Essential Animation Principles in After Effects

When animating object's in After Effects, you need to understand the essential animation properties.

  • Anchor Point (A) – This is the point at which the object rotates or scales. You will often need to adjust the anchor point of the object and move it to a more “natural” rotation point (such as the waist, a joint, a hinge, etc.). The easiest way to adjust Anchor Point is with the Pan Behind tool.
  • Position (P) – This is where the object is located along the X, Y, or Z-axis.
  • Scale (S) – This is the size of the object on the screen. Remember, scaling an object larger than 100 percent will create pixelization in raster objects. If you want to simulate a zoom, press S for Scale to access the scaling controls. To scale all the layers in unison, add a new Null Object to the composition. All the layers can be parented to the Null Object (via the parent Column). Then scale the null to affect all the dependent layers.
  • Rotation (R) – An object can be rotated around its anchor point. It can also be rotated along its X, Y, or Z-axis.
  • Opacity (T) – The lower an object’s opacity the more you can see through it.
  • Animation Assistants – Use your animation assistants to add Ease on the rotation and anchor point keyframes. Click on the word Scale to highlight both scale keyframes. Then choose Keyframe Assistant > Exponential Scale. This powerful assistant will accurately simulate the ballistics of a camera zoom.