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Tutorial: How to Create Morphing Letters in After Effects

Joey Korenman

Here's how to create morphing letters.

Don't be afraid of a little hard work because it's usually worth the pay off in the end. When it comes to morphing one shape into another in After Effects you're going to need to put your head down and do some key-framing. It's a little tedious with a bit of back and forth, but the pay off when you get this effect to look right is totally worth it. This lesson is PACKED with animation tips, so grab your notepad and pay attention!



Tutorial Full Transcript Below 👇:

Music (00:06):

[intro music]

Joey Korenman (00:17):

Hello again, Joey here at school of motion, welcome to day nine of 30 days of after effects. What we're going to talk about today, it's kind of not the sexiest thing, but it's reality. What I'm going to show you, how to do is to morph the letter a into the letter B into the letter C and it may sound simple, but in order to really control it and to make it feel good and animate exactly the way you want, it actually takes a lot of manual labor. And that's something I find a lot of new motion designers kind of shy away from everyone's looking for the plugin. Everyone's looking for the trick. Sometimes there's no trick. You just have to do it. And in order to do that, you have to understand animation principles and you have to really understand after effects. So we're going to dive in and I'm going to show you some strategies, some ways to think about it and slowly but surely, we're going to beat this animation into submission until it feels good.

Joey Korenman (01:05):

Now, if you really want to take your animation skills to the next level, please be sure check out our animation bootcamp course, which will pound these lessons into your skull over the course of several weeks in a fun way though. Now let's hop into after effects and get started. So there's a little bit of a trick to this. Um, but learning that part is actually the easy part. Um, what's a little bit more difficult and what really sells this type of morph is understanding some animation principles and, and using those to, to just make the motion feel a little bit better. Okay. Um, so first, why don't I show you sort of the, the basic idea of how to do one of these letter morphs? So let's make a new comp, uh, and we'll just do 1920 by 10 80. And the first thing you're gonna want to do is just, you know, type out a letter.

Joey Korenman (01:58):

Um, and it, this doesn't have to be a letter, a, this could be any shape that, you know, you created an illustrator or after effects doesn't really matter. Um, as long as it's a vector shape. Okay. So you've got an a and a, we'll want to turn that into a B, so let's also type out a B, and then we'll want to turn that into a C. Okay. So those will be our three letters that we want to morph between. Um, and first thing you need to do is, you know, right now this is just a, this is just like a type layer. Um, and what we want to do is turn that into a vector shape because then we can use after effects is built in a twinning. So we can sort of morph between shapes. So let's select all of these, go to layer and just hit, uh, up.

Joey Korenman (02:49):

I gotta do it one at a time, nevermind layer here. It is create shapes from texts. You gotta do it one layer at a time, apparently. So that's a, alright, and let's turn these off from it and look at this, all this is, is a shape layer. And if you look in here, um, if I open up the contents of that shape layer, you can see that there are two paths. And if I select them, you can see this path is this little inner hole here. And then this path is the outer, like, you know, the main shape of the, a below that there is a merge paths, uh, kind of, um, modifier right from this ad menu. Um, and that is merging those two paths together. So it's knocking out the hole in the ape. So that's the a all right, let's do the same thing with the B and the C.

Joey Korenman (03:36):

So I'm going to say, create shapes from text there's the B, and you can see that the B has three holes in or three paths, the main path, and then it's got two holes. Okay. And then we'll do the same thing with the C C create shapes from texts. There you go. Cool. All right. So now the reason we did that is because, um, we're going to want to copy the path from each letter and in some cases, multiple paths and, uh, and copy that key frame and put it onto a new shape layer. And that way we're going to be able to morph between the letters. All right. So let's start by doing a, to B. So what I'm going to do is make a new empty shape layer, and I'll just call this a dash B dash C. Okay. So right now this shape layer has nothing in it.

