Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Working with motion control moves

From: After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation

Video: Working with motion control moves

Normally, you would set up the Anchor Point and then leave it alone as you go animate the other Transform properties such as Rotation, Scale, and Position. However, there are some types of animation movements where you want to leave position alone and animate the Anchor Point instead; for example, if you're panning around on a large photograph, piece of video, or even another composition. If you have the project files that came with this lesson, first open Comp 02a-Motion Control*starter. It is large photos from cars on a racetrack, and to get a bit idea what this looks like I am going to double-click Auto Race.jpg, open it up in the Layer panel, say View, fit up to 100% and now I can see how big this photo truly is.

Working with motion control moves

Normally, you would set up the Anchor Point and then leave it alone as you go animate the other Transform properties such as Rotation, Scale, and Position. However, there are some types of animation movements where you want to leave position alone and animate the Anchor Point instead; for example, if you're panning around on a large photograph, piece of video, or even another composition. If you have the project files that came with this lesson, first open Comp 02a-Motion Control*starter. It is large photos from cars on a racetrack, and to get a bit idea what this looks like I am going to double-click Auto Race.jpg, open it up in the Layer panel, say View, fit up to 100% and now I can see how big this photo truly is.

I've got a lot of real estate here I can go ahead and pan around and move around. Great! Let's say I've decided on a move where I first focus on this lime green car in front and then want to look at the back of the pack layer run. I might be tempted to be to go to my Comp panel and say okay, move, that's position. So I'll press P to reveal the Position parameter, click on its stopwatch to enable keyframing, and then for zooming in and out, I'll hold Shift and press S to reveal Scale. Click on its stopwatch. Now I can keyframe that. Let's get a good first pose. Let's see that green car is down here somewhere.

There we go, get it kind of put it in the screen where I want. It's too big. Now, I'll scrub Scale and hmm! It's sliding off the top of my composition. It's not supposed to be doing that. Well, actually it is. If you remember, all Transform properties are centered around the Anchor Point. That Anchor Point is up here at this red, white, and blue car, not down by the green car. Okay, I know Chris told me to set the Anchor Point first, but you know I don't have time. Let's just drag it onto Position. There we go, and let's scale a little bit more and oops! It goes off the screen, pull it down again.

Okay, I am happy with my first pose. It took little bit, but I am happy. Now I'm going to press End to go to the end of my Timeline and drag it to another position. I want to focus on these cars up here somewhere, and it's a nice arrangement there. And again, I think that could be scaled little bit to get a more inclusive view, so I'll scrub the Scale value, and it goes sliding off the screen again. Well, again it's sliding towards that Anchor Point, the center of all transformations. That's why I am fighting myself: whenever I move the position and then scrub the Scale, they're just working against each other.

It's because After Effects always scales around the Anchor Point. But you can go ahead and persevere until you get it the way want it to be, until it comes time to preview it. But I'll press 0 to get a RAM Preview, and my preview is also kind of sliding around in ways I don't want. Well, I can edit my position path, and my position path is kind of non-intuitive at this point. I mean my green car is here, but my position keyframe is over here because that's where my Anchor Point is. Trust me, you can go ahead and do this, but you're just going to be fighting it all day long.

There is a better way, and that better way is animating the Anchor Point. So let's start over. I'm going to open up a new blank comp 02b, nothing in there, go down to Sources, reveal Auto Race, Command+Forward Slash or Ctrl+Forward Slash, center it in the comp. Now remember, the Anchor Point is in the center of the layer. Now, when I add a layer using the shortcut, the layer is centered in the composition. That means its position value is in the middle. I don't want to edit this position value.

I want to resist the temptation to pick up and move this layer. Instead, I am going to animate everything using the Anchor Point. Shift+A will reveal that, in addition to position. Now, as you know from earlier movie, to edit the Anchor Point, you can open up the Layer panel. I'll double-click this layer, and I'll drag these side by side so I can see them both at the same time, and maybe do a little bit of rearrangement of my panels to get a bigger view on both. There we go. Now, rather than keyframing position, I will keyframe the Anchor Point, then hold down Shift, press S to reveal Scale, so do that as well.

I've moved my Layer panel. I'll change the View pop-up to Anchor Point Path because that's what I want to edit now. And now let's look at that Anchor Point. Remember before I said it looked like a crosshair? Well, that's exactly how you should treat it. This is the crosshair of your virtual camera. So I'm going to pick it up and drag it down to the screen car, which I want to focus on, and voila! The Comp panel is automatically updating to show this display. I center the Anchor Point on the car. The Anchor Point is centered in the Comp panel. I have got the view I want.

Now when I go scrub Scale, you'll notice it's scaling around the Anchor Point and therefore staying centered in my screen. It's a good pose I like. I can go ahead and play with the Anchor Point. Again, don't move position, just edit Anchor Point and drag it to get maybe a little bit more of a balanced photo, a little bit of the arc of the track coming from the frame on down and the car down on the bottom third of the frame. That's the nice pose. Okay, let's go down to the end and do the same thing. Don't pick it up and move it into the Comp panel, go to the Layer panel and move your crosshair to what you want to focus on.

Let's see, I was focusing on this group of cars before. Let's do that again. By centering the track, the car is pretty well centered in the view. I want to frame this a little bit better, so again I just scrub the scale, and now it behaves exactly the way I want it to. It's just like aiming my camera at the spot that I want and then zooming in and out to get the framing that I want. Notice how much faster and more direct and less frustrating it was to edit this way than to edit Position and Scale to do the same type of movement.

If you want to pan around a large source, be it the still image, video, even another composition, edit the Anchor Point in the Layer panel. Now there is an alternative using 3D cameras, and in the future lesson we'll get into 3D. But this is the way a lot of people create those so-called Ken Burns moves across photographs to give some movement to them. And speaking of animation, I am going to show you how to refine that Anchor Point animation in the next movie.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation
After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation

32 video lessons · 22706 viewers

Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
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.


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 "Already a member? Log in

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

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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.