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Lesson 2. Ballet Special Bumper > A word on space and time

A word on space and time

The process After Effects uses to calculate the values between keyframes is called interpolation. You can control temporal interpolation, the change between keyframe values over time, for all layer properties. Some properties, such as the Opacity and Scale values that you just set, change only through time. For properties that involve movement, such as the Position property, you can also control the spatial interpolation, the change between keyframes through space.

Controlling change through interpolation

After Effects provides several interpolation methods that affect how change occurs through and between keyframes. For example, if you are setting up motion, you can choose to make a layer change direction abruptly or through a smooth curve. After Effects interpolates values for a change using the values at the keyframes on both ends of the change.

You can control temporal interpolation (the interpolation between keyframe values over time) for all layer properties. For layer properties that involve movement, such as Position, Anchor Point, and Effect Point, you can also control spatial interpolation (the interpolation between motion-path keyframes through space).

You can make a layer property vary over time. After Effects records the resulting values of temporal interpolation in the Value graph in the Time Layout window. If the layer property includes spatial interpolation, the resulting values of spatial interpolation are displayed as a motion path in either the Composition or the Layer window, depending on the property. You can add or delete keyframes in the Value graph or motion path using the pen tool.

—From the Adobe After Effects User Guide, Chapter 7


In the next section, you will make the ballet letters dance off the screen by changing both the temporal and spatial interpolations of the layers using roving keyframes.

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