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Understanding keyframes

From: After Effects CS6 Essential Training

Video: Understanding keyframes

Now that we have a firm foundation for understanding comps and layers, it's time to dive a little deeper into understanding how animation works. In this video, I've laid out multiple layers setup so we can actually drive home all the different kinds of keyframes that you can create and use within After Effects. So to get started, let's select Layer 1 and 2 and press U to open up any of their animations. And this should look relatively familiar. We have some keyframes and I know they're linear, because they're diamond shaped.

Understanding keyframes

Now that we have a firm foundation for understanding comps and layers, it's time to dive a little deeper into understanding how animation works. In this video, I've laid out multiple layers setup so we can actually drive home all the different kinds of keyframes that you can create and use within After Effects. So to get started, let's select Layer 1 and 2 and press U to open up any of their animations. And this should look relatively familiar. We have some keyframes and I know they're linear, because they're diamond shaped.

So load up a RAM Preview and let's preview our animation. As you can see here, it's a pretty straightforward linear animation. Now I'm going to stop playback by pressing the Spacebar and click up here in my timeline. I want you to click right around 4 seconds. The reason I want to do this is to set the work area, so press N on your keyboard to set the work area. What this is going to do is load up only this first 4 seconds into RAM when we do RAM Previews, since all of the keyframes are set within the first 4 seconds.

So let's move forward and jump into what Bezier keyframes are. So turn off the visibility for Layers 1 and 2, turn on the visibility for 3 and 4, and you guessed it, select Layers 3 and 4 by clicking on one and Shift-clicking on the next and press the U key again to open up these position keyframes. I purposely have left these as linear, because I want to show you how to actually change between all these different kinds of keyframes. So to change these from linear to Bezier, I'm going to click and drag a Lasso around all those keyframes, even though they're on multiple layers, it's okay.

Once all the keyframes are selected I can just right-click on any one of the keyframes and go down to the menu and choose Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease to change this from linear to Bezier. Now with all the different keyframes set to Bezier, let's load up a RAM Preview. Again, I'm just pressing 0 on my keypad to give you a RAM Preview. And as you can see here the words slide in, in a much more natural motion. Now let's turn off the visibility of Bezier and check out what roving keyframes do.

So click and Shift+Click Layers 5 and 6, turn on their visibility and press the U key. Now in here we have four different linear keyframes. And I added these extra keyframes to kind of show you some of the different things that happen when you have multiple keyframes. First thing, you know these lines on the canvas represent motion path or the animation path. These are the paths that these words are going to be traveling. And the dots in between the path represent the speed at which these words are going to be moving.

So the closer they are together, the slower they are moving, and the further apart, the faster they are moving. Roving keyframes are interesting because they'll smooth all this motion out and they do so by actually moving the position of the middle keyframes. So to show you what I'm talking about, let's preview this animation first. Press 0 on your keypad to load up a RAM Preview. And you can see, as the words bounce from keyframe to keyframe, they're actually changing velocity. Now let's press the Spacebar to stop playback and draw a Lasso around all of these keys.

Again, right-click on any of them and this time to activate roving keyframes, you just want to click Rove Across Time. Now you notice the first and last keyframes are still linear, but these other keyframes in between have shifted in the timeline. They are doing this because they actually move where the keyframes live to smooth out the motion. So the words will definitely still pass through each one of those points, I'm just clicking and dragging to kind of scrub through the animation, they still pass through the points, but you notice now all of the points have the same exact spacing.

So if we load up a RAM Preview, you can see with roving keyframes it's going to move at the same velocity all the way through the animation. Now let me stop playback here for one second. One other thing about roving keyframes, if we click anywhere in the gray area in the timeline to deselect all the keyframes, with roving keyframes if you click on either the first or the last keyframe, as you drag them out, notice the spacing of the middle keyframes will change. And even if I try and click on the one of these and move it, look what happens, it changes from a roving keyframe back to a linear keyframe, because linear keyframes have a specific point in time.

Let's just Command+Z to undo that last thing. Roving keyframes will rove based on where the first and last keyframes are in your timeline. Let's go to hold keyframes. These happen to be one of my favorites. Let's turn off the visibility of Layers 5 and 6, and select 7, 8, turn on their visibility and press U. I'm just scrolling down with my mouse so I can see these layers. Now, again, we have linear keyframes. Just draw the Lasso around and then right-click, and instead of them being linear keyframes, we can choose Toggle Hold Keyframe.

