Keyframes allow us to set a shift from one action to another over a period of time.
Long story short, if you don’t have any of the little symbols on your timeline, your animation isn’t doing much. If it is, delete the file. ‘Tis haunted.
(Unless it looks cool; then just sell it somewhere.)
How to spot Keyframes in the wild:
Keyframes are created automatically the second you click on the stopwatch. Everything you do afterwards gets recorded as a new motion.
DO NOT CLICK ON THE STOPWATCH AFTER YOU FINISH YOUR ANIMATION.
Seriously. It’s like a self-destruct button. It will erase everything you’ve done.
So just press it once in the beginning unless you want to delete everything on purpose.
There are 5 common keyframes:
A- Linear (Diamond): Main shape. Select either the stopwatch or the tiny diamond shape to get it set.
Sharp movements; movement starts and ends at the same speed.
B- Linear in (arrow pointing the right)
C- Auto-Bezier (Round): command/Ctrl+click to convert a normal keyframe into it.
smooth rate of change.
D- Linear out (arrow pointing the left)
E- Continuous Bezier (hourglass)
Eases both sides of the keyframe
Easy ease is the hourglass, whereas easy in and easy out are the linear in and linear out.
Linear interpolation: Robotic effect.
Bezier interpolation: You can manually move the beziers around to get the motion/speed wanted.
Auto-Bezier: You sit back and let after effects take the wheel.
J: previous frame
K: next frame.
You can also hold shift when you move the current time indicator, and this will snap your cursor to a keyframe.
If you want to place the keyframes manually for some unknown reason, (maybe the J and K on your keyboard are jammed from that time you allowed your dog to have pizza) you can click on the little diamond shape to create a keyframe and press on the arrows around it to move from one keyframe onto the other.
Other functions for the keyframes:
Right click – rove across time, automatically spreads the keyframes along the timeline enough for a smoother animation.
Right click – toggle keyframes allows you to make abrupt/sudden animations without a motion in between.
If you want to grab keyframes and spread them evenly manually, select the desired keyframes, click on alt and drag them according to your liking.
Vickie Boschiero Junior Animation Art Director