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start/stop/loop nested animation / composition the smart way? (like in flash?)

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Michael Paulstart/stop/loop nested animation / composition the smart way? (like in flash?)
by on May 29, 2015 at 5:12:48 pm

Hello I am a Flash Animator who also uses Adobe After Effects. Now in Flash I can loop Graphic Clips (they work like compositions. I can animate the position of a graphic clip while the entire graphic is looping or then I can let it display just ONE so it holds that frame or I stop the animation.
Is it possible to have so much control over a composition in After Effects?

Here is what I am doing and what I have done and I feel like the way I did this is HORRIBLE and there must be a BETTER more elegant way:

I have a composition of a hand holding a pen that's drawing around. It's just 2 keyframes where I have animated the rotation and then I've added an expression (PINGPONG) to that rotation so that it loops.

Then I put my "movinhhand.composition" into my main composition and animated it's position over a piece of paper so that it goes to a position and then it starts drawing something. Of course I do NOT want to play the animation of the hand moving drawing around yet because it isn't drawing yet but moving around on the piece of paper. SO I added a freeze frame to it so that no animation gets played. The still (because of the freeze frame) of that arm/hand with the pencil moves to the position where it's supposed to start drawing then I CUT my composition in half / split it with CMD SHIFT D and I remove the freeze frame from the new duplicate/layer of my hand animation so that the animation will start playing.

Thats how I have done it. If I let the hand draw a lot of stuff and make it move around a lot where it doesn't draw anything I will end up with a lot of layers: One layer with the animation playing and one layer of the hand that has a freeze frame applied to it.

I feel like that's a terrible workflow and I would be 100 times faster in Flash but I am sure I just didn't come up with a better solution yet. Do you have any idea? THANKS A LOT!

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John CuevasRe: start/stop/loop nested animation / composition the smart way? (like in flash?)
by on May 29, 2015 at 5:59:15 pm

Instead of using freeze frames and splitting the layer, use Layer>Time>Enable Time Remap(cntl+alt+t). You can put in create your own freeze frame by adding a keyframe when you want the frame frozen, copy the keyframe, select the keyframe and the last keyframe(AE creates a start/end keyframe when you remap) and move them down the timeline(this maintains the normal speed, then pasting the copied keyframe where you want the freeze to start.

Sounds a bit complicated, but the trick is to maintain the normal speed, so you need to be very vigilant about moving all the keyframes after your freeze frame.

I made a simple example project where I took a 30 second timer, froze it twice for 5 seconds, and then had it start again to illustrate the technique.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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Michael PaulRe: start/stop/loop nested animation / composition the smart way? (like in flash?)
by on May 29, 2015 at 6:06:13 pm

WOW! Thanks A LOT for even making an example file. Thats really great. Thanks for this. Now in Flash I can simply say: display frame this and display frame that. what would be the best way to do this in AE?

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Dave LaRondeRe: start/stop/loop nested animation / composition the smart way? (like in flash?)
by on May 29, 2015 at 6:14:46 pm

You would do that again by time remapping... but you would use HOLD keyframes, typing in the time of the frame you want to display.

The hold keyframe will keep displaying that frame until it encounters a keyframe of a different value. It's like using freeze-frames in a way.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA

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