Join Angie Taylor for an in-depth discussion in this video Keyframing transform properties, part of After Effects: 2D Character Animation.
So, we're in the Keyframingtransform.aep project, which you can find in the Layer Animation folder. Now, we're going to start by animating the right arm of this character using the basic transform properties, which can be found inside each of the layers. Each of the layers, if you open them up, have a transform property group which contains Anchor Point, Position, Scale, Rotation, and Opacity, the five basic properties in After Effects.
Which can be animated over time using keyframes. Now, the term keyframes comes from traditional animation where the animators would draw the frames of the animation. So for example, if you imagine Walt Disney was doing an animation of this character, he would actually draw the character in this position, and that would be the first keyframe. And then, he would draw his character in that position, and that would be the second keyframe. And then the Tweener, who's the assistant animator, would have the job of filling all the individual steps in between to create a smooth movement between there and there.
So that's where the term keyframing comes from. And in traditional animation, it's achieved by drawing the frames and then in-betweening the in-between frames. After Effects is slightly different. After Effects is like your tweener. So basically, you set the key moments of the animation, and After Effects will set all the points in between. So, if you go back to a value of 0, and I can either type in the value or just right-click and say Reset to go back to 0 on the rotation property. Then what we can do is start to animate this property.
So, I'm going to set a keyframe by clicking on this Stopwatch. So, clicking on the Stopwatch actually starts recording any changes you make to the property. So, by clicking on the Stopwatch, I'm saying okay, start recording everything I do from this point on. And it also creates keyframe at that point. And the keyframe appears like a diamond-shaped icon. And that's a basic linear keyframe which is the default keyframe type in After Effects. If you think of it as if you're tying a knot in the value at that point. So as I was saying, at zero seconds, I want the rotation value to have a value of zero. Then I'm going to move ahead a little bit.
So, I'll click and drag the time marker to roundabout the 1 second mark, thereabouts. And you can also get to that by clicking in the, go to Time Box and just typing 1 dot or 1 period, and hitting Enter, and that will take you to the one second mark. And here, what I'm going to do is pull the hammer back by scrubbing the rotation value here. So, I'm going to pull the hammer back to where he would pull it before he's about to hit the hammer on the head. And then, I'm going to move forward a little bit.
Not quite as much of a gap between hitting the wall and the beginning of the animation because actually, as he moves the hammer forward, he's going to be moving it a lot more quickly. So, a shorter distance between keyframes means a faster movement. So, I'm now going to move the rotation forwards 'til he hits the nail on the head. And if we preview that, you'll see that we've created an animation. Now, you do a preview in After Effects by clicking on this button here, the Ram Preview button, or you can hit 0 on the number pad to do exactly the same thing.
And then, the thing is it's far too slow so we need to speed it up a bit. Now, a quick way of speeding up an animation but keeping the relative timing is to select all the keyframes first of all, by clicking on the word Rotation. And that makes all the keyframes yellow, which means they're selected. Holding down the Alt key, and then pulling the keyframes together. And that keeps a relative timing. If I zoom in by hitting the Period key next to the Question Mark on the keyboard, sorry, I'm zooming into the Composition panel there. Of course, the keyboard shortcut for the timeline is to hit the Plus key on the numbers at the top.
I'm just going to do that again. So, if we zoom in by hitting the Plus key on the keyboard, we can see the keyframes have exactly the same timing. But we preview that, you'll see it's a lot quicker. So, that's how to do basic animation of a property in After Effects. Now, if you want to loop that animation so you can see it over and over again, what I suggest you do is place the time marker at the one second mark, and you can do that by clicking on the Time Ruler here. And then, what we want to do is trim our work area to this area here so that we're only previewing the work area. And the keyboard shortcut to do that is to hit the N key on the keyboard. And now when I hit Run Preview, it will only preview that small section and it will loop for me.
- Best practices for importing source files
- Sorting and interpreting footage
- Animating using traditional layer-style animation
- Creating a grouping structure for body parts
- Animating with the Puppet tool
- Creating stop-frame-style animation
- Setting up control layers
- Animating using time remapping
- Exporting files for Flash
- Making movies via the Render Queue