Guide to Keyframes in After Effects

March 23, 2009

Today, I will be going over the difference between keyframe styles. I concentrate on showing all the different styles of animation that can be done with only two keyframes.

Download the After Effects Project File to follow allong.

Topics Covered

  • Linear Keyframes
  • Easy Ease
  • Bezier Keyframes
  • Spacial Keyframing
  • Temporal Keyframing
  • Graph Editor
  • Custom Animation

Tutorial Focus:  ,

  • hey nick thanks for the tutorials i would really be interested to see one where you take us through your workflow for a project from conception to completion

  • Yer I agree with zach, I would love to see these lessons in practise e.g. making a simple project and showing us you’r work flow.

  • great nick that makes moving around the keyframes so much easier, i didn’t even know you could adjust the keyframes like that. also thanks for explaining the graph, that thing can be confusing.

  • very cool! keep up all this nice video podcast!!

  • Very nice tips Nick, realizing that two keyframes can do that much helps a lot.
    Thanks and please keep making them!
    (some basics on expressions would be awesome)

  • This is very use full, but to me I would like to see more advanced tuts.
    I am not playing the pro here because I am not, but it is just a thought.
    Many thanks keep up the inspirational work!

  • animator that use a shitload of keyframe to do a simple thing = me.


  • Thank you so very much. Looking forward to these advanced tutorials.

    I love the new layout.

  • while I do agree with Karpathia about advanced tutorials, this was still VERY useful and clearly shows I got alot to learn even at the basics.

    Thanks alot, Nick, animations look a whole lot organic now. 🙂

  • Great stuff. I have really enjoyed the tutorials. I’m new to after effects and am defiantly getting a good start with your help. Thanks.

  • VERY nice pointers! Using less keyframes means less headaches.
    Now, what is the best way to animate something that follows a path of a circle or square.
    Keep up the informative and great work.

  • thats big man
    am in advanced level ..and am enjoying ur videos

  • This tutorial is great. I would have loved a nice Easy-E(ase) joke to be thrown in for good measure.

  • God tutorial but please stop moving the cursor around, it´s very annoying.

  • Yello!
    That finally got me understanding the graph better.

    At 10:55 would be a good opportunity to show “roving keyframes” since they adjust the .. position in the time line according to their spatial location – motion remains smooth.
    Also new for CS4 is the Separate Dimensions / XYZ in the graph editor. I find it really useful when moving around in 3d space!

  • really nice, i apreciate it.
    thank you very much

  • Hey Nick.

    Thanks so much for the effort to make these tuts.

    It’s definetely opened the way I see AE.

    Cheers from Brazil

  • Great tutorial! Very well designed.

    Coming from a 3D animation background the spacial vs temporal thing was a bit confusing. I thing I get it now.

  • Great tips, nice tut. Just wish that AFX would finally ad real animation keyframing that takes into account the idea of breakdowns and extremes as an option. I get that you can make a motion path an two key do some really crazy things but When it comes to stuff like character animation and anything that has to specific pose or attitudes, what a pain. Crossing my finger for some serious graph editor reworks soon.

  • Thank you for this great keyframe tutorial. Now i’m an AE rookie jamming the timeline no more!

  • Nick, thank you very much for this tut, it clarified a lot of things to me. This is my first comment at your site and I´m just amazed of how you get the things going around here. Just fantastic! Keep up the good work!
    Cheers from Brazil!

  • You rock, man! Thanks for doing this stuff. 🙂

  • Finally somebody explain to me how it works!
    Thanks man

  • Man! This is truly amazing! You saved my time and work probably!

    I’m so thankful for this tutorial. Videocopilot says nothing on this topic in his Begginer’s Guide.

    Once more, thank You very much and keep it going!


  • Nick…. thanks I have been abusing keyframes and will now be more aware of my addiction! Thanks for clearing up all the differences!

  • Finally, a real Guru that will explain every detail on keyframes in After Effects! I really should have watched your video earlier! Thanks a bunch dude! U R AWESOME.

  • Hey Nick,

    I was wondering about the circle-shaped keyframe, do you know what it does exactly?
    (when you cmd+click a keyframe).


  • Hi Nick,
    I am a beginner in AE and I was wondering about these types of key framing.. You got it right! Thanks for this wonderful video. If the basics are strong we can do wonders later.. You explained it clear and easy! Expecting more of easy and clear videos about basics of AE.


  • thanks for this grate tutorials i thing this is very useful for every junior artist

  • nice shirt , cool tutorial.

  • Great tutorial. Thanks

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