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The behavior you are seeing is correct. The graph editor only shows the temporal interpolation in versions prior to CS4. In CS4 you can choose the separate components to gain control also over the positional characteristics. As a workaround, in older versions you can use an animation preset that comes with AE to apply extra expression controls and control each dimension separately. I know it's confusing, but think of it this way: If you have a pre-defined path, it is still entirely up to you whether you take a stroll with an even speed or you have varying speeds during that time. You will still arrive at the same point. AE's failure is, that (pre CS4) the channels are not truly independent, so by changing one, you always change the others as well, affecting also their temporal behaviors, which ultimately makes it so difficult. The best advise is to simply trust your eyes by watching the display of the intermediate steps in the composition. The closer they are together, the slower an object moves. When adjusting temporal interpolation, a good place to start is to Ctrl+Click the keyframe icons, so they turn into auto-beziers. this will give a good impression of the overall curve. The smoother the curve, the more even the motion. Another trick is to temporarily convert keyframes to roving keyframes - this will snap them to a position where speed would be constant and by comparing the two results, it is often possible to smooth out any kinks your animation may have... In any case, the best thing you can do is to simply practice and not be afraid. We've all been there and even today I sometimes make a mess of things and have to start over from scratch... ;-)
All keyframes have temporal properties. The keyframes you see in the timeline for spatial properties like Position and Anchor Point only represent their temporal properties. Their spatial properties are represented in the Composition window. (Caveat: display of keyframes in the comp window can be turned off. See the View Options in the wing menu of the comp window.)
You can edit a spatial keyframe in the comp window by manipulating the Bezier handles. They may be a bit tough to see, especially if the keyframes are close together or the motion path is obscuring them. Again, see the View Options dialog, and also Preferences > Display, for help with removing the clutter.
The Graph Editor can show you keyframes for both the spatial and temporal properties (ie., the value and speed graphs), but you have to tell it to do so with the Show Graph Type And Options menu at the bottom of the Graph Editor.
Useful links in After Effects CS4 Help:
Thanks for the replies, guys... But I'm still very confused.
I should point out that I'm using CS3, BTW...
It seemed like in previous versions, it was very simple... Movement keyframes would default to linear, but I could then change any keyframes to a bezier type interpolation (giving me the smooth curve), and they would seemingly always have bezier handles to control them with. I used to always adjust the curves in the timeline, and only recently use the comp window (...more so out of necessity, as more often then not, there are no handles in the editor now).
One of the new things I can't grasp is (as Tim puts it) the Position keyframes having both Temporal and Spacial properties/keyframes. Part of the problem is that I'm 'old fashioned', and used to simply having a graph based on value (y) vs time (x), and having it either linear or a bezier that you can control the shape of (giving you ease in/out, etc). Speed graphs and all this other new stuff is kind of annoying to me as a result, as I really don't 'need' it (nor really want it).
It seems that I'm simply not understanding the new methods here (and assuming the old ones), so therefore the confusion and expectation of one thing, and getting another.
So, should I then (in the case of Position type keyframes) just ignore the timeline (except for keyframe location), and just look to the comp window? I fully understand the comp window display too... The motion path and inbetween frame/dot indications all make sense, and adjusting the curves are simple, since there are the handles there as expected.
Tim, I have already set the 'Temporal or Spacial' to Value graph, as I'm avoiding speed graphs entirely. Are you guys saying that the Speed graph is it's version of Spacial display?
What I can't understand is why it wouldn't be 'Value', and have the graphs either show straight paths (if linear keyframes) or curved paths WITH HANDLES (if bezier keyframes)... To me, that is the Spacial display. Or, failing that, you ditch the whole confusing Spacial/Temporal thing, and just have it as that... A value vs time graph with linear or bezier curves (depending on keyframe interpolation).... which, again, it seems to be anyway! I really don't understand what the introduction of this T/S distinction does (other than make me insane).
Okay, so that aside... The Keyframe Interpolation window... Does this mean that changing Spacial Interpolation to something like Bezier will only effect the Speed Graph?.... as it never seems to effect the keyframe icons on the timeline (as I would expect it to for the Position attribute).
I sort of understand this all, but at the same time I don't... Seems like a whole lot of useless confusion to something that could/should be much simpler. Ugh... It seems like it works the way I expect SOMETIMES... but not always. That's where it gets really confusing. There's some other 'factor' that changes whether it works the way I expect or not, that I'm not cluing in to...
