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This chapter is from the book

Working with Multiple Keyframe Curves

You’d like all the layers to suddenly snap into final position. Rather than adding keyframes to each layer’s Position Z property, you can achieve this effect using just one keyframe on the group. Then, in the Timing pane, you can adjust the timing of keyframes on individual layers to create more of a cascading effect as the layers fall into place.

  1. Stop playback, and with the Graphics and Stills group still selected, press Shift-K to move the playhead to the ending keyframe for the rotation of the group.
  2. In the Keyframe Editor, frame the curve by dragging left on the right side of the zoom slider at the bottom of the window.

    Currently, only rotation is animated for this group. We will now animate the Scale parameter over the last ten frames of the project.

  3. In the Properties pane, add a keyframe for Scale at 5:00.
  4. Type −20 and press Return to move the playhead back 20 frames.
  5. Add a keyframe for Scale at the playhead position, and set the value to 70%. The scale now changes from 70% to 100% over the last ten frames, but it’s scaled at 70% for the entire project before the last ten frames.
  6. Go to the first frame, set a keyframe, and set the Scale value to 100%. Play the project. Now the layers scale down slowly from 100% to 70% and then quickly scale up to 100% at the end. But they do so too smoothly.
  7. In the Properties pane, from the Animation pop-up menu for Scale, choose Show in Keyframe Editor. Now just the curve for Scale appears.
  8. In the Keyframe Editor, drag a selection rectangle to select the middle Scale X, Y, and Z keyframes that are stacked on top of each other, and then Control-click and choose Interpolation > Bezier from the shortcut menu. Then drag out the right Bezier handle to make a steeper curve up into the final keyframe.

    Play the project. The layers now scale down and then pop back up and appear to snap onto the screen.

    Your final step is to stagger the keyframes on the layers so that they don’t all appear at once. When you want to change the timing of keyframes, using the Timeline rather than the Keyframe Editor is frequently easiest.

  9. Open the Graphics Over and Graphics Under groups, and drag the top of the Timeline up to make the window much taller. Drag down on the divider bar for the Keyframe Editor to make room for the Timeline layers.
  10. If it’s not already active, click the Show/Hide Keyframes button at the top right of the Timeline to display the keyframes under each layer bar.

    There are three reasons why it can be easier to change the timing of keyframes in the Timeline rather than the Keyframe Editor:

    • You can see the relationships of keyframes applied to multiple layers.
    • Each keyframe at a given frame is actually a “bundle,” representing all keyframes at that point in time for a group or layer, so it’s easy to select and move all of them.
    • You can’t accidentally drag a keyframe up or down, which would change its value.

    Here, you want to stagger the introduction of each layer in time by moving the first keyframe a different amount for each layer.

  11. Select the second-to-last layer in the Graphics Under group, brayer_03b.

    The keyframes appear under each layer. You don’t have to select a layer to select its keyframes, but doing so enables you to clearly see which keyframes are related to that layer.

  12. Drag the first keyframe to the right a small amount.

    The animation for this layer will now start a little later than the layer below it.

  13. In the brayer_03b copy layer, move the first keyframe to the right a little bit more than the first keyframe in the brayer_03b layer.
  14. Move the first keyframe for each of the layers in the Graphics Under group to a different point in time. When you reach the upper vellum layer, Shift-drag to snap it to the lower vellum layer. As you Shift-drag, thin vertical lines appear on the layer bar, representing all possible snapping points.
  15. Repeat the process for the layers in the Graphics Over group, staggering the keyframes. Then play the project and adjust the keyframe locations to your liking. The layers now drop into the scene at different times, but they all end in their final positions at 5:00.

    For a final touch, you can animate the strips of vellum to spread out just before they land.

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