Joey Korenman (04:26):

Um, if I come in, there's actually, there's nothing in the contents. There's no paths or anything. So the first thing we need to do is add a path. All right. And then I'm going to open up this a outlines. Okay. And remember, that's, that's just, you know, there's two paths for this eight outlines. Okay. Um, so this path, uh, this first one here is the inner hole, and this one is the main shape. So I'm going to start with that one, the way you copy a path from one shape to another is you set a key frame, copy that key frame, and then come up here and just paste that key frame. Okay. Um, and you can see that it's much smaller, uh, than this, because I've probably scaled this up. This is scaled to 2 0 9 0.3. So let me scale this to 2 0 9 0.3, just so it matches.

Joey Korenman (05:19):

All right. Make it easier to line things up. All right. Cool. So if we, uh, if we turn off our kind of reference shapes here, um, we're still not seeing anything because in addition to having a path in your shape layer, you also need to have a fill or a stroke. Otherwise you won't see anything. So let's add a fill there's our fill. All right. And the default, uh, colors, reds make it white. Cool. Okay. So all we have right now is one path in our shape layer, and obviously to make an a, we need two paths. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to duplicate path one. So now we have two paths that are inside the shape layer, and I'm going to copy. So let me, by the way, the way that I'm sort of revealing these properties here is I'm double tapping you.

Joey Korenman (06:09):

Um, a lot of you may know if you hit you, it's going to reveal any key framed properties. If you double tap you, it shows you any properties that have been changed from their defaults or anything you've added. Um, so that's why I can now just quickly see the paths. So I know that I've already copied over the main path, and now I need to copy over the second path. So I'm gonna hit it, hit the, a stopwatch to set a key frame. I'm going to copy that key frame, just command C. And I'm going to come up here to my shape layer and on the second path, I'm going to pace that, okay, so now I've got two paths. All right. Um, and that's, that's really all there is to it. Now I've created my eight again. And, um, I don't have a merge paths in here, but it seems to still be working, but I like to put a merge paths in there just in case it just sort of, um, in make sure that, you know, as I make letters that may have more than one hole in it, it's going to make sure everything works.

Joey Korenman (07:04):

Right. So the default mode of merge pads is at, and all that does is it adds, um, it adds the two shapes together. If you change that to merge, uh, what it will do is any path that's inside, another path will be a hole. And if it goes outside that path, it becomes another shape. Um, so that's pretty useful. And that's actually the default way when you, uh, when you create a shape, outline from a type layer, that's actually what it's going to give you. If I open up the contents of this, looking here, you'll see that the merge pads, that it creates a set to merge mode. All right. So I'm gonna leave it like that. Cool. So now we've got the, a now how are we going to transition from a to B? Okay. So one problem we're going to have to figure out is, you know, just how are we going to get the shapes to, to morph.

Joey Korenman (07:56):

Um, but another thing is B has two holes in it. So there's actually three pads that make up the B there's only two in a, so we need to figure out what we're going to do to deal with that. So first, why don't we, um, why don't we open up the B so we can see the three paths that make up that letter. Um, and I'll put key frames on all three, just so I can grab those and copy and paste. So let's come up here. Let's, let's hide the beat and let's reveal our layer. All right. And you've got path one and path two, and I know I'm also going to need a path three, so I'm going to duplicate path two. Okay. Cause the B has three pads. I'm going to need three paths. Okay. So let's go forward one second and let's grab one by one.

Joey Korenman (08:41):

The first part of the B, which is the main outline, the copy that, and all I'm going to do is paste it on path one. Okay. And you can see that it morphs from the aid of the B now does a terrible job of it. Okay. But we'll fix that in a minute. That's essentially what we're doing. Okay. And hopefully you all just went to high, get it. We're just copying the, the path of one letter and having it more automatically into another letter and I'll show you how to control it better in a second. So then we're going to copy the second hole, this hole right here. Okay. Paste it there. And then we're going to copy the third path, this hole here and paste it on path three. Okay. So now here's the B and here's the a, okay. Now I've got a couple of problems.

