Animating Using Keyframes in Adobe Premiere

Adobe Premiere is a wonderful video editing program where the only limit is your imagination. With some creative thinking, you can add very dynamic animations to your project. This is all possible because of key frames.

What Are Keyframes?

A typical NTSC video is comprised of 30 frames per second. That means each second of video is made up of thirty still images. Let's say you want to add a title that moves over a clip of video. The animated title will start in the center then move up, down, left, right and finally back to it's original position. This animation is going to need six keyframes.

The keyframe is the frame where each action temporally stops. We first set a keyframe in the center. Then, we move the timeline one second and add another keyframe. While stopped at this keyframe, we move the title to it's up position. We repeat this process with the rest of the title's positions. Before we can play the sequence back, we need to render the sequence for smooth play back.

As you play the clip back, you will see that Adobe Premiere has automatically animated the title's motions between the keyframes. So, each keyframe represents a change in the animation. Keyframes are not a new concept. They come from the animation world. In the old days, the senior animators would only draw the frames where a characters actions stopped and the junior animators would fill in the between action.

For example, if the senior was drawing a kid sitting at his desk raising his hand, he would draw two frames: one of the kid sitting and one with his hand in the air. His team would then fill in the rest. This is how Premiere works as well.

Controlling the Actions

You might notice that the actions that Premiere adds between your keyframes might not seem very smooth when played back. It might appear as if the title is jerking around. This is because it's going instantly from a state of motion to a state of rest. Fortunately, the nice people at Adobe have recognized this could be a problem, and they have provided the tools to get around it. 

All you need to do is right click the keyframe and choose 'Easy Ease In' or 'Easy Ease Out' to correct this. Choosing these options allows your animation to build up speed when it starts up, and then gradually come to a stop. This allows the animations you create to appear more natural.

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