After Effects Tutorial: Keyframing & Movement

Step 1: Open after effects – You should see a screen like the one below

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Step 2: Select “New Composition” – Select “New Composition” highlighted in the screen above.  This should give you a screen shown below.

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Step 3: Adjust settings – You can change the composition settings to whatever your preferences entail.  I’ll briefly go over a few of the setting in the dialogue box below.  Begin by naming your composition (Your editing timeline)

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This option will provide you with several different presets (various screen resolutions and frame rates) The one work well for our purposes.
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The duration option does matter quite a bit depending on the length of your project. You can always change the sequence settings later if you need more time, but it can be inconvenient. Better to start too long than too short! for this tutorial 10 seconds is perfect.

Step 4: Hit OK – Once you’ve got your settings the way you want them, hit “OK” to create your composition.

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You have created your composition (Which should look similar to this)

Step 5: Drag in your media – For this tutorial I’m using a random picture I had on file, but you can use whatever you want to whether it be a photo or a video.

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I highlighted in this screen where your media should appear.

Step 6: Drag your media into your composition – Now is the time to drag your media down to the timeline, so you can begin editing! (As I’ve done in the photo below

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Step 7: Accessing your transform options – Clicking the triangle shown in the photo below will drop down your various transform options.

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Click on the triangle picture above to drop down the transform options menu
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This is what your transform menu looks like. Today we’re focusing on the position option.

Step 8: Turn on the position stopwatch – Begin by clicking the icon highlighted below.  By activating the stopwatch, you activate the ability to keyframe.  Without hitting that, nothing you change will become animated.

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When the stopwatch is activated it should look like this

Step 9: Set a keyframe – Clicking the icon pictured below will add a keyframe wherever the time indicator on the timeline is located.

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Hitting this icon will create a keyframe in the timeline
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The keyframe stores the position of the photo or video at that current time code.
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The icon highlighted is the keyframe in the timeline

Step 10: Move the time indicator – Move the time indicator ahead a few seconds, as shown below.

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Click the current time indicator at the highlighted position and drag ahead to a desired time.
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For this tutorial 2 seconds ahead is plenty.

Step 11: Create a new keyframe – Hit the add a keyframe icon again.  This will create a new keyframe at the new time code.

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In this case I’m adding a keyframe at the 2 second mark

Step 12: Change the position – While on the new keyframe, change the position settings.  The second keyframe will save a new position for the picture.  When we play it back, the different positions indicated by the keyframes will get filled in.

 

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I simply moved mine to the right a few hundred pixels

Step 13: Play it back – Hit the play button to see your picture or video move across the screen between the keyframes.

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Clicking the play button will play your animation in the timeline thus far

Just to give you an idea of how it works, this is how it should look as it plays back

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Step 14: Save your project and Export – Make sure to save your project in case you want to change something later.  If everything is good, go ahead and give it an export!  Show your video off! You now know the basics of keyframing and movement.  Keep playing with these concepts, and you’ll find you can do some really fancy things.

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