Joey Korenman (09:30):

Um, one the morphous kind of happening in this weird way. Um, and also our hole on the AA is gone. And that's because we've basically got this, uh, this third path here on the a, which we don't actually need is sort of filling the hole back in. Um, and so let's start by just turning off path two and three. I'm gonna turn off the visibility of those. Okay. So let's just deal with the first part of this morph, the basic shape. So what's happening is after effects, looks at each mask or each shape, and it interpolate between the shape and this shape. And what I want you to notice is one of these points on this shape looks a little different. It's this one here. I don't know how well you guys can see that, but, um, there's a little circle around this shape. Okay.

Joey Korenman (10:19):

Um, and let me see if I can make this an easier color to see that's a little bit better. You can see there's a little circle around this. What that means is that that is the first point of that sh of that, um, that path. So if you were counting these points, it would be 1, 2, 3, 4. Now, if we go to the B, well, now the first point is over here. And if you watch that first point corresponds between each shape, so this point is going to move way over here. And that doesn't make a lot of sense. What would make more sense? Because the first point of the is in the bottom left corner, it'd be great if the first point of VA was also in the bottom left corner. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to select path one. I'm going to select that point and then I'm going to control, click it.

Joey Korenman (11:04):

And I'm going to go up to, um, mask and shape path and say set first Vertex. And you can see now that this, this point has changed, and this is now the first Vertex. So when it morphs, it's going to morph a lot more naturally, okay. Get a much better result. We're still getting some criss-cross here. Um, but I'll show you how to deal with that in a minute. Okay. So then the next thing is, how do we deal with these paths? So path two, if we look at that, the first Vertex is the bottom left corner, and then on this shape, it's the bottom left corner. So that first Vertex, we don't really need to change and that's actually working fairly well. Now this third one is a problem because on the B it's right. That's where that, that whole supposed to be, but there is no hole on the aid or there shouldn't be two holes on the EA.

Joey Korenman (11:53):

So what do we want to do with the shape when it's time to look at the a M and what I did was I just selected that key frame. Um, so it selects basically all the points in that mask. And then I just double clicked it, and I just scale it way down like this. Okay. Um, and actually maybe a better thing to do would be to copy, copy the shapes, uh, copy of the shape of it when it's sort of already in the right shape for a B. So let me copy this key frame, come over here and paste it. And then I can just double-clicked so I can transform this whole shape and I'm gonna move it here. And I'm going to just try to scale it down. So it's so small, you don't actually see it. All right. Really small. There we go.

Joey Korenman (12:42):

Okay. So I, all I've done is I've scaled that path down so small that you don't actually notice it. And then it will kind of grow right as the B kind of forms. Okay. I'm going to select all these key frames. I'm gonna easy ease them, and we'll just do a Ram preview. Right. And you can see that already. It's not bad, right. It's a decent more from an 80 to a B. Um, and if you just wanted it to be really kind of, you know, linear, um, and, and feel very synthetic and not have a bunch of, you know, not too playful, then this is kind of how you do it. Um, I wanted to try and sell it a little bit more and make it feel a little bit cooler and funkier and more, more organic. Right. There's that word that, um, your clients probably like to use organic?

Joey Korenman (13:28):

So what I did was actually just tried to apply some animation principles to it. So, um, the first thing I did was I sort of, you know, I sort of looked at what is the general direction that everything's moving for this transition. And to me, it feels like this piece of the, a kind of swings up here, right. And then this part kind of pushes left to, right. So I felt like in general, there's kind of a counter-clockwise movement happening. So I wanted to reinforce that. So I, um, I, I'm gonna move the anchor point of this layer to this corner here, to the bottom left corner. And that way I can just rotate the whole shape like this. And what I want to do is have a little bit of an anticipation move. So let me stop the more from happening for a second.

