Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video Instant gratification: Auto Bézier, part of After Effects Apprentice 03: Advanced Animation.
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If you're new to After Effects, I can understand if that last movie left you a little bit intimidated, because I am showing how to Alt+Double-clicking or Option+Double-clicking keyframes to edit those numerically, I am opening up Graph Editors with all of these graphs and handles and bars and everything. Well, if you were intimidated, rest assured there are a couple of great shortcuts you can use to instantly refine your animations. One is called the Auto Bezier keyframe; the other is called Easy Ease. To see where we would use these, let's RAM-preview this animation. I am going to hit zero on numeric keypad and watch this animation.
I'm seeing right around here I've got a bit of an abrupt speed change through this spatial keyframe. I am slow coming into it and fast coming out of it. Let's say I wanted to smooth out that transition through that keyframe. That's a job for Auto Bezier keyframes. This diamond indicates the default linear interpolation, which means basically no interpolation, a sudden speed change. But if you hold down the Command key on Mac or Ctrl key on Windows and click on the keyframe, it will change to a circle, which indicates Auto Bezier keyframes, and now the transition to that keyframe will be smoothed out.
I'll press zero to RAM Preview and now you'll see as this comes around it's a much more gradual transition speed. It's not nearly as abrupt. Let's see what's going on underneath the hood. I'll hold on Option on Mac, Alt on Windows and double-click. Auto Bezier is not really a special keyframe; it just automatically edits the keyframe velocity for me. It makes the incoming velocity and outgoing velocity the same, so the speed is smooth and it also adds a little bit of influence, here just under 17%, just to smooth out the deceleration or acceleration through that keyframe.
If I want to look at this in the Graph Editor, press this button, and you'll see through this keyframe, we now have a smoothed outline. By the way, if you're in the Graph Editor and if you want to change another keyframe to Auto Bezier type, the Command+Clicking or Ctrl+Clicking doesn't work. It would just remove the keyframe instead. Fortunately, the Graph Editor gives me other options to apply Auto Bezier. I make sure my keyframe is selected and then just click on this handy button, Convert selected keyframes to Auto Bezier, and there we go. There are a number of similar buttons along the bottom of the Graph Editor.
These three are for Easy Ease, which we'll be talking about in the next movie. There is also a button to Convert back to linear keyframes, hold keyframes, which we'll be talking about later in this lesson, and if I want to see all my choices, there is this wonderful Edit selected keyframes button that gives me a pop-up menu with all sorts of different choices, including a Keyframe Interpolation dialog with Auto Bezier as an option there. But if you're in a hurry, all you need to do is click on this handy Auto Bezier button at the bottom of the Graph Editor.
After Effects Apprentice is created by Trish and Chris Meyer and designed to be used on their own and as a companion to their book After Effects Apprentice.
- 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