[Addition: Oops, sorry for my repeated misspelling of Spatial]
Okay, sorry for beating this dead horse, but let's clean the slate and try another example here... Maybe I'll get it this time...
Single layer object at the bottom left of the screen. I create 3 keyframes, moving the layer to the top middle (horizontal) in the 2ndkeyframe, and the bottom right in the 3rd... Classic 'jumping layer' thing.
Now, my keys in the timeline are showing linear... The motion path is showing bezier (curved path with handles).
1) Is this because I have that set in the Keyframe Interpolation window?.. The Spatial (spelled it right!) set to Bezier, and the Temporal set to Linear?
2) Of what point/purpose is the timeline keyframes showing 'linear' keyframe interpolation keyframes icons? Should they not show Bezier keyframe icons? When I look at the Graph Editor, it's now showing the lines as bezier curves (and not linear)! This is how I would expect the graphs to be (...although sometimes it shows them as straight lines!)
3) Where is this 'linear' thing coming into play... other than the keyframe icons themselves showing as linear (even though the motion path and even the graph are showing bezier)?? I have the Graph Editor set to show Value Graphs.
4) Just to add to the confusion (mine at least), I try now changing the keyframes (in the timeline) from linear to Bezier by CTRL clicking them. The icons change, yet nothing else seems to change... but, as the same time, everything WAS already 'correct' in my mind (curved paths in both the comp and editor)... and it was just the keyframe icons that were 'wrong' (they should be circles from the start, if my motion path is set as bezier by default).
I'm not sure if you are seeing my confusion here, as I'm sure it totally makes sense to you, but for me, it's crazy stuff. Seemingly contradicting and at times random...
mastering keyframes is one of the top goals you have to achieve in after effects, plus the graph editor - which is still causing headaches to me with complex animations especially in use with cameras.
camera hint: to get around the hassles you have with keyframing camera motion itself - like it or not - use a null object.
Because in AE the camera by default ALWAYS uses the shortest distance inbetween keyframes = no fun at all to animate camera itself in 3D space.
keep training keyframe animation till you eyes bleed or till you master all the expressions that could do your job within a blink of an eye - at the other hand, i'm sure most people awaiting better solutions on handling keyframes.
It's not the camera movement that I'm having trouble with, though... I'm just having trouble understanding this whole Spatial/Temporal thing, and how it relates to the settings and displays (which seem to be contradicting themselves and/or being seemingly pointless), as I tried to illustrate in my previous post.
I've been using AfterEffects for most of my life (my weapon of choice for virtually everything for most of my career), but only recently have been having odd problems with how AE is working... Things like odd dips in the graphs that I can't get rid of... or seeming contradictions in settings vs display (Spatial/Temporal thing, for example).... and AE being very unstable and whining about memory issues that shouldn't exist (since upgrading from AE7 to AE CS3 (...actually, I'm finding AE and Photoshop CS3 both have a lovely habit of just suddenly vanishing and dropping me to the desktop!).
Do you have any explanation for the situation I outlined in my previous post?
that's what i've been telling you - i try to avoid keyframes as much as i possibly can - because the same way keyframes are giving headaches in your situation, i could rocket up from my desktop any single time i have to animate cameras in 3D Space.
I still believe there are few things to reconsider working with keyframes, bezier handles, all the views and of course, the graph editor.
What exactly are you trying to do here Lear? Simply understanding the keyframe operations using the graph editor and keyframe interpolation windows?
I think of temporal=time. Therefore a smooth animate in or out of a keyframe use a bezier type for temporal.
Spatial=position. To have a motion path curve into position use bezier for this.
Changing interpolation in the keyframe interpolation window can usually get you to where you want to be without having to open the graph editor. I only open this when I want to add a little extra to the interpolation.
In this case value graph for position and speed graph for temporal.
There is a lot of control in AE for interpolating and you can do a lot with just TWO keyframes. I try to use as few keyframes as possible and use interpolation to add the extra "style" if you will.
Hope this helps.
Ah! Thanks Timothy... That was a good first clue right there... Temporal=Time (...I knew Spatial was position). That clears a SMALL section up a bit. I understood Temporal to be non-positional 'value' type things, like Opacity, which was a bit obscure... Seeing it as time is a little clearer...
