w/ After Effects
         written by Reef | 07.31.05

In After Effects, we all want to achieve smooth animations. No body likes to see choppy motion. In this tutorial, you'll learn a few methods on how to control the speed with a few clicks. Here is an example:

[ butter is better - click to play ]

Setting Up
Open After Effects with a canvas large enough to experiment on and import your graphics (ctrl+i). Set an FPS (frames per second) rate of about 24 to 40 and a duration of 0:00:01:00 respectively. Start your movie out at 0:00:00:00.

Keyframing Animation:
Once we drag an object on the stage, we can go ahead and create some basic motion.

  1. Select the layer of the object and press the "P" key to reveal the position properties. Hit the stopwatch and set a keyframe. Press the small triangle besides "position" to reveal the speed properties as well.

  2. Move the current time marker to a further time. Select the object on your stage and shift it's position down to a good amount, I moved my text down about 100 pixels. There should automatically be a second keyframe now as well as a speed curve.

The Heart of Butter
We see a curve on the timeline window, this is where all the magic happens. The curve determines the speed of the animation to the time of the movie. Currently, our motion is constant.

Now, we want our animation to start out fast and then progressively slow down to a speed of 0. In order to do this, drag the 2nd small point down all the way and left a bit and release.

If you're good with the pen tool and know how to easily manipulate points and curves, this should be a snap for you. You can keep practicing by dragging both points in every direction to see what the result ends up as. This is a very powerful method, giving you full control.

Try some other custom curves:

[ downhill - quickly ease in ]

[ mountain - speed up, slow down]

[ bridge - slowly rise and drop back down ]

Automatic Ease Options
There are 3 automatic ease options in After Effects, we can access them by right-clicking on a frame, selecting 'keyframe assistant' and then one of the 3 ease options from there.

  • Easy Ease - can be applied to a frame to either a) slow down when approaching a keyframe frame or b) speed up when it leaves a keyframe.

  • Easy Ease In - can be applied to selected frame in order to ease speed and slow it down when the frame is approached.

  • Easy Ease Out - can be applied to selected frame in order to ease speed coming out of the frame, thus starting it slowly and stopping with a faster speed.

One Tip For Smooth Animation
If you'd really like to produce a realistic effect of liquid motion, you can also use the motion blur technique. This will blur any movement between 2 keyframes. In order to do so, check the "M" for a layer.

Then, click the "Master Motion Blur" button on top of the timeline window to activate motion blur for all layers.


Last Words:
As usual, the source files for the After Effects document used in the example at the top of this tutorial has been provided. Make sure you practice as much as you can, it's the only way to make magic.

Download Adobe After Effects 6.0 File

You can always post your comments, complaints, fast-food orders or any questions on the KirupaForum. We can't guarantee the best food, but we can guarantee the best coffee and yes, we are open late at night.

This is my trashcan! { Reef }
The trashcan on the left is not mine




kirupa.com's fast and reliable hosting provided by Media Temple.