Joey Korenman (14:18):

And I'm going to first have the, a leaned the opposite direction that it's going to move while it's morphing. So I'm going to go forward maybe, maybe four frames, and I'm just going to have it lean a little bit. Okay. And it's going to hang there just for a split second, and then it's going to swing back over maybe 12 frames. It's going to swing way back this way. Okay. And when it's swinging way back this way, that's when I want this morph to be happening. So I want it to feel like it leans. And then it, the momentum of this piece of the, a pulling up is kind of throwing it backwards. Right. And then I want it to rotate back, but overshoot just a little bit, and then land at zero. Okay. So let me make all of my rotation, key frames, easy ease, go into the graph editor.

Joey Korenman (15:08):

And let's take a look at this to make sure when the value graph okay. Um, and you know, um, what I want is for this to gently lower, and I want it to hang there. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna pull this busier handle out so that it takes a longer time for, to lean back. And then it's going to whip back and hang there for a minute. And then it's gonna come back down and ease into the final position. Okay. And again, if you're, you know, if you're not comfortable reading, um, animation curves yet go back and watch intro to animation curves. All right. So now if you look at that, it it's working a lot better. Cause it feels like that it's pulling, it's kind of whipping that layer up. Right. And it's not, it doesn't quite work perfectly yet. Um, and so, you know, now what I want to do is actually tweak the shape, um, you know, that that's being created.

Joey Korenman (16:06):

So, you know, I'm anticipating the move by rotating the, a forward. Okay. Um, but then I could also anticipate using the shape of the a, so what I can do is I'm going to come here and I'm going to, I'm going to copy this key frame on the main shape and paste it so that what can happen. So then what I can do is I can go forward. Okay. And now on this key frame, I'm going to actually come in here and I'm going to change the shape of this a little bit. Now it's leaning forward. So what I want it to do is actually kind of overextend a little bit, right? Like it's kind of getting ready and it's just a subtle thing. Right. But it's just going to extend down a little bit and then it's going to whip up like that. Now when it whips up like this, okay.

Joey Korenman (16:54):

About the time it gets to the middle, I would kind of like this piece to, to almost act like a rope and be kind of curling up a little bit. So I'm going to actually pull this Bezier handle and pull this up a little bit. I'm just going to help it kind of swing. And I'm just gonna, I'm gonna just, you know, using the normal kind of mask tools, I'm going to create this swing. Now this key frame here, it's automatically set to easys and I don't want that because then it's gonna make this shape kind of stop when it gets here. So I'm going to control, click it and say Rove across time. Um, and because it's a mass key frame, I can't do that. So I'm actually gonna hit command and click it, uh, twice. And it's gonna turn into an auto Bezier curve.

Joey Korenman (17:36):

Okay. So if you have it as an easy ease, um, if you hit F nine on this, it's going to have a little stick in the middle of that move. Um, and I can show you what that looks like real quick. If I, uh, turn off rope across time, an easy ease that, I mean, it's not too bad, but you can see how it kind of sticks there. And that's not what I want. So if I turn on auto Bezier, then it it's a little bit smoother. And then what's cool is I can actually pull this back a little bit and play with the timing. So that feels like it's actually got a little more momentum to it, right? So leans in and sucks up. And you can do this for as many little, you know, intermediate pieces as you want. What you may want is as this pulls away, right, as the, a kind of rotates backwards, this leg immediately follows and you, and it would probably be delayed by a couple of frames.

Joey Korenman (18:29):

So let's actually go forward a few frames, any three frames. Um, and actually, let me come back to this frame here, and I'm going to, I'm going to hit command R to bring up my rulers. I'm going to put a guide here, right? Where that bottom of the AA is. So I can remember where it is. Um, and I'm gonna change my background color here to black, just so I can see this a little bit better. There we go. All right. So I'm giving myself a reference. So now go forward three frames and I can keep that a on that line for two more frames. And I'm just gonna command double click this. So it's an auto Bezier key frame. Now turn off my guides. Right. So now it kind of feels like it's sticking to the ground a little bit, right. And this actually might work better as an easy ease, key frame. Right. Because now what that means is at it'll sort of accelerate as it whips this shape up, and now I kind of want it to be a little longer, cause it feels like there's a little bit more momentum to it.

