1st May 2021

Understanding Keyframes

Game Design

Written By, Dhruvkumar Vyas


Hello Animators,
As an animator, you should know about the keyframes and their types. I know it’s a little bit boring and a theoretical topic, but I hope this blog will help you to understand what is a keyframe and its types in the easiest way, with help of the Adobe After Effects. So let’s dive into it.

What is Keyframe ?

As you know after-effects are layer-based software for compositing, VFX, and animation where keyframes are the most important. Keyframes are basically markers that indicate the value/property of elements such as position, rotation, scale, opacity, amount, etc. With the help of keyframes, you can make eye-catching motion designs.


(Various types of Keyframe icons in After Effects)

What is Interpolation?

Before we move into the types of keyframe we need to understand the interpolation term. Interpolation is a method that, how the after-effects calculate the value between two or more keyframes. It might be spatial interpolation or temporal interpolation. Let’s understand what they are?

Temporal Interpolation
Temporal Interpolation deals with motion and space. It means how a property changes over time (In the Timeline panel). With help of temporal interpolation, you will get smoother animation and a more natural look.


(Temporal Interpolation)

Spatial Interpolation
Spatial Interpolation deals with the motion path of elements. It means how the element will perform on the motion path like smoother or sharp. With the help of spatial interpolation, you can change the motion path of an element.


(Spatial Interpolation)

Types of Keyframes

There are mainly five types of keyframes in after effects.

  1. Linear keyframes-linear-icon
    Linear keyframe is default interpolation in after effects. It will change the values between keyframes by the uniform rate. It’s indicated by the diamond-shaped icon.


    (Linear Keyframe)

  2. Auto Bezier keyframes-auto-bezier-icon
    This interpolation is very useful when you need more fluidly and smooth animation. You can play with the curve handles and you will get very smoother animation. This curve value is generated automatically by Ae. To create this keyframe just hold the Ctrl/Cmd⌘ key on your keyboard and click on the keyframe. This keyframe is indicated by a circle-shaped icon.


    (Auto Bezier Keyframe)

  3. Continuous Bezier keyframes-continuous-bezier-icon
    Continuous Bezier is like an auto bezier keyframe. But here you can change the influence of the keyframes manually. To create this keyframe just select your keyframes and press Ctrl/Cmd⌘ + K on your keyboard. After effects show you the keyframe velocity setting box. Here you can change it manually. This keyframe is indicated by an hourglass-shaped icon.


    (Continuous Bezier Keyframe)

  4. Bezier keyframes-bezier-icon
    Bezier keyframe gives you full control of motion path functionality. It means you can change the motion path of your element within the composition panel. Also, you can adjust values using the graph editor in the timeline panel. This keyframe is also indicated by an hourglass-shaped icon.


    (Bezier Keyframe)

  5. Hold keyframes-hold-icon
    This keyframe holds the specific keyframe. It means the hold keyframe allows you to jump from one point to another point directly without having a smooth transition. To create this keyframe just hold the Ctrl/Cmd⌘ + Alt key on your keyboard and click on the keyframe. This keyframe is also useful for freezing the footage. For freezing footages do this
    Right click on Layer/Footage > Time > Freeze Frame


    (Hold Keyframe)


I hope this article will help you to understand what is Keyframe and its types.

Written By,

Game Designer at Yudiz Solutions Pvt. Ltd