How to Move Multiple Keyframes After Effects


Your client may have signed of on the motion intro for his latest marketing campaign, but, as you finish placing the last keyframes of a highly complicated animation into After Effects, he comes in to change the timing of it. Now, you must start again. Not so fast. The ability to be flexible to the sudden need for changes is an asset that keeps a great freelance motion designer in high demand. Moving keyframes at a moments notice will save you from losing out on jobs, and will keep you flexible enough to keep up with the ever changing whims of your clients.

Things You'll Need

  • After Effects CS3

Creating an Animation to Work With

  • Open After Effects. Go to "Composition" > "New." Type "Example" within the "Composition Name" Box, and press "OK."

  • Go to "Layer" > "New" > "Solid." Press the "Make Comp Size" button, and press "OK." Select the "Rectangular Tool" from the tool bar above the "Project Panel" at the top left of the program window. Draw out a square within the "Composition" window which at the center of the program window.

  • Click on the layer name within the "Timeline" below the "Composition" window and "Project" panel. Press "P" on your keyboard to reveal the "Position" transform property. Click on the 'Stopwatch" icon next to the word "Position."

  • Move the "Time Indicator" to the right two seconds, and move the square anywhere you want using the "Selection Tool" from the tool bar. Repeat this step four more times; changing the position of the square each time.

Moving Multiple Keyframes: Method 1

  • Click and hold within the "Timeline" after the last keyframe you want to move, and drag out a square to select the keyframes before it.

  • Or Shift + Click on non adjacent keyframes if you don't want to move the whole row of frames.

  • Move these keyframes further to the right within the "Timeline" to make the animation appear later, or further left to make it appear sooner.

  • Press your "Space Bar" to watch your animation.

Moving Multiple Keyframes: Method 2

  • "Drag + Select" a row of keyframes, or "Shift + Select" many individual keyframes.

  • Click on "Cmd + X" on Mac or "Ctrl + X" on PC to cut out these keyframes from the "Timeline."

  • Move the "Time Indicator" to where you want the keyframes to appear, and paste them back on by holding down "Cmd + V" on Mac or "Ctrl + V" on the PC.

Tips & Warnings

  • Although it may seem like the same method twice, the first one is mostly to try out where you would like the animation to appear, while the second allows you to do quick changes when you have precise time, or to match animation over many pre-comps precisely.
  • These techniques work with all versions of After Effects that have Keyframes.
  • Remember to select only the keyframes within the layers. Selecting the layers may make you accidently duplicate layers.
  • Also, don't forget to save before any major changes. This will allow to reload the previous save point.

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  • Photo Credit Patrick Ryan/Lifesize/Getty Images
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