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Animating Movement in the Scenery

The scenery outside the window is unrealistically static. The sun needs to rise, the clouds should shift, and the birds should fly to bring this scene to life.

Animating the Sun

To make the sun rise in the sky, you'll set keyframes for its Position, Scale, and Opacity properties.

  1. In the Timeline panel, select the Sun layer and expand its Transform properties.
  2. Go to 4:07 and click the stopwatch icons to set keyframes for the Position, Scale, and Opacity properties at their default values (see Figure 11).
  3. Go to 3:13.
  4. Still working with the Sun layer, set its Scale to 33.0, 33.0% and its Opacity to 10% (see Figure 12). After Effects adds a keyframe for each property.
  5. Press the End key to go to the end of the composition.
  6. For the Position property of the Sun layer, set the y value to 18.0, and then set the Scale values to 150.0, 150.0% (see Figure 13). After Effects adds two keyframes.

    You've just set keyframes that instruct the sun to move up and across the sky, and to become slightly larger and brighter as it rises.

  7. Hide the Sun layer's properties.

Animating the Birds

Next, you'll animate the motion of the birds flying by.

  1. Select the Birds layer in the Timeline panel and press P to reveal its Position property.
  2. Go to 4:20 and set the Position values for the Birds layer to 200.0, 49.0 (see Figure 14). Then click the stopwatch to add a Position keyframe.
  3. Go to 4:25 and set the Position values of the Birds layer to 670.0, 49.0 (see Figure 15). After Effects adds a keyframe.
  4. Select the Birds layer and press P to hide its Position property.

Animating the Clouds

Next, you'll animate the shifting and drifting of the clouds in the sky.

  1. Select the Clouds layer in the Timeline panel and expand its Transform properties.
  2. Go to 5:22 and click the stopwatch icon for the Position property to set a Position keyframe at the current value (406.5, 58.5).
  3. Still at 5:22, set the Opacity for the Clouds layer to 33%, and click the stopwatch icon to set an Opacity keyframe (see Figure 16).
  4. Go to 5:02 and set the Clouds layer Opacity value to 0%. After Effects adds a keyframe.
  5. Go to 9:07 and set the Clouds layer Opacity value to 50%. After Effects adds a keyframe.
  6. Go to the last frame of the composition by pressing the End key.
  7. Set the Position of the Clouds layer to 456.0, 48.5 (see Figure 17). After Effects adds a keyframe.

Previewing the Animation

Now let's see how it all comes together.

  1. Press the Home key to go to 0:00.
  2. Press F2 to deselect everything, and then press the spacebar to preview the animation. The sun rises in the sky, the birds fly by (very quickly), and the clouds drift. However, there's a fundamental problem: These elements all overlap the window frame—the birds even appear to be flying inside the room. You'll solve this problem in the next section.
  3. Press the spacebar to stop playback.
  4. Hide the Clouds layer's properties, and then choose File > Save.
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