How to Create Morphing Letters in After Effects

 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!

If you have any questions, click over to the Q&A tab to post them. Other students can answer you, and we'll put our team on the case to try and get you a solution ASAP. 

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    00:00:00,957(upbeat instrumental music)
    00:00:17,174- Hello again!
    00:00:18,007Joey here at School of Motion.
    00:00:19,530Welcome to day nine of 30 days of After Effects.
    00:00:22,806What we're gonna talk about today,
    00:00:24,187it's not the sexiest thing.
    00:00:25,854But it's reality.
    00:00:27,235What I'm gonna show you how to do
    00:00:28,737is to morph the letter A
    00:00:29,994into the letter B into the letter C.
    00:00:31,981It may sound simple.
    00:00:33,932But in order to really control it
    00:00:35,191and to make it feel good
    00:00:36,046and animated exactly the way you wanted,
    00:00:37,919it actually takes a lot of manual labor.
    00:00:40,198That's something I find a lot of new motion designers
    00:00:42,594kind of shy away from.
    00:00:44,140Everyone's looking for the plug-in.
    00:00:45,602Everyone's looking for the trick.
    00:00:47,350Sometimes there's no trick.
    00:00:48,928You just have to do it.
    00:00:50,268In order to do that,
    00:00:51,488you have to understand animation principles.
    00:00:53,845And you have to really understand After Effects.
    00:00:55,944We're gonna dive in and I'm gonna show you some strategies,
    00:00:58,912some ways to think about it.
    00:01:01,553Slowly but surely we're gonna beat this animation
    00:01:03,503into submission until it feels good.
    00:01:05,868If you really want to take your animation skills
    00:01:07,654to the next level,
    00:01:08,587please be sure and check out our animation bootcamp coach,
    00:01:11,602which will pound these lessons into your skull
    00:01:14,043over the course of several weeks in a fun way though.
    00:01:17,124Let's hop into After Effects and get started.
    00:01:21,064There's a little bit of a trick to this.
    00:01:24,070Learning that part is actually the easy part.
    00:01:27,450What's a little bit more difficult
    00:01:29,237and what really sells this type of morph
    00:01:32,654is understanding some animation principles.
    00:01:35,216And using those to make the motion feel a little bit better.
    00:01:41,397First why don't I show you the basic idea
    00:01:44,368of how to do one of these letter morphs.
    00:01:47,299Let's make a new comp.
    00:01:49,389We'll just do 1920 by 1080.
    00:01:53,253The first thing you're gonna want to do
    00:01:54,720is just type out a letter.
    00:01:58,702This doesn't have to a letter.
    00:02:00,374This can be any shape you created in Illustrator
    00:02:03,664or After Effects, it doesn't really matter
    00:02:06,223as long as it's a vector shape.
    00:02:08,206You've got an A.
    00:02:11,952We'll want to turn that into a B.
    00:02:15,856Let's also type out a B.
    00:02:18,217Then we'll want to turn that into a C.
    00:02:22,571Those will be our three letters
    00:02:23,989that we want to morph between.
    00:02:27,239First thing you need to do is right now
    00:02:29,909this is just a type layer.
    00:02:33,369What we want to do is turn that into a vector shape.
    00:02:36,293'Cause then we can use After Effects's builtin tweening
    00:02:39,488so that we can morph between shapes.
    00:02:42,755Let's select all of these.
    00:02:44,461Go to layer and just hit...
    00:02:48,850I gotta do one at a time, nevermind.
    00:02:51,538Layer, here it is: create shapes from text.
    00:02:54,145You gotta do it one layer at a time apparently.
    00:02:56,536That's A.
    00:02:58,489Let's turn these off for a minute.
    00:02:59,421Look at this.
    00:03:00,274All this is is a shape layer.
    00:03:01,859If you look in here,
    00:03:03,562if I open up the contents of that shape layer,
    00:03:07,091you can see that there are two pads.
    00:03:10,675If I select them you can see this path
    00:03:12,877is this little inner hole here.
    00:03:15,720In this path is the outer main shape, the A.
    00:03:20,684Below that there is a merge paths,
    00:03:25,676modifier, from this add menu.
    00:03:29,171That is merging those two paths together.
    00:03:31,566It's knocking out the hole in the A.
    00:03:33,680That's the A.
    00:03:35,406Let's do the same thing with the B and the C.
    00:03:36,952I'm gonna say create shapes from text.
    00:03:38,808There's the B.
    00:03:40,598You can see that the B has three holes,
    00:03:42,835or three paths.
    00:03:44,136The main path, then it's got two holes.
    00:03:47,432Then we'll do the same thing with the C.
    00:03:50,325C create shapes from text.
    00:03:53,450There you go.
    00:03:55,611The reason we did that
    00:03:56,913is because we're gonna want to copy the path
    00:04:00,896from each letter.
    00:04:02,562In some cases multiple paths.
    00:04:05,415And copy that keyframe
    00:04:06,632and put it onto a new shape layer.
    00:04:09,113That way we're gonna be able to morph between the letters.
    00:04:12,481Let's start by doing A to B.
    00:04:14,834What I'm gonna do is make new empty shape layer.
    00:04:19,184I'll just call this A-B-C.
    00:04:24,025Right now this shape layer has nothing in it.
    00:04:26,671If I come in there's nothing in the contents.
    00:04:29,879There's no paths or anything.
    00:04:31,589The first thing we need to do is add a path.
    00:04:36,498Then I'm gonna open up this A outlines.
    00:04:39,548Remember that there's two paths for this A outlines.
