Mastering Keyframes

Basic Animation Properties

Keyframes are the foundation for any animated element generated through editing and compositing programs. Getting a handle on them is essential to understanding transitions, chyrons, titles, color correction, effects, animation…you get the point.

So it’s only appropriate that we start our education with Camp Keyframe, who’ll walk us through the basics of animating an object within After Effects.

Source: Camp Keyframe

Pose to Pose Animation

Have you ever wondered where the notion of keyframing came from? AlanBeckerTutorials has you covered. Here he goes through the 4th principle of animation to explain how traditional 2D animation uses keyframes to create consistent motion frame by frame. It’s referred to as pose to pose, which means the same thing.

By the way, if you’re interested in learning about the rest of the principles of animation, click here for the whole video or here for our course on applying those principles to motion graphics.


Learning about Anchor Points

Let’s go back to camp and get familiar with Anchor Points. Also known as Origin Points, these are the reference points around which that layer will rotate and scale from. Pay special attention to them, because anchor points will be important when it comes to parenting layers, expressions, and basic troubleshooting when your animation doesn’t quite look the way you want it.

Source: Camp Keyframe

Animation basics: The art of timing and spacing

Mastering motion means mastering timing and spacing. What happens in-between keyframes is just as important as the keyframes themselves. Watch this animated TEDtalk and see the relationship between timing, spacing, and how we can infer the physical properties of abstract, 2D, non-existent things.

Source: TED-Ed

Creating smooth movements

Let’s apply the principles we learned in the previous video to After Effects. Back at camp, we’ll get into the concept of easing into and out of keyframes, and get introduced to the keyframe graph editor.

Source: Camp Keyframe

All about Keyframes & the Graph Editor

The graph editor is so much more than just an easing modifier. Check out Evan Abram’s walkthrough of how to further use the graph editor to experiment and make satisfying animations.

Source: ECAbrams

Intro to Animation Curves

And one more from the School of Motion, to really drive this home.


Value Graph Keyframes Animation Reference

Now that you’re well versed in the graph editor, here’s a great reference for comparing how a motion looks compared with it’s graph. It’s also a great watch if you’re having trouble sleeping or need to hypnotize someone.

Source: Motion Island

Speed Graph Keyframe Animation Reference

And one more for Speed.

Source: Motion Island