New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

Using an anchor point path


From:

After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

Video: Using an anchor point path

There are a few more tricks to keep in mind when you're trying to animate the Anchor Point. One thing that may be confusing is that I've animated my Anchor Point in the Layer panel, but of course my final stage is my Comp panel. And I have my Layer panel forward, I am trying to do a RAM Preview. It's not going to be very interesting because it's just looking at this layer, which happens to be a still image. If I want to preview this animation, I need to make sure the Comp panel is forward, either by clicking on its center or along its tab at top, and then RAM Preview, and now I'll see the result of the animation I created in the Layer panel.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation
3h 1m Beginner Jan 26, 2011 Updated Nov 12, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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

Using an anchor point path

There are a few more tricks to keep in mind when you're trying to animate the Anchor Point. One thing that may be confusing is that I've animated my Anchor Point in the Layer panel, but of course my final stage is my Comp panel. And I have my Layer panel forward, I am trying to do a RAM Preview. It's not going to be very interesting because it's just looking at this layer, which happens to be a still image. If I want to preview this animation, I need to make sure the Comp panel is forward, either by clicking on its center or along its tab at top, and then RAM Preview, and now I'll see the result of the animation I created in the Layer panel.

The other thing that's different is when you edited the position, you could edit its motion path directly in the Comp panel. But again, when you're editing the Anchor Point, you need to edit its motion path in the Layer panel. This actually isn't so bad because you get to see the two side by side. You get to see the overview of the entire scene in Layer panel and the result of your work in the Comp panel. Let's say I decide I want to follow the arc of this track, so I'll go to this first keyframe, look for its Bezier handle, and pull it out to get a curve. If I couldn't see that Bezier handle, I can press G to get the Convert Vertex tool and pull it out as well, and get it roughly on a bend so it goes around this track.

Let's go ahead and edit this point as well. Again, this dot's hard to find. There it is. But I could just hold G and pull it out like that. Now that I've got that path roughed out, I can bring my Comp panel forward and RAM-preview, and that's my rough first animation move. Not too bad. It looks like I need to come out a little bit further to get on the cars. If I want to see that result, rather than having to go back and forth and select Windows, there is a handy little button at the bottom of the Comp panel.

It is the Always Preview This View button. So I'm going to turn that on for the Comp panel. That way even if the Layer panel is forward, if I press zero to RAM Preview, it's the Comp panel that's going to preview instead. So that's the nice little option down at the bottom of the Comp panel. Okay, I've got roughly the path I am intending, but you know I'd like to refine the keyframe velocity. In the next chapter, I will be going into the Graph Editor where you can really refine the velocity. Let's just do something quick and dirty. I'll select these two keyframes and press F9 to get Easy Ease.

I'll even select my last two keyframes. If I can't remember that shortcut, I can always go to Animation > Keyframe Assistant and select Easy Ease from there. Now that I've done that, I'll preview and I'll ease away from the green car, come around the bend, and ease into my final position. And that's really all there is to it. It does take a bit of fiddling to remember the Anchor Point's done in the Layer panel, in contrast to Position, which is done in the Comp panel. But once you get used to this idea of splitting your mind in two, it's actually a better way of working because you get the overview and you get the final result.

So now that we've mastered the center of animation, the Anchor Point, it's time to refine those animations with the best tool in toolbox, the Graph Editor.

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


Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
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.
 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.