    00:04:46,914This path, this first one here is the inner hole.
    00:04:51,753This one is the main shape.
    00:04:53,379I'm gonna start with that one.
    00:04:54,764The way you copy a path from one shape to another
    00:04:58,833is you set a keyframe,
    00:05:01,353copy that keyframe,
    00:05:03,103and then come up here and just paste that keyframe.
    00:05:07,786You can see that it's much smaller than this,
    00:05:11,365because I've probably scaled this up.
    00:05:12,954This is scaled to 209.3.
    00:05:15,645Let me scale this to 209.3 just so it matches.
    00:05:19,872Alright make it easier to line things up.
    00:05:24,184If we turn off our reference shapes here,
    00:05:28,582we're still not seeing anything
    00:05:30,128because in addition to having a path in your shape layer,
    00:05:33,948you also need to have a fill or a stroke
    00:05:36,265otherwise you won't see anything.
    00:05:37,972Let's add a fill.
    00:05:40,740There's our fill.
    00:05:41,838The default color's red.
    00:05:44,160Just make it white.
    00:05:46,285All we have right now is one path in our shape layer
    00:05:50,269and obviously to make an A we need two paths.
    00:05:53,400What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna duplicate path one.
    00:05:56,648Now we have two paths that are inside the shape layer.
    00:06:00,793I'm gonna copy.
    00:06:02,967By the way the way that I'm revealing these properties here
    00:06:06,250is I'm double-tapping U.
    00:06:08,735A lot of you may know if you hit U
    00:06:11,008it's gonna reveal any keyframed properties.
    00:06:13,495If you double-tap U
    00:06:15,446it shows you any properties
    00:06:17,155that have been changed from their default,
    00:06:19,265or anything you've added.
    00:06:21,743That's why I can now just quickly see the paths.
    00:06:24,708I know that I've already copied over the main path.
    00:06:26,944Now I need to copy over the second path.
    00:06:29,222I'm gonna hit the stopwatch to set a keyframe.
    00:06:33,004I'm gonna copy that keyframe,
    00:06:34,301just command C.
    00:06:36,006I'm gonna come up here to my shape layer
    00:06:37,670and on the second path I'm gonna paste that.
    00:06:41,375Now I've got two paths.
    00:06:45,008That's really all there is to it.
    00:06:47,351Now I've created my A again.
    00:06:49,827I don't have a merge paths in here.
    00:06:53,207It seems to still be working.
    00:06:54,913I like to put a merge paths in there just in case
    00:06:57,977and make sure that as I make letters
    00:07:01,253that may have more than one hole in it,
    00:07:02,985it's gonna make sure everything works right.
    00:07:05,261The default mode of merge paths is add.
    00:07:08,237All that does is it adds the two shapes together.
    00:07:14,013If you change that to merge,
    00:07:15,966what it will do is any path that's inside another path
    00:07:19,465will be a hole.
    00:07:20,828If it goes outside that path
    00:07:22,536it becomes another shape.
    00:07:24,567That's pretty useful.
    00:07:25,499That's actually the default way
    00:07:28,022when you create a shape outline from a type layer
    00:07:32,208that's actually what it's gonna give you
    00:07:34,894if I open up the contents of this.
    00:07:37,746Look in here.
    00:07:39,250You'll see that the merge paths
    00:07:40,511that it creates is set to merge mode.
    00:07:43,146I'm gonna leave it like that.
    00:07:45,869Now we've got the A.
    00:07:47,497How are we gonna transition from A to B?
    00:07:51,073One problem we're gonna have to figure out
    00:07:53,310is how we're gonna get the shapes to morph.
    00:07:56,932Another thing is B has two holes in it.
    00:07:59,941There's actually three paths that make up the B.
    00:08:02,617It's only two in A.
    00:08:04,159We need to figure out what we're gonna do
    00:08:05,345to deal with that.
    00:08:07,220First, why don't we open up the Bs
    00:08:10,472so we can see the three paths that make up that letter.
    00:08:14,085I'll put keyframes on all three
    00:08:15,907just so I can grab those and copy and paste.
    00:08:17,779Let's come up here.
    00:08:19,650Let's hide the B.
    00:08:20,995Let's reveal our layer.
    00:08:23,683You've got path one and path two.
    00:08:26,250I know I'm also gonna need a path three.
    00:08:30,265I'm gonna duplicate path two.
    00:08:32,498'Cause the B has three paths.
    00:08:34,033I'm gonna need three paths.
    00:08:36,388Let's go forward one second.
    00:08:39,563Let's grab one by one.
    00:08:41,840The first part of the B which is the main outline,
    00:08:44,759copy that.
    00:08:46,063All I'm gonna do is paste it on path one.
    00:08:49,608You can see that it morphs from the A to the B.
    00:08:53,147It does a terrible job of it.
    00:08:55,385But we'll fix that in a minute.
    00:08:57,174That's essentially what we're doing
    00:08:59,694Hopefully you all just went aha!
    00:09:01,360I get it!
    00:09:02,295We're just copying the path of one letter
    00:09:05,710and having it morph automatically into another letter.
    00:09:08,727I'll show you how to control it better in a second.
    00:09:10,878Then we're gonna copy the second hole.
    00:09:12,993This hole right here.
    00:09:15,838Paste it there.
    00:09:17,994Then we're going to copy the third path.
    00:09:20,840This hole here and paste it on path three.
    00:09:24,543Now here's the B and here's the A.
    00:09:27,516We've got a couple of problems.
    00:09:30,088One the morph is kinda happening in this weird way.
    00:09:33,299Also our hole in the A is gone.
