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Adobe AfterEffects: Basic Animation Tips

This portion of “Learn to Use Adobe AfterEffects” is based on Andrew Kramer’s beginner’s tutorial #3 on basic Animation for Video Copilot. I suggest you watch the tutorial because it is very effective.

To supplement the animation skills that Andrew teaches, I have created pictures and lists of shortcuts and things to know when using AfterEffects.

How to make a new composition:

  • drag chosen vido clip  on top of the “New Comp.” button located at the bottom of the project box

How to change Anchor Point:

  • the Anchor Point is the pivot point for the layer you are working on, it’s set at default to be in the middle of the layer
  • scaling also occurs around the anchor point
  • to change the point you have to click on the “Pan Behind Tool”
  • click on the anchor point and drag it anywhere you want

How to get Motion Blur:

  • ever layer has a motion blur switch that looks like a ball bouncing (refer to the image above), hit to put motion blur on the single clip or layer
  • to get a motion blur for the entire composition, hit the bigger bouncing ball icon on top of the “Parent” section (refer to image above)

How to keyframe Opacity:

  • put playhead at the beginning of timeline
  • click “Opacity” underneath the toggle of the clip’s name and bring it to zero
  • click the stopwatch button by the word Opacity
  • move the playhead forward to the line you want the full Opacity of the clip be clear
  • bring Opacity to 100%
  • play it back and see that it works
  • if you want to eliminate the keyframes click the stopwatch off
  • TIP: if you want the clip to move in straight lines up and down, hold Shift when you move the clip
Put up an Adjustment Layer:
  • Layer > New > Adjustment Layer
  • anything you do to the Adjustment Layer, you can do to the whole screen in your viewer
  • it affects everything below it
Create a Solid Layer:
  • Layer > New > Solid
  • choose a color for it
  • solid layers allow you to make a background
  • if you drag it to the bottom of the timeline stack, it will make for a colorful background

Keyboard Shortcuts:

  • to set work area on the timeline, drag the top layer OR press “N” and the computer will set the work area; press “B” to set the beginning of the work area
  • to change your linear keyframe to a besier (a.k.a. easy ease keyframe), select keyframe in timeline and hit “F9;” this allows animation to be smoother
  • remember, you can use Cntrl (or Command) “C” and “V” to copy and paste keyframes
  • if you do not want to overwhelm your screen with parameters, click on the clip name, and:
  1. hit “S” for Scale
  2. hit “O” for Opacity
  3. hit “P” for Position
  4. hit “R” for Rotation
  5. hit “A” for Anchor Point
  6. you can also hold down shift to bring two or more parameters on screen at a time (this works with filters too)
  • you can drag any filter into your timeline
  • select clip and hit “U” to bring up only key framed parameters
  • hit “U” twice and it will bring up all the parameters that have been changed from their default levels
  • hit ~ and you can bring up the viewer into a full screen
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for keyframing and transparency tips coming up next post!!
And remember, if you ever need professionals to do all this hard editing stuff for you, consider American Movie Company.

Adobe AfterEffects: Basic Animation Tips




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