Joey Korenman (19:30):

Right. So it's kind of, there we go. Yeah. It's whipping it up and it may even want to, it may even want to come out a little bit more, um, and kind of curl, right. So maybe, maybe it wants to come up like this and kind of curl like that. And if you're not happy with any of the shapes, just, you know, just change them. Let's see. Let's see what that looks like. Yeah. There we go. All right. See how it kind of whips that shape up and then sucks it into the B and it sucks it into the B, but I would kind of like kind of like it to be sucked in a little faster. Okay. So what I'm going to do is just, you know, kind of go, go to where I want that to already be pretty much like it's going to end up.

Joey Korenman (20:19):

Um, and then I'm just going to manually pop in here and I'm going to just try to shape this a little bit closer. Not all the way finished, but a little bit closer to its final shape. Right. So it's kind of almost like it's springy, you know, and then I'm going to, I'm going to command double-click this. So it's auto Bezier. Yeah. That's feeling pretty good. Right. I like the other thing is as this be, as this bottom part of the B kind of pops out, I kind of want it to overshoot a little bit. Um, so it kind of Springs back. So I'm going to go a couple of frames before it ends, and I'm going to grab these two, uh, mass points and I'm just going to nudge them out a little bit like that and just adjust this a tiny bit. Um, and I'll leave that as a, as an easy ease, key frame, because I think it may, for timing that may actually work pretty well and that's not bad.

Joey Korenman (21:17):

See how it just shoots out a little bit. Um, and it's a little bit, a little bit fast. I'm just going to move the ending key frame out a little bit. Yeah, there we go. All right. So the aid of B transition is actually working pretty well for me, and there's a lot of personality to it. And you know, it kind of feels like it's obeying the laws of physics. And, you know, the, the thing is, you know, I, I showed you guys the trick to get an aide, a morph into a B, but really to make it feel good, you have to understand animation principles and you have to understand what makes the animation feel good. Um, and you know, I, I'm going to get into that a lot on school emotion because to me, I think, you know, the fundamentals, they're the hardest things to teach, frankly, but they're also the most important.

Joey Korenman (22:03):

And if you grasp the fundamentals, then you don't need a bunch of tricks. Um, so there you go. There's a to B now to get from the beat of the C um, you know, it's exactly the same process. Um, the only difference is you have to get rid of, you know, the two holes in the middle. All right. So let's do that. So let me, um, open up my paths here so I can see path one path, two path three, and let's go into our sea outline layer. And there's only going to be one path in there. Right. Cause the sea is just one shape. So let me put a key frame there so I can copy it and then come up here and on this main shape. So first let's figure out the timing. So this whole thing takes about a second and a little bit longer.

Joey Korenman (22:47):

Okay. So why don't we go forward? We'll have the B hold for 10 frames. So I'm gonna put key frames on all of the paths and then I'm going to go forward one second. So 10 frames, 20 frames, 1, 2, 3, 4, that's another second. And I'm going to copy onto the main path that see key frame. Okay. Um, let's turn these pads off for a minute and let's just focus on this first kind of thing that's happening. Okay. So, um, you know, the first thing we had to check was where is the first Vertex point on that mask? And does it make sense where it is on the B in relation to where it is on the sea and it just kind of scrubbing back through this. You can see it actually it's working pretty well. Um, and if it's not just, you know, remember you just click on a point or you select a point, you right.