    00:09:35,905That's because we've basically got
    00:09:38,094this third path here on the A
    00:09:40,617which we don't actually need
    00:09:43,094is sort of filling the hole back in.
    00:09:47,451Let's start by turning off path two and three.
    00:09:50,689I'm gonna turn off the visibility of those.
    00:09:53,049Let's just deal with the first part of this morph,
    00:09:54,798the basic shape.
    00:09:57,397What's happening is After Effects looks at each mask
    00:10:01,097or each shape,
    00:10:02,806and it interpolates between this shape and this shape.
    00:10:05,938What I want you to notice
    00:10:07,282is one of these points on this shape
    00:10:10,988looks a little different.
    00:10:12,292It's this one here.
    00:10:13,228I don't know how well you guys can see that.
    00:10:15,711There's a little circle around this shape.
    00:10:21,774Let me see if I can make this an easier color to see.
    00:10:23,973That's a little bit better.
    00:10:24,908You can see there's a little circle around this.
    00:10:27,230What that means is that that is the first point
    00:10:29,681of that path.
    00:10:33,783If you're counting these points
    00:10:34,720it would be one, two, three, four.
    00:10:37,160Now if we go the B,
    00:10:39,029now the first point is over here.
    00:10:41,064If you watch, that first point
    00:10:43,180corresponds between each shape.
    00:10:45,742This point is going to move way over here.
    00:10:48,185That doesn't make a lot of sense.
    00:10:49,733What would make more sense,
    00:10:51,361because the first point of the B
    00:10:52,605is in the bottom left-hand corner
    00:10:54,393it'd be great if the first point of the A
    00:10:56,213was also in the bottom-left corner.
    00:10:58,164What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna select path one.
    00:11:01,048I'm gonna select that point.
    00:11:02,430Then I'm gonna control click it.
    00:11:04,219I'm gonna go up to mask and shape path
    00:11:07,622and say set first vortex.
    00:11:09,615You can see now that this point has changed
    00:11:12,866and this is now the first vortex.
    00:11:14,777When it morphs it's gonna morph a lot more naturally.
    00:11:18,883Get a much better result.
    00:11:21,732We're still getting some criss-cross here.
    00:11:24,495But I'll show you how to deal with in a minute.
    00:11:26,123Then the next thing is how do we deal with these paths?
    00:11:29,009Path two if we look at that,
    00:11:31,211the first vortex is the bottom-left corner.
    00:11:34,840Then on this shape it's the bottom-left corner.
    00:11:36,924That first vortex we don't really need to change.
    00:11:38,755That's actually working fairly well.
    00:11:42,136Now this third one is a problem.
    00:11:44,006Because on the B,
    00:11:46,857that's where that hole's supposed to be,
    00:11:48,635but there is this no hole on the A.
    00:11:50,503There shouldn't be two holes on the A.
    00:11:53,555What do we want to do with this shape
    00:11:56,363when it's time to look at the A?
    00:11:59,903What I did was I just selected that keyframe.
    00:12:03,480It selects basically all the points in that mask.
    00:12:06,813Then I just double-clicked it,
    00:12:09,936and I just scaled it way down like this okay.
    00:12:13,338Actually maybe a better thing to do
    00:12:14,845would be to copy the shape of it
    00:12:18,951when it's sort of already in the right shape for a B.
    00:12:21,877Let me copy this keyframe.
    00:12:23,787Come over here and paste it.
    00:12:25,941Then I can just double-click
    00:12:27,689so I can transform this whole shape.
    00:12:29,319I'm gonna move it here.
    00:12:31,474I'm gonna try to scale it down
    00:12:34,443so it's so small you don't actually see it.
    00:12:39,889Really small.
    00:12:41,878There we go.
    00:12:43,017All I've done is I've scaled that path down
    00:12:45,612so small so that you don't actually notice it.
    00:12:48,047Then it will kind of grow as the B forms.
    00:12:53,984I'm gonna slide to all these keyframes
    00:12:55,616I'm gonna easy ease them.
    00:12:57,185We'll just do run preview.
    00:12:58,992You can see that already it's not bad.
    00:13:02,609It's a decent morph from an A to a B.
    00:13:05,983If you wanted it to be really kind of linear
    00:13:10,630and feel very synthetic
    00:13:13,031and not too playful,
    00:13:15,025then this is kind of how you do it.
    00:13:17,755I wanted to try and sell it a little bit more,
    00:13:20,560make it feel a little bit cooler and funkier
    00:13:22,516and more organic.
    00:13:24,266There's that word that your clients
    00:13:25,891probably like to use: organic.
    00:13:29,135What I did was just tried to apply
    00:13:30,883some animation principles to it.
    00:13:33,435The first thing I did was I looked
    00:13:36,444at what is the general direction
    00:13:38,968that everything's moving for this transition?
    00:13:41,406To me, it feels like this piece of the A
    00:13:45,478kind of swings up here.
    00:13:49,140Then this part kind of pushes left to right.
    00:13:53,249I felt like in general
    00:13:54,427there's kind of a counter clockwise movement happening.
    00:13:57,404I wanted to reinforce that.
    00:14:00,912I'm gonna move the anchor point of this layer
    00:14:03,558to this corner here.
    00:14:04,658To the bottom-left corner.
    00:14:06,489That way I can just rotate the whole shape like this.
    00:14:09,408What I wanna do is have an anticipation move.
    00:14:14,611Let me stop the morph from happening for a second.
    00:14:19,132I'm gonna first have the A lean the opposite direction
    00:14:23,029that it's gonna move while it's morphing.
