Sequential Animation in After Effects

Video Tutorial & Guide

In this tutorial, we're going to show you how to create Sequential Animation in Adobe After Effects.

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Video Transcript

Hi everyone, this is Tziporah Zions from Noble Desktop, and in this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to quickly sequence layers in adobe after effects, so we're going to be taking a whole bunch of layers here. And we're going to be using the sequence layer tool in order to order them in rows so they all appear in series.

We're also going to be using alt brackets to make sure players are still visible even after they've played. So, you know, this is what it looks like when it's completed and you can see how each letter animates in one after the other.

And this is super useful because as designers we're often given a file from Illustrator, for example, that has only footage layers on it like, there's no text. So like usually we'd be using a text animator for something that looks like this.

We can't do that in this kind of situation. So Sequence Layers lets us quickly animate in similar looking movements, but in a way that works with object layers and like footage layers like not just text. So the only external asset we're going to be using is this logo file here, and it's going to already be preloaded into

the project, and it's already been set up for for use in Illustrator. And you can find the entire project file and all assets in the video description below. So let's get started. First thing we're going to be doing is I'm going to turn off visibility because here's that's the finished logo, turn on visibility on the file.

We're going to be using double click to go inside the pre comp and don't be alarmed by all these layers. We're we're going to neaten them up as we go along. Hmm. Sorry about that. So the first thing that are going to be starting with, we're going to be animating the main name over here are the Fit

With Us part, that's all color coded in purple. The subtitles are in this kind of pinkish color. So the first thing we're going to be doing is we're going to shift. Click on all of the Fit With Us layers- Fit With.

US. And it's important to note that the order you select your layers, that's the order that the layers are going to be sequenced. And so if I started from Us With Fit this animation, would have played backwards. So then, how long do you want them to be?

I'm going to put each one couple of frames, maybe eight frames each...Alt on a PC. And if you're using a Mac, I believe that is the command [option] key. So, alt-right bracket to cut them short. So let's make this a little bigger so we can see what I'm doing.

And then I'm going to slide them all together just a few frames in because I want there to be a brief pause at the beginning of the project. Right-click on any selected keyframe. Head over to keyframe assistant.

Here it is. Sequence layers. And note that I'm not using overlap here. Overlap would involve having to calculate, you know, how long you want each of these layers to be visible while the other one's playing. I mean, literally how you know you want your layers to overlap.

for. But there's no need for us to do that. So we're going to click OK without checking that box. And now you can see. Here you go. Plays, but you notice that, you know, the the initial letters, the initial words disappear as a whole thing plays and we want them all to be playing.

We want them all to be visible. You know, as soon as they appear on the screen. So let's see. Let's pull the layer out. Sorry about that. Pull up. Play out over here. Actually, let's pull it all the way out to the end of our composition and then alt or Cmnd right bracket.

So then that'll extend all the layers out. And there we go. Sequence just like that, and I'm actually going to show what it looks like if I were to select it in reverse. So us with fit, selecting it backwards, keyfame assistant, sequence layers.

Yes, please. And it all played backwards. You see that as I scrub through the timeline. And that's not what we want. So let's fix that. See? Perfect. All right. So let's head on to like this little subtitle over here.

So what we're going to be doing is first, let's clean up this whole thing. It's quite crowded with all these letters. So I'm going to shift. Click on all of the pink layers over here, all those little layers.

I'm going to right click on any selected layer and I'm going to Pre-compose them. That's going to turn this into a pre comp. So it's like a composition within a composition. Let's call this subtitle text. Yes, I know.

Huh? And there we go. I'm going to color code them again. I just like all my things color coded. Put it back to pink and double click to head inside our new Precomp.Look, you see the background here is black, so let's head up to composition, but that composition settings and I'm going to change the background color to

white just so I could see what I'm doing. All right. Let's get to animating. So with my Playhead at the origin once again, going to grab every single layer here with shift, click let me push up my interface a bit as well so I could see all my layers at once and I'm going to expand the

timeline using. I'm going to expand the timeline down here using the slider. Thank you very much. So I can have a better view at the timing on my timeline. And well, the first thing I'm going to do, I'm going to hit P for Position on my keyboard and I'm going to slide in about like half a second

in about and I'm going to hit position on all of my keyframes. And you could see since they're all selected, they all drop a position keyframe down if I just hit it on one of them. And what I'm going to be doing is I'm actually animating this a bit backwards.