Joey Korenman (23:30):

Click it and you say set, um, set as the first Vertex of that shape. So this is working pretty well. So first let's just focus on the basic shapes, right. So what could you do to kind of get that same playful it's whipping and kind of, you know, catching itself, um, and doing something cool like that. What could you do between the B and the C? Um, so looking at this, you know, I can, I can first, um, copy those same rotation, key frames and just paste them again. Right. So now it can kind of whip. Okay. Um, and that just means that I want to delay this animation a little bit too. All right. So let's, let's preview this a few times, take a look at it. All right. So it leans and then it kind of throws back, right. So what I want is I want it, I want the momentum of that rotation, almost like it's chugging a glass of water, something you can see, like this little, you know, this little pinch point here kind of gets thrown backwards.

Joey Korenman (24:29):

Um, and so I want that pinch point first to anticipate, okay. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to come back here and set a key frame on this path, and then on this key frame, right. It's leaning in it's anticipating. So I'm going to have the shape of the B sort of anticipate that, move some, a select these points, and I'm just going to move them out a little bit. All right. Um, and it's, and maybe I can also have it, you know, maybe I could, I could have this kind of bow in a little bit like this. Right.

Joey Korenman (25:05):

You know, anything you can do to, just to make it feel like it has a little bit more, more mass to it. We go, okay. Cool. All right. So, so it's going to kind of lean in and one thing, um, you know, another animation principle that helps with stuff like this is, is the concept of follow through and follow through is this whole B is rotating forward. And the mass of that, you know, the, the inertia is going to carry pieces of that beef forward. It's going to change the shape, but not at the same time, it's going to be delayed by a couple of frames. Right. So if I just have this move happening at the same time, you see how it doesn't really feel right. But if I just delayed this a couple of frames, then it feels like it's, you know, it's like an action happening because of the movement.

Joey Korenman (25:52):

Right. And, and it feels better. Okay. So as it swings back, okay. I want that hole in the seed to open up a lot faster. Okay. So I'm going to manually first, I'm just going to kind of scrub through and see where these points end up. This point is going to end up in the middle of the sea. Okay. So what I'm going to do is I'm just going to grab it and push it here. Okay. And then I'm going to look at this point here. I'm going to follow that one. And that one kind of ends up near the top. Okay. So this is actually going to end up more like this. And where does this point end up here? Let's follow that one. That one ends up on the bottom. So I'm just going to pull that one down here. So I'm just, I'm sort of speeding up the movement of some of these points, you know, so that it'll feel, and let's see if I leave that easy ease, if that works better.

Joey Korenman (26:45):

Let's see. Cool. All right. And that actually helps a lot. Let's just to see, I'm going to come in double click this, turn it to an audio and auto Bezier and see if I like that any better. I like that better, but now when, when it comes back down, right. I want it to kind of overshoot back a little bit. Um, so it lands here. Boom. And I'm going to scoot this key frame back and then, uh, go forward a couple of frames. I'm just going to move this and this forward a little bit. Okay. Just to make, and you can just see it's a subtle thing. It kind of makes the back of the sea kind of bend forward as it gets thrown. Okay. Now there's some funky shapes happening at certain points in this transition. Um, you know, you can see right here, you're kind of getting some weird stuff and it would be really nice to kind of clean that up.

Joey Korenman (27:41):

Um, unfortunately, because of some of the limitations of, of key framing masks and after effects. Um, if I key frame, if I put a key frame here just to fix one little thing, it's actually going to have a key frame on every single point. So you want to make sure your animations more or less done, and then you can go deal with those little details. Okay. So let's see what other little things we could do when this thing kicks back like this. Okay. Um, first of all, I want to offset it. So this is the rotation key frame. That overshoot should be delayed by a couple of frames. So it's follow through, right. It's it's um, I have another tutorial on the site it's called animating follow-through and after effects, watch that it explains the principle, um, pretty simply, um, it's a lot harder to deal with when you're doing complicated shapes like this.