    00:14:25,063I'm gonna go forward maybe four frames.
    00:14:29,008I'm just gonna have it lean a little bit.
    00:14:31,529It's gonna hang there just for a split second.
    00:14:34,133Then it's gonna swing back over maybe 12 frames.
    00:14:38,332It's gonna swing way back this way, okay?
    00:14:41,999When it's swinging way back this way,
    00:14:43,466that's when I want this morph to be happening.
    00:14:46,070I want to feel like it leans
    00:14:48,549and then the momentum of this piece of the A pulling up
    00:14:52,381is kind of throwing it backwards.
    00:14:55,269Then I want it to rotate back
    00:14:58,405but overshoot just a little bit,
    00:15:01,576and then land at zero.
    00:15:04,331Let me make all of my rotation keyframes easy ease.
    00:15:07,583Go into the graph,
    00:15:08,627let's take a look at this
    00:15:09,561to make sure on the value graph.
    00:15:12,605What I want is for this to gently lower
    00:15:16,345and I want it to hang there.
    00:15:18,822I'm gonna pull this busy handle out,
    00:15:21,953so that it takes a longer time for it to lean back.
    00:15:24,510Then it's gonna whip back
    00:15:27,237and hang there for a minute.
    00:15:30,719Then it's gonna come back down
    00:15:35,517and ease into the final position.
    00:15:39,139Again if you're not comfortable
    00:15:41,011reading animation curves yet,
    00:15:43,005go back and watch intro to animation curves.
    00:15:46,623Now if you look at that,
    00:15:48,152it's working a lot better.
    00:15:49,817It feels like that it's pulling,
    00:15:52,258it's kind of whipping that layer up.
    00:15:54,575It's not,
    00:15:55,469it doesn't quite work perfectly yet.
    00:15:59,138Now what I want to do,
    00:16:01,332is actually tweak the shape that's being created.
    00:16:07,884I'm anticipating the move by rotating the A forward.
    00:16:12,412But then I could also anticipate using the shape of the egg.
    00:16:17,459What I could do is I'm gonna come here
    00:16:20,396and I'm gonna copy this keyframe
    00:16:23,039on the main shape and paste it.
    00:16:25,230Then what I can do
    00:16:26,733is I can go forward.
    00:16:29,537Now on this keyframe,
    00:16:30,600I'm gonna actually come in here
    00:16:32,714and I'm gonna change the shape of this A a little bit.
    00:16:35,443Now it's leaning forward.
    00:16:36,908What I want it to do is overextend a little bit.
    00:16:41,432Like it's kind of getting ready.
    00:16:43,631It's just a subtle thing.
    00:16:44,971It's gonna extend down a little bit.
    00:16:48,840Then it's gonna whip up like that.
    00:16:51,481When it whips up like this,
    00:16:54,208about the time it gets to the middle,
    00:16:56,404I would kind of like this piece
    00:16:58,236to act like a rope and be curling up a little bit.
    00:17:02,098I'm gonna actually pull this bezier handle
    00:17:03,843and pull this up a little bit.
    00:17:05,572I'm just gonna help it kind of swing.
    00:17:08,464I'm gonna using the normal mask tools,
    00:17:13,997I'm gonna create this swing.
    00:17:15,751This keyframe here
    00:17:16,807it's automatically set to easy ease.
    00:17:18,595I don't want that.
    00:17:19,763Because then it's gonna make this shape stop
    00:17:22,369when it gets here.
    00:17:23,539I'm gonna control click it
    00:17:24,881and say rove across time.
    00:17:27,783Because of the mask keyframe I can't do that.
    00:17:29,802I'm actually gonna hit command
    00:17:31,028and click it twice.
    00:17:32,882It's gonna turn into an auto bezier curve.
    00:17:36,987If you have it as an easy ease,
    00:17:39,428if you hit F9 on this,
    00:17:41,202it's gonna have a little stick in the middle of that move.
    00:17:44,254I can show you what that looks like real quick.
    00:17:47,664If I turn off rove across time
    00:17:51,078and easy ease that.
    00:17:53,268It's not too bad.
    00:17:54,120But you can see how it kind of sticks there.
    00:17:56,145That's not what I want.
    00:17:57,611If I turn on auto bezier
    00:17:59,717then it's a little bit smoother.
    00:18:01,912Then what's cool is I could actually
    00:18:04,601pull this back a little bit.
    00:18:06,510And play with the timing so that it feels
    00:18:09,197like it's actually got a lot more momentum to it.
    00:18:11,634Leans in and sucks up.
    00:18:13,462You can do this for as many
    00:18:14,804little intermediate pieces as you want.
    00:18:18,081What you may want is,
    00:18:19,018as this pulls away,
    00:18:21,786as the A rotates backwards,
    00:18:24,330this leg immediate follows.
    00:18:26,437It would probably be delayed by a couple of frames.
    00:18:29,887Let's actually go forward a few frames.
    00:18:32,980Maybe three frames.
    00:18:35,295Actually let me come back to this frame here.
    00:18:37,210I'm gonna hit command R to bring up my rulers.
    00:18:39,773I'm gonna put a guide here
    00:18:41,400right where that bottom of the A is.
    00:18:43,668So I can remember where it is.
    00:18:45,582I'm gonna change my background color here to black
    00:18:47,738just so I can see this a little bit better.
    00:18:50,667There we go.
    00:18:52,090I'm giving myself a reference.
    00:18:53,517Now I can go forward three frames.
    00:18:55,793I can keep that A on that line for two more frames.
    00:19:01,324I'm just gonna command double-click this.
