Get Organized:
Click the Layer Name to see the Source Name
Select name and hit RETURN then change the name then hit RETURN again

source layer

Useful Keys in the TimeLine:
- anchor Point (effects rotation and scale)
p - position
r - rotation
s - scale
t - opacity

Home - go to beginning of timeline
End - go to end of timeline

Useful Buttons in the TimeLine:

Zooming in and out (Bottom of Timeline):
Little mountain = zoom out
Big mountain = zoom in
Slider = zoom adjustment

Navigating in the timeline:

Can jump to a new location by typing in a new number (blue numbers on left)

Changing values in the Timeline:


Open the transform of a layer
Can click the number next to Position, Scale, Rotate, etc and change the number
Can hold the mouse down over the same values and drag to the left or right to change the value

change value

Can double click a keyframe to change the value
Select the keyframe or object and use the Arrows on the keyboard

Animation tips:
Clicking the Stop Watch turns keyframing on - then any change you make after that will automatically become a keyframe.

DO NOT click the stop watch a second time because it will remove all your keyframes

stop watch

If you enter a value and the stop watch is not clicked, the value will remain in effect for the entire duration of the layer.

Setting Keys (after turning on the Stop Watch):

1. Move the time slider to the point in time you want the change to occur
2. Select the layer
3. Change the value (click the value, click drag the value, or move the object in the Comp window)

You can:
Set a keyframe for important information (scale, rotate, position, etc) at its final resting state (instead of working forward) then work backwards.

Time Slider:
When dragging the Time Slider, hold down the Shift to constrain it to jump to keyframes.


1. Create a new 100 x 100 pixel solid: Layer menu - New - Solid
2. Animate its position to create a 5 second animation

Keyframe Navigator:
keyframe navigator

After turning on the stopwatch you will see a box on the left. After setting keyframes, this area may contain one or two arrows. The arrows allow you to jump to keyframes. The box tells you there is a keyframe there (checked = keyframe). Unchecking the box removes the keyframe.

Keeping the same value over time:
If you want to place a key frame but you do not want to change the value, copy and paste the keyframe to a new position or go to a new position on the timeline (after the last key) and click the checkbox in the Keyframe Navigator.

Selecting Keyframes:
• Click the keyframe
• Click the first then shift click to get the next ones
• Drag a box around the keyframes
• Can click once on the Name of the value (ex: Position) and then all keyframes are selected.

Copy and paste keyframes:
Select the keys by dragging a box around them
Edit - Copy
Select the layer you want to paste them to
Make sure the time slider is where you want it
Edit - Paste

Deleting Keyframes:
• Select the keyframe(s) and hit Delete on the keyboard
• Use the keyframe navigator arrows and get to the key and then deselect the box.
• Deselecting the stopwatch erases all keyframes (you must UNDO to get them back) turning on the stopwatch again does not get the keyframes back.

Moving Keyframes:
Select them and drag them to a new position

The Motion Path:
motion path

When you select a layer that has keyframes you will see a motion path.

The dots are the frames (the closer they are, the slower the animation).

In the Composition window, you can select any keyframe box and move it to manipulate the path.

You can manipulate the bezier curve by dragging the handles.

Pen Tool on Motion Path:
pen motion path

Pen Click a keyframe box and convert it from curve to corner or corner to curve point OR
click inbetween keyframes to add a new keyframe

Pen + You can add a new keyframe inbetween keys

Pen - You can delete a keyframe

Arrow Will convert from corner to curve, etc.


1. Animate a solid's position - creating a complex move.
2. Have the solid come to a rest for a fraction of a second then repeat the same motion over again

To adjust the object in the Comp window:
Comp boxes

• The filled boxes in the corners will resize proportionally
• The boxes in the middle left or right, or middle top or bottom will scale non-proportionally
• The center circle is the Anchor point

To move an anchor point (circle with X through it):
pan behind

• Use Pan Behind tool
• Can move it using the drag over the numbers method (notice it effects the position)
• Doubleclick the layer to open the Layer window then move it around

Animating the Scale:

Hit the S key


1. Animate a solid's scale.
2. About half way through your animation also animate the position

Flipping a graphic using the Scale:

Select the layer
Set the pivot point to one side of the object
Hit the S
Set the keyframe on the start value
Unlock the Proportional Lock
Go to end frame and enter a negative number on the Scale on the X or Y


1. Try flipping an image over time along the X
2. Do another animation where you flip along the Y


Select the layer and hit R
Click the Underlined numeric value to open the dialog box
You can enter the # of revolutions and the degrees of the rotation

To get a layer to rotate in relationship to a path:
auto orient
Make an animation using Position (this creates the motion path)

Select the layer and Layer Menu - Transform - Auto-Orient Rotation

auto orient

auto orient

Reversing the animation of a layer:
Select the keyframes
Animation - Keyframe Assistant - Time Reverse

time reverse


1. Reverse the order of the animation you previously did

To do a Preview:
Make sure you slide the work area slider to the section you want to Preview

Turn on/off all layers you want to see /not see

ram preview

Click the RAM Preview Button (or hit 0 on the key ad or Control 0 -zero on the main keyboard)

It runs through once putting it in memory and then plays fine

You may have to reduce the Resolution or change the Magnification to get more to play

To do a regular preview hit the Space Key

Purging the Memory:

purge memory

After Effects sometimes needs its memory purged so you can RAM Preview more time.

To change total time of animation:
Composition - Composition Settings