Ya, it's more of me understanding what and why they are doing things (or have certain settings or features). I've been animating for years, so it's not about me not being able to do it. Just seemed like the latest version of AE threw a wrench into my understanding of how/why things were set up the way they were.
I guess one of the main confusions still is the one I outlined previously... Where the timeline keyframe icons are showing diamond (linear) even though the graph editor (and comp window motion path) are showing bezier curves. In that case, it seems that either the timeline keyframe icons should be bezier (circles or concave icons), or the graph editor should be showing straight (linear) lines... unless I'm misunderstanding something here (which I suspect). As well, changing the timeline keyframes to bezier (CTRL+clicking them) doesn't seem to affect anything at all.
That's one of the main things I'm confused about... Granted, I'm not a fan of speed graphs, and this seeming need to distinguish Temporal vs Spacial (...I am used to a value (y) vs time (x) graph, with either linear or bezier interpolation... and nothing more). So, I can't help but see some of this 'extra stuff' as unnecessary (...again, unless someone makes me understand the need for it, and how it's working).
>I guess one of the main confusions still is the one I outlined previously... Where the timeline keyframe icons are showing diamond (linear) even though the graph editor (and comp window motion path) are showing bezier curves.
Remember that for a spatial property like Position, the timeline keyframe icons only represent the temporal properties of the keyframe. (ie., the rate of change over time) They're represented by the speed graph (the gray line) in the Graph Editor. When you say you see Bezier curves in the GE, are you seeing those curves on the speed graph or the value graph? I think it's likely that you're seeing them on the value graph. A helpful point- the spatial interpolation of Position keyframes is set to Auto Bezier by default.
For spatial properties of a keyframe, you can double-check either the motion path or the value graph in the GE.
If I'm reading your posts correctly, it seems the hangup you're having is over the temporal and spatial properties of a keyframe being separate. The basic gist is that when you're animating the position of a layer, you're changing two things:
1. When it changes in time
2. Where it changes in space
We therefore need separate keyframes to control that change. You can successfully ignore the value (ie., spatial keyframe) graph in the GE if you're happy with the dimensional positions of your keyframes. Changing the value graph for Position has a 1:1 relationship to the motion path, unless you turn on the Separate X/Y/Z option. Then you can get into some fun stuff with setting the rate of change for each dimension separately.
>So, I can't help but see some of this 'extra stuff' as unnecessary
Do what works for you. Some animators live and die by the Graph Editor (and they do let us know how they'd like it to be improved), some just do things visually. But there's always that new, neat trick you can learn with new tools like this. And that's why this forum is here for folks to ask questions. :)
Hi, Tim. Thanks for the response.
I THINK I finally figured out where the confusion lies...
As I mentioned, I understand animation, keyframing, ease in/out, speed graphs, etc... (Man, I hope so, I've been doing it professionally for decades!) I even conceptually understand the Temperal/Spatial thing (...it was just a bit foreign, as I didn't really think that way).
The weirdness/confusion was in what SEEMED to be random occurrences where things seemed to contradict themselves (keyframe icons vs graphs).
Problem was, being seemingly random, I couldn't get a concrete sample to illustrate... It felt like one day clicking on the Power button of the TV, and the radio would sometimes come on... I'm thinking, "Okay, I totally know how to do this, but what the heck is going on?! Is this randomly malfunctioning? Or, is there some other factor here that I'm not aware of (or misunderstanding) that is influencing the results of my actions!.... Or, am I going insane, and thinking I'm clicking the power button, when really I'm not!". I share the frustration that the other users are probably feeling with this post!
Okay, I think I finally nailed it, though... I think I had my little moment of insight...
I was planning on writing down an explanation of what exactly it was that I was misunderstanding, etc.... but I'll spare you all the agony!
To sum up, (as I'm sure you'll all appreciate!)let's just say that it was a tiny misunderstanding of the display, and now I see where the confusion is.
If anyone following this thread is REALLY thirsty for the details, I'll write them... but until then, let's just say 'I see what happened now'!
Thanks again to all those who posted!
Laer - Glad you've got it cleared up. If you have the time to write it up, I'm sure there are other people who could benefit from your point of view. This stuff isn't as complicated as brain surgery, but it's harder than making cookies!
You could also post it in one of the relevant articles in the online version of After Effects Help.