    00:19:03,968It's an auto bezier keyframe now.
    00:19:06,878Turn off my guides.
    00:19:08,464Now it kind of feels like it's sticking to the ground there.
    00:19:13,045This actually might work better
    00:19:14,711as an easy ease keyframe.
    00:19:17,429Now what that means is
    00:19:19,015it'll sort of accelerate as it whips this shape up.
    00:19:23,250Now I kind of want it to be a little longer.
    00:19:25,752It feels like there's a little bit more momentum to it.
    00:19:31,303It's kind of,
    00:19:33,258there we go.
    00:19:34,091It's whipping it up.
    00:19:35,250It may even want to come out a little bit more
    00:19:38,997and kind of curl.
    00:19:41,505Maybe it wants to come up like this
    00:19:45,244and kind of curl like that.
    00:19:49,999If you're not happy with any of the shapes just change them.
    00:19:55,206Let's see.
    00:19:56,039Let's see what that looks like.
    00:19:57,359There we go.
    00:19:59,186See how it whips that shape up
    00:20:00,730then sucks it into the B?
    00:20:02,646It sucks it into the B
    00:20:05,204but I would kind of like it to be sucked in a little faster.
    00:20:10,622What I'm gonna do is go where I want that
    00:20:15,102to already be pretty much like it's gonna end up.
    00:20:19,739Then I'm just gonna manually pop in here.
    00:20:23,973I'm gonna try to shape this a little bit closer.
    00:20:27,066Not all the way finished,
    00:20:28,698but a little bit closer to its final shape.
    00:20:34,172Almost like it's springy.
    00:20:38,295Then I'm gonna come in, double-click this
    00:20:40,937so it's auto bezier.
    00:20:43,647Yeah that's feeling pretty good, right?
    00:20:46,695I like that.
    00:20:48,118The other thing is as this B
    00:20:50,441as this bottom part of the B pops out,
    00:20:53,610I want it to overshoot a little bit.
    00:20:57,478It kind of springs back.
    00:20:58,576I'm gonna go a couple of frames before it ends.
    00:21:01,386I'm gonna grab these two mask points.
    00:21:04,115I'm gonna nudge them out a little bit like that.
    00:21:07,051And adjust this a tiny bit.
    00:21:10,506I'll leave that as an easy ease keyframe.
    00:21:13,304Because I think for timing
    00:21:15,539that may actually work pretty well.
    00:21:17,166That's not bad.
    00:21:18,021See how it shoots out a little bit?
    00:21:20,419It's a little bit fast.
    00:21:22,779I'm gonna move the ending keyframe out a little bit.
    00:21:25,630Yeah there we go.
    00:21:29,091The A to B transition is actually working
    00:21:31,942pretty well for me.
    00:21:32,961There's a lot of personality to it.
    00:21:36,132It kind of feels like it's obeying the laws of physics.
    00:21:39,422The thing is,
    00:21:41,739I showed you guys the trick to get an A to morph into a B.
    00:21:44,787Really to make it feel good
    00:21:47,351you have to understand animation principles.
    00:21:50,161You have to understand what makes animation feel good.
    00:21:53,221I'm gonna get into that a lot on School of Motion.
    00:21:57,770To me I think the fundamentals
    00:22:00,615are the hardest things to teach frankly,
    00:22:02,200but they're also the most important.
    00:22:04,313If you grasp the fundamentals
    00:22:05,779then you don't need a bunch of tricks.
    00:22:08,909There you go.
    00:22:09,742There's A to B.
    00:22:10,575Now to get from the B to the C
    00:22:13,063it's exactly the same process.
    00:22:16,639The only difference is you have to get rid of
    00:22:20,667the two holes in the middle.
    00:22:22,336So let's do that.
    00:22:23,718Let me open up my paths here.
    00:22:25,669I can see path one, path two, path three.
    00:22:28,106Let's go into our C outline layer.
    00:22:30,298There's only gonna be one path in there
    00:22:32,209'cause the C is just one shape.
    00:22:34,812Let me put a keyframe there so I can copy it,
    00:22:38,268and then come up here on the main shape.
    00:22:40,821First let's figure out the timing.
    00:22:42,732This whole thing takes about a second
    00:22:46,884and a little bit longer.
    00:22:48,469Why don't we go forward?
    00:22:49,729We'll have the B hold for 10 frames.
    00:22:51,966I'm gonna put keyframes on all the paths.
    00:22:54,449Then I'm gonna go forward one second.
    00:22:56,81910 frames, 20 frames, 1234.
    00:22:58,973That's another second.
    00:23:00,880I'm gonna copy on to the main path that C keyframe.
    00:23:06,538Let's turn these pads off for a minute.
    00:23:08,207Let's just focus on this first thing that's happening.
    00:23:12,748You know the first thing we had to check
    00:23:14,047was where's the first vortex point on that mask?
    00:23:16,812It doesn't make sense where it is on the B
    00:23:18,964in relation to where it is on the C.
    00:23:20,790Just kind of scrubbing back through this
    00:23:22,253you can see it's working pretty well.
    00:23:25,426If it's not just remember you just click on a point,
    00:23:29,089you select a point,
    00:23:30,391you right-click it,
    00:23:31,224and you say set as the first vortex of that shape.
    00:23:36,048This is working pretty well.
    00:23:38,082First let's just focus on the basic shapes.
    00:23:40,480What could you do to kind of get that same playful
    00:23:45,401like it's whipping and kind of catching itself
    00:23:48,853and doing something cool like that.
    00:23:50,399What could you do between the B and the C?
    00:23:54,108Looking at this I can first copy
    00:23:58,385those same rotation keyframes
    00:24:00,299and just paste them again.
    00:24:01,565Now it can kind of whip.
    00:24:04,468That just means that I want to delay this animation
    00:24:07,035a little bit too.
    00:24:09,439Let's run previous a few times,
    00:24:11,838take a look at it.
    00:24:13,581Leans, then it kind of throws back.
    00:24:16,513What I want is I want the momentum of that rotation
    00:24:21,184almost like it's chugging a glass of water.
    00:24:23,465Something you can see like this little pinch point here
    00:24:27,129gets thrown backwards.
    00:24:29,933I want that pitch point first to anticipate.
    00:24:33,758What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna come back here
    00:24:36,844and set a keyframe on this path.
    00:24:39,411Then on this keyframe,
    00:24:41,645it's leaning in it's anticipating.
    00:24:44,535I'm gonna have the shape of the B anticipate that move.
    00:24:48,195I'm gonna select these points
    00:24:50,146and I'm just gonna move them out a little bit.
    00:24:55,459Maybe I can also have it,
    00:24:58,388maybe I could have this bow in a little bit like this.
    00:25:05,380You know,
    00:25:06,213anything you can do to make it feel
    00:25:08,271like it has a little bit more mass to it.
    00:25:11,892Here we go.
    00:25:12,725Okay cool.
    00:25:13,683It's gonna kind of lean in.
    00:25:16,368One thing, another animation principle that helps
    00:25:19,213with stuff like this
    00:25:20,352is the concept follow through.
    00:25:22,788Follow through is this whole B is rotating forward
    00:25:26,775and the mass of that,
    00:25:28,035the inertia's gonna carry pieces of that B forward.
    00:25:31,572It's gonna change the shape
    00:25:32,873but not at the same time.
    00:25:34,459It's gonna be delayed by a couple of frames.
    00:25:38,161If I just have this move happening at the same time,
    00:25:41,579you see how it doesn't really feel right?
    00:25:43,531But if I just delay this a couple of frames,
    00:25:46,739then it feels like it's an action happening
    00:25:49,788because of the movement.
    00:25:53,535It feels better.
    00:25:56,502As it swings back,
    00:26:00,326I want that hole in the seat to open up a lot faster.
    00:26:05,777I'm gonna manually.
    00:26:07,160First I'm scrub through and see where these points end up.
    00:26:10,086This point is gonna end up in the middle of the C.
    00:26:13,382What I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna grab it
    00:26:15,783and push it here.
    00:26:17,980Then I'm gonna look at this point here.
    00:26:19,484I'm gonna follow that one.
    00:26:20,502That one ends up near the top.
    00:26:24,164This is actually gonna end up more like this.
    00:26:27,297Where does this point end up here?
    00:26:29,171Let's follow that one.
    00:26:30,004That one ends up on the bottom.
    00:26:31,859I'm just gonna pull that one down here.
    00:26:33,369I'm speeding up the movement of some of these points.
    00:26:40,442So that it'll feel...
    00:26:42,031Let's see if I leave that easy ease if that works better.
    00:26:45,895Let's see.
    00:26:50,608That actually helps a lot.
    00:26:51,745Just to see I'm gonna come in,
    00:26:54,268double-click this.
    00:26:55,326Turn it to an auto bezier.
    00:26:57,835And see if I like that any better.
    00:27:00,113I like that better but now when it comes back down
    00:27:05,561I want it to overshoot back a little bit.
    00:27:09,669So it lands here.
    00:27:14,059I'm gonna scoot this keyframe back.
    00:27:15,771Go forward a couple of frames.
    00:27:17,477I'm just gonna move this and this forward a little bit.
    00:27:23,209Just to make,
    00:27:24,141see it's a subtle thing.
    00:27:25,240It kind of makes the back of the C
    00:27:27,152bend forward as it gets thrown.
    00:27:29,557Now there's some funky shapes happening
    00:27:31,431at certain points in this transition.
    00:27:35,618You know you can see right here,
    00:27:36,553you're kind of getting some weird stuff.
    00:27:37,939It would be really nice to clean that up.
    00:27:41,562Unfortunately because of some of the limitations
    00:27:44,850of key framing masks in After Effects,
    00:27:49,406if I keyframe,
    00:27:50,748if I put a keyframe here just to fix one little thing,
    00:27:53,175it's actually gonna have a keyframe
    00:27:54,349on every single point.
    00:27:55,650You want to make sure your animation's more or less done.
    00:27:59,475Then you can go deal with those little details.
    00:28:01,832Let's see what other little things we can do.
    00:28:04,680When this thing kicks back like this,
    00:28:09,413first of all I want to offset it.
    00:28:12,286This is the rotation keyframe.
    00:28:14,559That overshoot should be delayed by a couple of frames.
    00:28:18,787So it's follow through.
    00:28:20,474I have another tutorial on the side
    00:28:22,503it's called animating follow through in After Effects.
    00:28:24,575Watch that.
    00:28:25,408It explains the principle pretty simply.
    00:28:29,130It's a lot harder to deal with
    00:28:30,227when you're doing complicated shapes like this.
    00:28:32,785But I just want to reinforce that any way I can.
    00:28:37,621Even the back of this shape can be thrown back a little bit.
    00:28:42,627Then as it shoots forward,
    00:28:45,635maybe another thing we can do too is have the C,
    00:28:48,155the extensions of the C open up a little bit.
    00:28:52,780Almost like the inertia's throwing them.
    00:28:55,869Let me smooth that out too.
