In motion graphics, all the emphasis is on how pleasing the motion appears. Design and color theory elevate the piece as well, but without well-crafted motion, you’re going to look like an amateur. Keep reading to learn how to create smoother motion in videos.

After Effects has a great tool to automate that process called Easy Ease. By changing a normal keyframe to an eased keyframe, an object doesn’t simply travel from point A to point B at a constant rate. Instead, the object slowly eases out of it’s A position, approaches the next point and slowly eases into it’s final B position.

This is a lot closer to how we typically move in real life. We ease into a chair or our cars and also build momentum to step out of our car or get off the couch. The objects animating on screen move smoothly and in a much more pleasing way. However, chances are, if you’ve spent any amount of time in After Effects, you’ve been using this already. And although it is helpful, there is very little control over the motion and it doesn’t always achieve the effect you desire. 

Smoother Motion 2

But, if you select the keyframes and open up the Graph Editor, you’ll be able to view the actual curve of the motion. The curve represents its rate of motion over time. You can see it ramp up as the object eases out of point A, then ramp down as it slows to a stop.

Smoother Motion

To further smooth out your animations, click and drag one of the handles attached to a keyframe and try increasing or decreasing the slope.

You can extend the slope to create a much longer ease in or out. The motion looks even better than before because the object now has a longer slow down time. Conversely, you can have the object speed up to its final position, or even drag both handles to extend both the ease in and out time, leaving the object to speed up in the middle of its motion.

Tweaking these handles gives you an even greater range of options and adds an incredible amount of polish to your motion graphics work. Don’t be afraid of the graph editor. It’s easy to get lost in it, but learning these basics will serve you time and time again.

And once you’ve gotten comfortable with it, take the next step by looking into the programming code used to automate animations in After Effects called “Expressions”. You can mathematically create even smoother motion and professional looking work utilizing this programming language. Start here for an introduction into crafting great motion through Expressions.

There’s also a great free plug-in called Ease and Wizz, which automates many of these curve editing processes if you’re in a rush.

Have any tips to share? Leave a link in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *