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Chapter 13. Keyframe Interpolation

Chapter 13. Keyframe Interpolation

In Chapter 7, you learned to animate layer properties over time by setting keyframes. By defining only the most important, or “key,” frames, you assume the role of head animator. After Effects fills the role of assistant animator, providing all of the in-between frames, or “tweens,” using what's known as an interpolation method to determine their values.

Fortunately, you can instruct your assistant to use a range of interpolation methods. Some methods create steady changes from one keyframe to the next; others vary the rate of change. Movement can take a direct path or a curved route; an action can glide in for a soft landing or blast off in a burst of speed.

Without a choice of interpolation methods, your loyal assistant's abilities would be severely limited. If animated values always proceeded directly and mechanically from one keyframe to another, all but the most basic animations would seem lifeless and robotic. To create a curved movement would require so many keyframes you'd begin to wonder why you had an assistant at all. Calculating acceleration or deceleration in speed would present an even thornier problem.

This chapter explains how you can assign various interpolation methods to keyframes to impart nuance and variation to your animations. You'll not only learn to decipher how After Effects depicts the ineffable qualities of motion, speed, and acceleration, but also how it harnesses them. In the process, you'll begin to realize that there's a big difference between animating something and bringing it to life.


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