down action for drama, to just having fun and making something dance.
That is going to be the point in the next few movies: having fun with time remapping, just to get you over any fear or confusion if you've not used to it before. And I will open up the comp 14-Time Remap*starter, and I have already calculated a RAM Preview for this clip, because it's very long. It takes a while to load into the memory. I am going to press 0 on the numeric keypad to RAM Preview. Let's watch what's going on during this clip. Well, there is nothing going on for the first few seconds. Ah, then the milk glass appears, bounces, interesting splash, and the glass eventually falls over and hits the table.
And during the rest of the clip, the rest of the milk is landing on the table. Very interesting, super-slow-motion shot. However, parts of this may be a bit too slow for the client. They might want to speed parts of it up, or maybe even make time go backwards to make the glass dance, or have other fun with it. Let's start out by spotting some key points in time in the shot that we might want to use for our keyframe points. Now I'm going to be showing you very specific numbers, but this is one of those more artistic tutorials that if you go off slightly from where I am, that's fine, as long as you understand the concept.
If I'm really familiar with the clip, I might go ahead and start setting Time > Time Remap keyframes immediately. But if I am not familiar, I will start by placing markers on the layer, then come back later and decide which markers I actual want to use for keyframes. Let's do that. First, there is this dead air at the start, until the glass appeared. So I am going to wait at that first frame where the glass appears, right here. Then I am going to back up one frame before it, so I have got a nice hold of nothing but black, no glass in the frame.
With a clip selected, I am going to hold on Option on Mac, or Alt on Windows, press asterisk on the numeric keypad, bring up my Layer Marker dialog, and type in some thing like Entry. This is the frame before the glass was actually visible. Okay, now let's see what happens next. The glass is falling and lands, right around here. It's almost touching the table there. If I go one frame later in time by pressing page down, I can see a little bit of rippling going on in this tile, indicating it has indeed made contact.
So I am going to hold down Option, or Alt, press asterisk, and enter Contact. Now I'll scrub a little bit further to see what else happens. There's this interesting little thumb of milk here that hits the table first. I think I'm going to wait until the whole thing hits and splashes a bit. I might pick around here or here. You know, getting this is subjective. I like a little bit of spread. Maybe I will pick that frame. Option, or Alt, asterisk, droplet, just to remind myself what's going on.
I see the word contact here is a bit too long. It's overlapping my other marker. Just change it to "hit," a shorter word easier to see in the Timeline. All right, let's pick on more good pose here for our fully extended. I am going to try to make this glass dance a little bit, So it looks kind of like an arm-in-the-air sort of thing. Maybe right around here, where this last bit of milk goes out of the frame, I am going to pick something like in that area there. Again, even on landing on a specific frame, you can go ahead and pick what pose you happen to like.
Option, or Alt, asterisk, and I'll say pose, for a nice extended pose. And if you like, you can go through here and pick some other interesting points in time, such as when the glass bounces on the table, which is right around there, bounce, and maybe some additional things like when this milk additionally splashes there, boom, milk2. So now I have a few interesting hit points to use this potential keyframes for my time remapping.
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