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How to Add Keyframes in After Effects


When it comes to video post-production After Effects is one of the best tools out there, it can help you with everything from simple video editing to complex animations. If you want to learn more about it, how to add keyframes in After Effects is a must-know.

Out of the box, it is a really powerful program, but people didn’t stop there — they came up with powerful third-party plugins that boost its performance even higher. You can find a plugin for almost any operation you need, some are free but others are pricey, so keep that in mind.

Keyframes in After Effects

In After Effects, every animation is done with the help of keyframes. There are other ways to make an automatic specific task. For example, you can use expressions to make specific automatic animations. 

Sometimes, depending on what you want to create, even these have to be controlled by linking a Layer Control to the numeric values of the expression. This way you tell the software when to start and when to stop that specific automatic animation.

How to add keyframes

Adding a keyframe is one of the simplest operations in After Effects. Every parameter, such as anchor point, position, scale, rotation, opacity, and many more, can be animated with keyframes.

Simply select a moment in your timeline where you want your animation to start, click on the stopwatch on the left side of every parameter. This will create your first keyframe.

In order to make a complete animation, you have to add at least one more keyframe further in time on your timeline.

Simply choose the moment you want the animation to end, by moving the cursor, change the numeric value to whatever you desire, and the keyframe will be added automatically.

To add keyframes you can also press the diamond-shaped keyframe button, on the left of the stopwatch. This will insert a keyframe at the current time of your cursor on the timeline.

Keep in mind that you will have to add a different numeric value to that keyframe in order for the animation to change or to take place.

Keyframes for plugins

When you will be using plugins, you will notice that In the Effect Controls tab will appear different parameters, and for each parameter a stopwatch.

You will be able to add keyframes directly from the Effect Controls tab as explained above. 

Keyframes in After Effects

You will also be able to add keyframes from your timeline, but you will have to access the Effects list for the layer you want to change values.

Easy Ease, Easy Ease In, and Easy Ease Out

By default, keyframes are set to linear mode, but you can easily change that by right-clicking on a keyframe or a selection of keyframes, go to “Keyframe Assistant” and select one of the 3 modes: Easy Ease, Easy Ease In, and Easy Ease Out.

Keyframes in After Effects

This will set the keyframes in a bezier mode and will modify the way the animation will look. For example, Easy Ease will slow down the animation towards both the ending and the starting of it, Easy Ease In will slow it down only at the ending and Easy Ease Out will slow it only at the beginning. 

I hope this information will help you more on your road to greatness and will help you understand more about how keyframes work!

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Mihai Sessa

Mihai Sessa

After spending 9 years in the post-production studio, Mihai decided to share his insights on video editing and computers.

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