    00:28:57,540What I'm gonna do is grab all of these
    00:28:59,699just these points here,
    00:29:00,796I'm gonna double-click them.
    00:29:01,854I'm gonna move the anchor point down to here
    00:29:03,560and then just open this up a little bit.
    00:29:06,245Then I'm gonna do the same thing here.
    00:29:07,634I'm gonna grab all of these and maybe that one
    00:29:10,893and move the anchor point to maybe there.
    00:29:12,926Just open the C up a little bit.
    00:29:15,113It's gonna open up its arms like that.
    00:29:17,549Then it's gonna close.
    00:29:19,705On this frame here,
    00:29:20,805this is the frame,
    00:29:22,436sorry this frame,
    00:29:24,586this is the frame where it's gonna come down.
    00:29:27,362I want this top part of the C to react to that
    00:29:31,826and overshoot and bend down a little bit.
    00:29:35,077Maybe the same on this bottom part.
    00:29:38,294Like that.
    00:29:39,678Let's take a look at that.
    00:29:42,122Yeah you can kind of see
    00:29:43,340it just gives the whole thing a feeling of mass.
    00:29:48,831That's feeling pretty good.
    00:29:49,769Let's say we're happy with that
    00:29:51,109and now we can just quickly go through
    00:29:52,490and we can clean up
    00:29:55,015just kind of help this interpolation happen better.
    00:29:57,497You can see a little pinch point here.
    00:29:59,575I'm gonna go in.
    00:30:01,560Actually an easy way to do this is hit G
    00:30:04,039bring up your pen tool,
    00:30:05,425hold the option key,
    00:30:06,481then you can click and drag these points
    00:30:08,466and it will reset them.
    00:30:11,310But it will make them,
    00:30:13,099you can see that it makes them parallel to each other.
    00:30:16,022Which is gonna make your curves a whole lot smoother.
    00:30:20,618This way you can make the shapes
    00:30:24,362a little bit less funky looking in the transition.
    00:30:28,350Make sure you set those points to auto bezier.
    00:30:30,832There we go.
    00:30:34,611Now the C looks a little weird.
    00:30:39,860Yeah here.
    00:30:41,931This is drawing my eye.
    00:30:42,784This point right here.
    00:30:44,004I'm just gonna come to this keyframe.
    00:30:46,445Fix that real quick.
    00:30:49,049Just make those parallel like this
    00:30:52,790so you don't get that big point sticking out anymore.
    00:30:55,277'Cause that just really drew my eye.
    00:30:59,755Even maybe in here I might want to start
    00:31:03,086rounding this out a little bit.
    00:31:05,938Just so it...
    00:31:07,155Yeah that helped a lot.
    00:31:08,376There we go.
    00:31:10,712I'm digging how that's looking.
    00:31:11,994So we're happy with that.
    00:31:13,013Now we just have to deal with the two holes in the Bs
    00:31:17,158that we turned off.
    00:31:18,499What I'm gonna do is let's just figure out
    00:31:21,138what do we want to do with these?
    00:31:22,685We could have them just shrink and become nothing.
    00:31:28,200Or maybe as this thing rocks back
    00:31:32,142they shrink but they fall up.
    00:31:35,034This one goes up into this part.
    00:31:37,185This one goes down into this part of the C.
    00:31:39,467Maybe kind of curve to follow the shape
    00:31:41,091of the C a little bit.
    00:31:42,805Then they shrink and disappear.
    00:31:45,445So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna line up,
    00:31:49,426let's figure out when we want that move to happen.
    00:31:51,501Maybe it would happen to this.
    00:31:54,592I'm gonna move the two keyframes
    00:31:55,686so they line up with the first keyframe
    00:31:57,109of the main shape.
    00:31:59,464This B rocks forward.
    00:32:01,700I want both of these pads.
    00:32:03,443I'm gonna select them both.
    00:32:04,338I'm just gonna nudge them forward a little bit.
    00:32:06,492So that they kind of move a little bit.
    00:32:09,136They move forward.
    00:32:12,107Then they're gonna shoot back.
    00:32:13,528I would say by that point there I want them gone.
    00:32:18,450Let's select this one.
    00:32:21,098Let's just zoom in here.
    00:32:23,289Let's double-click it.
    00:32:24,547Let's try to move it.
    00:32:30,322Instead of having this path shrink away to nothing
    00:32:34,998the way we did with the first letter transformation
    00:32:41,225that we did,
    00:32:42,687I'm actually gonna do a different trick here.
    00:32:45,490What I want to happen
    00:32:47,119is I just want that shape to bend a little bit.
    00:32:51,630Almost like it's mimicking the curvature
    00:32:54,189of the C a little bit.
    00:32:57,196Something like that.
    00:32:58,088I do want it to get pretty thin.
    00:33:01,021Then what I'm gonna do
    00:33:02,079is I'm gonna make this a hold keyframe.
    00:33:04,563Go to the next frame,
    00:33:05,577and I'm just gonna move this
    00:33:07,069way out of the frame somewhere.
    00:33:09,992Way up here.
    00:33:12,027If you watch that shape it looks like it's disappearing,
    00:33:17,430but it's not as jarring
    00:33:18,443and I don't have to worry about hiding it.
    00:33:20,515It looks like the momentum
    00:33:21,657is kind of throwing it up there.
    00:33:23,202It's not happening as fast as I'd like it to.
    00:33:25,959I'm gonna have that happen quicker.
    00:33:27,213Yeah like that.
    00:33:28,231Maybe give it one more frame.
    00:33:31,600Cool that worked pretty well for me.