When we do that, notice these look kind of like a home plate. And basically that's because they are holding the previous keyframe's value right up until the next keyframe. So notice, there are no little dots along our animation path. That's because it's not going to be moving. So press 0 to load up a RAM Preview and you can see, now with hold keyframes, they hold the previous value until the next keyframe.

So now that you've seen some of the different kind of cool keyframes we can create inside of After Effects, let's get started with our animations.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CS6 Essential Training
After Effects CS6 Essential Training

78 video lessons · 55810 viewers

Ian Robinson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 2m 53s
    1. Welcome
      1m 40s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 13s
  3. 1h 8m
    1. The six foundations of AE
      5m 3s
    2. Introducing the interface and the workspace
      7m 51s
    3. Understanding compositions
      8m 48s
    4. Getting comfortable with layers
      7m 33s
    5. Getting started with animation and keyframes
      8m 30s
    6. Understanding effects
      3m 26s
    7. Moving in 3D space
      7m 41s
    8. Rendering your first animation
      8m 20s
    9. Specifying preferences and cache settings
      5m 44s
    10. Staying organized
      5m 15s
  4. 38m 6s
    1. Creating compositions
      7m 19s
    2. Importing footage and compositions
      7m 54s
    3. Preparing compositions for animation
      8m 7s
    4. Introducing renderers
      3m 15s
    5. Understanding precomposing
      7m 16s
    6. Relinking missing footage
      4m 15s
  5. 59m 58s
    1. Defining layers
      6m 23s
    2. Creating type
      5m 58s
    3. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      7m 55s
    4. Building shape layers
      6m 17s
    5. Understanding switches and blend modes
      8m 26s
    6. Crafting custom shapes and masks
      6m 18s
    7. Creating variable-width feathered masks
      5m 1s
    8. Rotoscoping with the Roto Brush
      8m 20s
    9. Refining with the Roto Brush
      5m 20s
  6. 1h 8m
    1. Understanding keyframes
      6m 1s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 54s
    3. Interpolating keyframes
      8m 5s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      7m 17s
    5. Understanding positional keyframes
      7m 0s
    6. Controlling animation with parenting and the pick whip
      9m 57s
    7. Understanding animation paths
      6m 27s
    8. Timing to audio
      4m 41s
    9. Trimming and sliding edits
      5m 31s
    10. Swapping images
      4m 1s
  7. 29m 7s
    1. Layering multiple effects
      9m 13s
    2. Generating graphic effects with adjustment layers
      7m 28s
    3. Building backgrounds with effects
      6m 50s
    4. Creating animated strokes
      5m 36s
  8. 40m 15s
    1. Introducing cameras
      10m 3s
    2. Working with 3D layers
      6m 37s
    3. Positioning layers
      6m 13s
    4. Adding lights and working with Material Options
      9m 21s
    5. Using 3D precompositions
      2m 5s
    6. Adjusting depth of field
      5m 56s
  9. 28m 31s
    1. Caching and prerendering
      6m 33s
    2. Understanding the alpha channels
      5m 18s
    3. Using the Render Queue
      4m 34s
    4. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      7m 15s
    5. Archiving finished projects
      4m 51s
  10. 44m 27s
    1. Creating type animators
      12m 16s
    2. Animating type in 3D space
      6m 35s
    3. Adding and animating type on a path
      8m 45s
    4. Composing 3D type
      8m 41s
    5. Animating shape layers
      8m 10s
  11. 32m 45s
    1. Creating stylized video
      6m 47s
    2. Retiming video footage
      9m 31s
    3. Retouching with the Rubber Stamp tool
      10m 19s
    4. Smoothing shaky camera footage
      6m 8s
  12. 14m 19s
    1. Understanding keying
      3m 19s
    2. Creating a garbage mask
      4m 27s
    3. Getting started with Keylight
      6m 33s
  13. 15m 56s
    1. Importing Photoshop documents
      6m 11s
    2. Importing Illustrator files
      4m 24s
    3. Working With Premiere Pro projects
      5m 21s
  14. 1h 15m
    1. Adjusting ray-tracing quality
      8m 19s
    2. Tracking footage
      8m 15s
    3. Extruding shapes
      8m 39s
    4. Bending layers
      8m 38s
    5. Adjusting ray-traced lighting and materials
      9m 22s
    6. Adding environment maps
      4m 58s
    7. Beginning compositing
      8m 52s
    8. Creating render passes
      10m 17s
    9. Building a final composite
      8m 14s
  15. 1m 8s
    1. What's next
      1m 8s

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