Joey Korenman (28:32):

Um, but I just want to kind of, you know, I wanna, I wanna reinforce that any way I can. Um, so even the back of this shape could kind of, you know, be thrown back a little bit and then as it shoots forward, um, and maybe another thing we could do too, is have the, see, like the, you know, the little extensions of the sea open up a little bit, um, almost like the, the inertia's throwing them. Let me smooth that out too. What I'm gonna do is grab all of these, uh, just these points here. I'm a double click them. I'm going to move the anchor point down to here and then just open this up a little bit. All right. And then I'm gonna do the same thing here. I'm gonna grab all of these and maybe that one and move the anchor point to maybe there and just open the, see up a little bit.

Joey Korenman (29:14):

So it's going to open up its arms like that, and then it's going to close. And on this frame here, this is the frame where it's, I'm sorry, this frame, this is the frame where it's just kind of come down and I want this top part of the, of the sea to react to that and kind of overshoot and bend down a little bit. Right. And maybe the same on this bottom part like that. So let's take a look at that. Yeah. You can kind of see, it just gives the whole thing, a feeling of mass. Okay, cool. That's feeling pretty good. All right. So let's say we're happy with that. And now we can just quickly go through and we can clean up, you know, just kind of help this interpolation happened better. You can see a little pinch point here, so I'm gonna, you know, I'm just going to go in and actually an easy way to do this is, uh, hit G bring up your pen tool, hold the option key. And then you can click and drag these points and it will kind of reset them. Um, but it will make them, uh, you can see that it makes them parallel to each other, which is going to make your curves a whole lot smoother.

Joey Korenman (30:20):

Right. And so this way you can kind of make the shapes a little bit less funky looking in, in the transition. Okay. And make sure you set those points to auto Bezier. There you go. All right. Now the sea looks a little weird. Yeah. Here, this was drawing my eye, this point right here. Right. So I'm just going to come to this key frame, fix that real quick. Just make those parallel like this. Right. So you don't get that big point sticking out anymore. Cause that just really drew my eye. Okay. Uh, and even maybe in here, I might want to start rounding this out a little bit, just so it, yeah. That helped a lot. There we go. Cool. I'm digging how that's looking. Okay. So we're happy with that. And now we just have to deal with these two, uh, the two holes in the bees that we turned off.

Joey Korenman (31:18):

So what I'm going to do is let's just figure out, well, I mean, what do we want to do with these, you know, we could, um, you know, we could have them just shrink and become nothing. Um, or maybe as this thing, rocks back, they shrink, but they kind of fall up, you know, this one kind of goes up into this part. This one kind of goes down into this part of the sea and maybe kind of curve to follow the shape of the sea a little bit. And then they shrink and disappear. All right. Um, so what I'm gonna do is, uh, I'm going to line up, let's figure out when we want that move to happen. Maybe, maybe what happens is, okay, I'm going to move the two key frames. So they line up with the first key frame of the main shape.

Joey Korenman (31:58):

So this be rocks forward. And so I want both of these pads on the select them both. I'm just going to nudge them for a little bit. Okay. So that they kind of move a little bit, all right. They, they move forward and then they're going to shoot back. And I would say by that point there, I want them gone. Okay. So let's, uh, let's select this one and let's just zoom in here. Uh, and let's double click it and let's just try to move it. Okay. And instead of having this path kind of shrink away to nothing, the way we did with the, um, with the first letter transformation that we did, um, I'm actually gonna do a different trick here. So, uh, what I want to happen is I just want that, that shape to kind of bend a little bit, like, it's almost like it's mimicking the curvature of the sea a little bit, something like that.

Joey Korenman (32:57):

And I do want it to get pretty thin. And then what I'm going to do is I'm going to make this a hold key frame, go to the next frame. And I'm just going to move this like way out of the frame somewhere, like way up here. Okay. So if you watch, if you watch that shape, right, it looks like it's disappearing, but it's not as jarring. And I don't really have to worry about hiding it. And it looks like the momentum's just kind of throwing it up there and it's not happening as fast as I'd like it to. So I'm going to have that happen quicker. Yeah. Like that. Maybe, maybe give it one more frame. Cool. That worked pretty well for me. So now, um, I can do the same thing on this last path, right. So we come here, we double click it, scale it down, move it down to here, zoom in, and then I'm just gonna, let's see here, let's move that shape. Like that just kinda mimic the curve of the sea.