    00:33:32,822Now I can do the same thing on this last path.
    00:33:39,761We come here.
    00:33:40,594We double-click it.
    00:33:42,404We scale it down.
    00:33:44,463Move it down here.
    00:33:46,293Zoom in.
    00:33:47,634Then I'm just gonna,
    00:33:52,480let's see here,
    00:33:53,416let's move that shape like that.
    00:33:58,135Just kind of mimic the curve of the C.
    00:34:02,764That's looking good.
    00:34:03,597There we go.
    00:34:05,657A little smaller.
    00:34:07,771Make that a whole keyframe.
    00:34:08,954Go to the next frame
    00:34:09,930and then just move it completely out of comp like that.
    00:34:16,850Now the two holes just go away.
    00:34:20,343There's so much going on
    00:34:21,606that it just kind of makes sense.
    00:34:24,539You're just tricking your eye.
    00:34:29,257We've tweaked a lot to get it to this part,
    00:34:31,858but you can go even further.
    00:34:33,929The way that those two holes kind of leave,
    00:34:37,749it feels a little bit,
    00:34:39,943it doesn't feel extreme enough.
    00:34:42,379What I might want to do is grab these keyframes here,
    00:34:45,792go into the curve editor.
    00:34:48,595In the curve editor
    00:34:49,570you have to be in the speed graph to work with mask points.
    00:34:53,390That's just an unfortunate reality of After Effects.
    00:34:56,437There's no way to use a value graph to change the speed
    00:35:00,783that those things animate at.
    00:35:03,023You have to go into the speed graph.
    00:35:04,528The way the speed graph works visually
    00:35:07,377it makes no sense to me.
    00:35:09,286If you take bezier handles and you pull them out,
    00:35:11,878that's kind of accentuating the ease.
    00:35:15,018I'm just gonna make these a little more extreme.
    00:35:19,810All it's doing is it's gonna make these two holes
    00:35:22,529when they move,
    00:35:23,747they're gonna slowly accelerate.
    00:35:25,900Then they're gonna go really fast
    00:35:27,363right before they disappear.
    00:35:30,236Let's look at our whole animation now.
    00:35:34,835And see what we've got.
    00:35:36,786A turns to B.
    00:35:38,289B turns to C.
    00:35:41,217There's a ton of personality to it.
    00:35:44,471It feels good.
    00:35:45,529Looking at the C I would still nitpick some things.
    00:35:48,089I'd probably want to spend another 10, 15 minutes
    00:35:50,812almost going frame by frame
    00:35:52,668and trying to clean up any little weirdness that I'm seeing.
    00:35:57,313Like in here it almost looks like the curve
    00:36:01,898could be worked on a little bit more.
    00:36:04,620I really, it's bothering me people.
    00:36:07,426I'm super anal with stuff like this.
    00:36:11,082See that's gonna make me feel better.
    00:36:12,586I'll sleep much better tonight now that I did that.
    00:36:15,334There you go.
    00:36:16,369That's the trick people.
    00:36:18,934It takes a lot of work.
    00:36:20,475The key is to practice your animation principles.
    00:36:24,178And really try to give these things some weight
    00:36:27,216and some personality.
    00:36:29,620Think about some funny things that could happen.
    00:36:33,127Could the holes of these Bs blow up like balloons
    00:36:37,803and then pop?
    00:36:38,941There's all kinds of stuff you can do.
    00:36:40,713You can also reinforce the motion that you're seeing
    00:36:43,891in other ways.
    00:36:46,692What if as the first leg of this A whips up.
    00:36:50,945Maybe I animate a couple of little pieces
    00:36:53,671that almost break off and dissipate.
    00:36:56,272Just to give it a little more motion.
    00:36:57,574There's a whole bunch of stuff you can do
    00:36:59,612to make this cooler.
    00:37:01,930Anyway I hope you guys learned some tricks.
    00:37:04,007I hope that this kind of opened your eyes
    00:37:06,100to maybe a different workflow in After Effects.
    00:37:08,981And actually using After Effects as a true animation tool
    00:37:12,434which a lot of times you forget
    00:37:14,708that yeah you can just put two keyframes
    00:37:17,510and have a layer move from here to here.
    00:37:19,622When you want to have something feel alive
    00:37:21,616and have a ton of personality,
    00:37:22,795you really gotta get in there
    00:37:24,583and get your hands dirty.
    00:37:26,820I hope this was useful.
    00:37:27,835Thank you guys.
    00:37:29,747I hope to see you guys again on the next episode
    00:37:31,496of 30 days of After Effects.
    00:37:34,098Thank you so much for watching.
    00:37:35,442I hope that was eye-opening.
    00:37:37,189Sometimes After Effects just can't do all the work for you.
    00:37:39,994You have to get in there.
    00:37:41,540You need to really add a bunch of keyframes
    00:37:43,250to make things do what you want.
    00:37:45,404Once you get to that point
    00:37:46,664you're gonna have so much more control for your animation.
    00:37:48,982It's like a super power.
    00:37:51,017If you have any questions or thoughts about this lesson
    00:37:53,294let us know.
    00:37:54,390We'd love to hear from you
    00:37:55,690if you use this technique on a project.
    00:37:57,518Give us a shout on Twitter at School of Motion
    00:38:00,384and show us your work.
    00:38:01,562Don't forget to sign up for a free student account
    00:38:03,676to access the project files from the lesson
    00:38:05,949you just watched
    00:38:06,926plus other awesome stuff.
    00:38:08,715Thank you so much I will see you next time.
    00:38:14,573(upbeat instrumental music)