So, you know, as you may have noticed in the initial example, when I play it, keep an eye on the subtitle text. It all zooms in and kind of overshoots a little bit. That's we're going to be animating.

We're going to be animating the final position, the overshooting a little bit and then taking it completely off the screen. So that way, when we actually play it, you know, it'll play in the correct order, overshooting a bit, you know, it'll zoom in from off the screen, overshoot a bit, settle back into place.

So now I'm going to move a little earlier. As you can see, and then I'm actually going to select all my layers, but and then I'm going to shift over. All of them, sorry about that, grab the X coordinate.

And again, if I shift over one of them, they're all going to shift over a little bit. So what I did was I grabbed my x-coordinate here and I clicked and dragged it a little bit to the left.

So they all went over a little bit to the left. And then I'm going to head over to the origin, the beginning of the timeline, going to again grab any selected layer, drag the X- coordinate, that first number, all the way to the right.

Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. Excellent. There you go. So now I play it, they'll slide in. But we want this to, you know, have a sequence kind of look to it. So what we're going to be doing next is grab once again, grab all of our layers.

And again, I always want to start from the beginning because the direction that you select your layers, that's going to determine the order that they're sequenced. And I have a PC so I hit alt-right bracket. If you have a Mac, I apologize.

I said the wrong key before, but it is actually the option key. So option right bracket will cut these guys short. And now I'm going to sequence layer them. So right click on any selected key frame, head over to keyframe assistant, sequence layers again.

No overlap. I don't want these guys to overlap at all. All right. So as I scrub through my timeline, you'll see all these guys. Slide on. Now they slide on in sequence now, like before, we want actually all of these to remain visible after they've slid onto screen, so as they are now, not so great.

So I'm going to move my Playhead actually quite a bit just to be safe. And again, alt or option right bracket extends them all the way out. So that should be much better. There we go. I actually think on my own, I'm going to speed this up a little bit.

I'm going to move the the key frames closer together, but for purposes of this tutorial, you can see what I've done here. And also, it's worth mentioning that the so the sequence behavior is based on when the first selected layer starts, right?

So if I head down here, you know my very first layer over here, you know that that layer triggers the sequence to start. But as before, the order of the layers that it's playing in is based on the selection order.

All right, I am going to enable motion blur now, which means I'm going to. So this is my layer mode's visible. I'm going to head over to toggle switches modes. Thank you. And I guess I've done it already.

But if this is not clicked, this row with our three little circles overlapping, that's motion blur and I'm going to hit this to enable motion blur. That's really important because if you don't have this enabled, this doesn't mean anything.

And yeah, it just gives a bit of motion blur to your project. It's worth mentioning, though turns this on at the end, just because it it's a little harder on your machine to to process that. All right. Head out to my comp and you can see let's play our finished product.

There you go. So this version moves a little faster than the original, but you know, the principle remains the same. Anyways, so that's it. Sequence Layers is one of my personal favorite techniques for how so quickly automates an otherwise long process for ordering layers. It makes otherwise difficult to animate layers easier to work with.

Any animation involves layers moving in a set order can benefit from sequence layers. It can also be used for ordering images in a frame by frame animation, non-text layers and even adjustment layers. If it's a layer, it can be sequenced. I actually have prepared over here.

Check it out, a couple of Eadward Muybridge. He was a photographer that pioneered some really important inventions in the history of video and photography. You could check him out. But, you know, I sequenced his photographs and turned it into a run cycle using sequence animation so you can use that, you know, also, like I mentioned, frame-by-frame animation. Honestly, you just need something to move in order. This is a technique for you. So that's all for this tutorial. I hope you've enjoyed learning how to sequence layers in Adobe After Effects. This has been Tziporah Zions for Noble Desktop.

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