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Keyframing a Motion Path in Adobe After Effects CS4

Contents

  1. Keyframing Scale and Rotation Transformations
  2. Adding Motion Blur
  3. Previewing Your Work

Article Description

This excerpt, adapted from Adobe After Effects CS4 Classroom in a Book, shows you ways to animate a car so that it drives onscreen at the beginning of the composition, scales larger during the middle of the composition (as if it's approaching the camera), and then pops a wheelie and drives offscreen.

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You're ready to animate a car so that it drives onscreen at the beginning of the composition, scales larger during the middle of the composition—as if it's approaching the camera—and then pops a wheelie and drives offscreen. You'll start by keyframing the car's position to get it onscreen.

  1. Press the Home key to make sure the current-time indicator is at the beginning of the time ruler.
  2. Click the Video switch for the Leaves layer in the Timeline panel to hide the layer so that you can clearly see the Artist layer below it (see Figure 1).
  3. Select the Artist layer in the Timeline panel and expand all of its Transform properties.
  4. Position the Artist layer offscreen to the left (behind the leaves) by changing its Position values to –162.0, 207.0 (see Figure 2).
  5. Go to 2:20 and change the Position values for the Artist layer to 54.5, 207.0.
  6. After Effects adds a keyframe.
  7. Go to 6:00 and click the Add/Remove Keyframe button (in the Switches column) for the Artist layer to add a Position keyframe for the Artist layer at the same values (54.5, 207.0). See Figure 3.

When you animate the Position property, After Effects displays the movement as a motion path. You can create a motion path for the position of the layer or for the anchor point of a layer. A position motion path appears in the Composition panel; an anchor-point motion path appears in the Layer panel. The motion path appears as a sequence of dots in which each dot marks the position of the layer at each frame.

A box in the path marks the position of a keyframe. The density of dots between the boxes in a motion path indicates the layer's relative speed. Dots close together indicate a slower speed; dots farther apart indicate a faster speed.

Keyframing Scale and Rotation Transformations

The car is zooming onscreen; now, you'll make it appear as if the car is getting closer to the camera by scaling it larger. Then you'll make it pop a wheelie by keyframing the Rotation property.

  1. Go to 7:15 and set the Scale values for the Artist layer to 80.0, 80.0%. Then click the stopwatch to set a Scale keyframe (see Figure 4).
  2. Go to 10:10 and set the Position values for the Artist layer to 28.0, 303.0.
  3. After Effects adds a keyframe.
  4. Still at 10:10, change the Scale values to 120.0, 120.0%. After Effects adds a keyframe.
  5. Still at 10:10, click the stopwatch icon for the Rotation property to set a Rotation keyframe at the default value, 0.0˚.
  6. Go to 10:13 and change the Rotation value to 0 x –14.0˚.
  7. After Effects adds a keyframe, and now the car pops a wheelie (see Figure 5).

    Now you'll animate the car driving offscreen.

  8. Go to 10:24 and set the Position values for the Artist layer to 369.0, 258.0.

    After Effects adds a keyframe (see Figure 6).

2. Adding Motion Blur | Next Section