After Effects - Animated Infographic Video & Data Visualisation

Cheat sheet & shortcuts for After Effects

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hey, welcome to this Motion Graphics Cheat Sheet for After Effects.

We're going to go through some tips and tricks, and cheats. We'll be getting started with Motion Graphics. All right, let's go. Tip no. 1 is Easing. Easing is when things look pretty when they're new. I've made a little animation, it kind of slides in from the side there. Mine's very Power Pointy. What we need to do is sex it up with some Easing to make it slide in really pretty. What we do is, we select both of these Keyframes, right click one of them. Go down to 'Keyframe Velocity'. And I'm going to put Influence, '75' on this side, '75' on that side. Click 'OK'. And there, it changed to the little hourglasses, but watch this, when I preview it, see, looks pretty when it slides in. That is tip no. 1, Easing.

Tip no. 2 is Motion Blur. If anything is moving, make it blurry. Watch this, this is the Easing we did before, it moves in, it's nice. But we turn this on, Motion Blur, this is for the whole Composition, and you need to turn it on for each Layer that's moving. And we've only got one Layer. Watch this, when it moves, can you see, it's kind of blurry when it moves. Looks nice, it looks a bit better. Let's have a look at this other Comp here with the Swinging Text. This is one of the classes that we do in my course. Watch this, if I-- can you see, things are good when they're blurry, if I turn it off they look fine. Not as pretty. It's been that blurry.

Now tip no. 3, Snap. When you're dragging this little Playhead along, officially called the CTI, if I drag it along, and I want to align it up with this Keyframe here, it can be very difficult, but if I hold down 'Shift' on my keyboard holding down, still dragging this guy here, look he snaps to all the little Keyframes. Makes it super easy to get your Playhead in the perfect spot. And that is Snap.

Ready for tip no. 4? Super zoom. It means that when you are looking at stuff, you can use these little mountains to go in and out. But say you're kind of stuck here, and want to go all the way up, I hit 'colon ;' on my keyboard, next to the L key. Just tap it once, zooms all the way in. I'm at super mega zoom now, tap it again it goes all the way out. Tap it again, all the way in. Tap it, all the way out. You can see my whole Comp, that's a really handy one. Just tap 'colon ;'.

Tip no. 5, Time Travel. Instead of going in here and saying I want to go to 2 seconds, and colon, now I want to go to maybe 10 frames, and you jump to it, what you can do is Time Travel much quicker. Click on this, I want to go to 4 secs, type in '400'. And it jumps to 4 secs. But now I need to go to Frame 15. Click in here, just type in '15'. All over the top, it all rearranges it for you. So you can jump to any time, 2 secs and 10 frames, it will jump along. That is Time Travel.

Tip no. 6, you've got a really crappy laptop, and it runs really slow when you're working on jobs. To fix that, couple of things you can do. This one here, under 'Full', or it might be on 'Auto', force it down to 'Quarter', watch the quality of the text in that window See, you got that blurry. Now it previews nice and fast, or faster, and will still render a perfectly high quality one. The other thing you can do is, in your Preview window here, you might have to tear it off a little bit. I want to make mine a bit bigger. You want to go to this one here, and say Skip. Instead of trying to render every frame you can say skip every '1', and read every second frame. That just means that, it's going to be a little bit jumpy in your preview, but it will render a whole lot quicker. That's what to do if you got a really slow, crappy laptop.

Tip no. 8, what size should my Comp be? Pretty much always, go to 'Composition', 'New Composition' and you can't go wrong if you go to 'Preset', and pick 'HDTV 1080 25'. All the other ones, our special use cases, pretty much every single time, go to this one here, you can't go wrong.

Our last super awesome shortcut tip cheat sheet thing is this key here. What it does is, if you have your mouse hovering above here, and you tap it, it makes that screen full. If I hover above the-- you got lots of work going around down here in your Timeline click it, makes it full screen. Great for the project window, you got lots of files, tap it, goes full screen, tap it again, it goes away. Also, as part of this course, go to and go to the resources tab, and there will be a downloadable PDF version.

All right, that's our quick cheat sheet awesomeness for Motion Graphics, for getting started. Remember, if you want to do a full course, if you're just getting into it, is to check out my website here. How to become a Motion Graphic Designer in 3 hours in After Effects. That's at All right, I'll see you over there.