Joey Korenman (34:02):

That's looking good. There you go. Okay. Maybe it's a little smaller, um, make that a whole key frame, go to the next frame and then just move it completely out of the comp like that. Okay. So now the two holes just kind of go away. Right. And there's so much going on that it just kind of makes sense. Right. It kinda, you're just tricking your eye. Cool. Um, you know, and you know, we've tweaked a lot to get it to this, to this part, but, um, I mean you could go even further, you know, the way that those two holes kind of leave. Um, it feels a little bit, it doesn't feel like extreme enough. And so what I might want to do is, um, grab these key frames here, go into the curve editor. Um, and in the curve editor, you have to be in the speed graph to work with mask points on, you know, that's just kind of an unfortunate reality of after effects.

Joey Korenman (34:56):

There's no way to, to use a value graph to change the speed that those things animate app. Um, so you have to go into the speed graph and the way the speed graph works. Um, visually it makes no sense to me, but if you take Bezier handles and you pull them out, that's kind of accentuating the ease. Okay. So I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna make these a little more extreme, right. So all it's doing is it's going to make these two holes when they move, they're going to slowly accelerate and then they're going to go really fast right before they disappear. Okay. All right. So let's look at our whole animation now and see what we've got. So a turns to B B turns to C. Okay. And there's a ton of personality to it. Um, it feels good, you know, looking at the, see, I would still nitpick some things and I probably want to spend another 10, 15 minutes, like, you know, almost going frame by frame and trying to clean up like any little weirdness that I'm seeing, you know, like, like in here it almost looks like the curve just could be worked on a little bit more, you know, like, I, I really it's bothering me people.

Joey Korenman (36:07):

I'm just really, I'm super anal with stuff like this. A C is gonna, it's gonna make me feel better. I'll sleep much better tonight. Now that I did that. So, um, so there you go. That's, that's the trick people, um, it takes a lot of work and the key is to really practice your animation principles, um, and really try to give these things some weights and some personality and, you know, think about like some funny things that could happen and, you know, like could, could the holes of these bees kind of blow up like balloons and then pop. I mean, there's all kinds of stuff you could do. And you can also reinforce the motion that you're seeing. Um, in other ways, I mean, what if I, you know, as the, the first leg of this, a whips up, maybe like I animate a couple of little pieces that almost break off and dissipate, you know, just to give it a little more emotion, there's a whole bunch of stuff you can do, um, to make this cooler.

Joey Korenman (37:01):

So anyway, I hope, uh, hope you guys learned some tricks and I hope that, you know, this kind of opened your eyes to maybe a different workflow and after effects and actually using after effects as a true animation tool, which a lot of times you kind of forget that, you know, yeah. You can just put two key frames and have a layer move from here to here. But when you want to have something feel alive and have a ton of personality, you really gotta get in there and, and get your hands dirty. Um, so I hope this was useful. Thank you guys. And I hope to see you guys again on the next episode of 30 days of after effects. Thank you so much for watching. I hope that was eyeopening sometimes after effects just can't do all the work for you. You have to get in there and you need to really add a bunch of key frames to make things, do what you want.

Joey Korenman (37:45):

Once you get to that point, you're going to have so much more control over your animation. It's like a superpower. Now, if you have any questions or thoughts about this lesson, let us know. And we love to hear from you if you use this technique on a project. So give us a shout on Twitter at school emotion and show us your work. And don't forget to sign up for a free student account to access the project files from the lesson you just watched plus other awesome stuff. Now, thank you so much. I will see you next time.

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