Motion Graphics with Kurzgesagt – Part 1 | Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell | Skillshare

Motion Graphics with Kurzgesagt – Part 1

Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell, Motion Graphics Videos

Motion Graphics with Kurzgesagt – Part 1

Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell, Motion Graphics Videos

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16 Lessons (43m)
    • 1. Promo

    • 2. Intro and Overview

    • 3. Setting up your Project

    • 4. Loop Expression and Keyframe Velocity

    • 5. Time Reverse Keyframes

    • 6. Opacity and Time Remapping

    • 7. Rotation Animation

    • 8. Track Matte

    • 9. Inverted Track Matte

    • 10. Region of Interest and Replacing Layers

    • 11. Position Animation

    • 12. Create Shapes from Vector Layer and Trim Path

    • 13. Path Animation and Null Objects

    • 14. Finalisation

    • 15. Render Settings

    • 16. Outro

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About This Class

In the first class we are covering all the basics: Setting up your After Effects project, introducing our workflow and working with expressions using a typical Kurzgesagt Scene.

Additional resources:

How Codecs Work - Tutorial

by David Kong

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Kurzgesagt - In a Nutshell

Motion Graphics Videos


Kurzgesagt (German for ,,in a nutshell") is a Munich based youtube channel and design studio with a distinctive perspective on design, color and story telling.


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1. Promo: Hi, my name is Sonya. I'm a senior motion graphics designer at Kurzgesagt In a Nutshell. We are a science channel on YouTube and create 2D vector animations for the channel and various clients. For our Skillshare course, I am going to show you how to animate typical scenes from a Kurzgesagt video. We will cover animating a multi-state screen, a split-screen with simple characters, and also a more complex character animation. By the end of this course, you will have several fully animated scenes in the characteristic Kurzgesagt style. 2. Intro and Overview: In this class, we are going to focus on animation within After Effects in 60 frames per second. Go ahead and download the Illustrator assets for your animation from Skillshare. In this class, we will learn how to do path animation, create loops using expressions, and learn how to use time remapping. We will also animate a typical Kurzgesagt bird. This class is perfect for animators who are already familiar with Illustrator and After Effects. To benefit most from this class, you should know how to set up an Illustrator file for animation, how to set key frames, and generally have a basic understanding of After Effects. This tutorial is specifically meant for animators who want to learn the Kurzgesagt style of animation. Let's get started. 3. Setting up your Project: In this course, we're going to focus on animation with an After Effects. Go ahead and download the assets from Skillshare, including the Illustrator file that we'll be using for animation. I'll quickly show you the setup in Illustrator before we jump into After Effects. Something that's really important in animation, especially if you have a lot of layers and a lot of assets is naming. I use one overarching word to describe a whole set of layers that belong together. Like over here, background, I have multiple layers that belong to the background, like background stuff, etc. I use one overarching word, BG underscore, and then describing the asset that is part of that set of layers. Let's head over to After Effects and set up our scene. This is what we'll be animating today. You can download the finished After Effects file from Skillshare as well. Let's import our assets. We're going to be importing them into this asset folder. Something that's really important here is to import your Illustrator file as composition retained layer sizes. Even if you're doing a small project, it's very important to keep a clean folder structure. We'll move these assets into vector. I create a duplicate of the comp that I've imported. I never animate within the original comp that I've imported. In case I accidentally deleted layer, and I need the original positioning back, I can take it from the original comp so I always have that as a backup. I create a duplicate and I move it over here into pre-comps. Once I've done that, I'll color-code my comp. Let's use Cyan, and I'll drag this comp over to the create new composition icon. I don't like to have a lot of layers stacked on top of each other. I prefer separate comps for each themes, and then have them organized within a main comp. We'll now rename this comp to main and move it out of the pre-comps folder into comps. Once we have a bunch of pre-comps, we can open and close this folder and it will be nice and clean. We'll now check the composition settings. We'll be animating at 60 frames per second, and generally, what we want is to start our animation at zero, which is usually at the beginning of a comp. This poses a difficulty if we decide later we want to add some additional animation or opposed to the beginning of our comp. In this case, we would have to take all of our keyframes and layers, and shift them forward. This can be a little bit annoying, which is why I set my start time code to 59 minutes and the duration of my comp to 11 minutes. That means, I have one minute of leeway before I arrive at one hour in the timeline, which appears as a theoretical points zero and I have 10 minutes for animation. We'll add a start marker to the beginning of our scene and will crop the word area by hitting ''B''. We''ll do the same with our comp, we'll trim it, and add a marker. The reason why we're adding a marker here is so we have a visual aid in case we accidentally move our comp at any point. If we didn't have this marker here, we would probably not see that we've accidentally move this comp. We can now drag the comp back if we had already done a bunch of other steps and we can no longer hit ''Command'' or ''Control Z''. We can just then move this marker back to its original positioning. We'll do the same inside of the comp. We'll mark all of our layers, trim them, add a start marker, and crop the work area to the start of our scene. We'll now want to color code all of the layers we have here according to the group categories that we set in Illustrator. I like my background layers to be brown, and I'll just choose random colors for the rest of the layers. I'll speed this up for you so you don't have to watch me doing this in slow motion. The reason why I have a reference layer over here, it's because I've only setup these running bars for one line and we can then duplicate that and move it up. This is just so we know where these bars need to go, but we can actually ignore that and so doesn't render accidentally. We'll set it to a guide layer, and then we'll set the color to none, so they fit into the background, and we can basically ignore them once we've animated these running bars. Once we've colored in all of our layers, we're going to set the length of our animation. We'll set that to 10 seconds and we'll add an end marker here. We're now ready to animate our scene. 4. Loop Expression and Keyframe Velocity: The first thing we will animate is this bird over here. To have a better overview, will hide all of the rest of the layers and we'll focus on the ones that were animating with. The way we'll do that is use this shy guy over here. I've already applied the shy button to all of the other layers that we're not using. All I need to do now is click this Shy switch over here and they'll disappear. That doesn't mean they're gone. We just can't see them at the moment. Now we can work with all of the bird layers and animate them. The first thing we'll do, we'll parent the wings and the beak to the body and will adjust the anchor points of the beak and the wings. We want the anchor points to be in a position where the wings will be rotating from, so we'll move that over there and the same with the beak. We now add some of rotation to the beak and the wings. Generally, I use 50 frames for most of my animation. If I wanted to go at regular speed, not too fast, not too slow, and if I wanted to be a little bit snappier, I moved down to 30, 20 or 10 frames. Ten or five frames are usually used for a pop-up, like popping up a sign or a speech bubble. We'll rotate this minus 15 degrees. We'll add some easy ease and will rotate this 15 degrees and add some easy ease. You can add easy ease by hitting F 9 and will add a loop to this. Alt Click on the stopwatch, then go to property loop out and will change this to ping-pong. A ping-pong loop means the animation is being played back and forth between two key frames. This is different to a cycle loop expression where the animation jumps back to the first frame, once it has reached the last frame and loops it from there. For a clean cycle loop, you would need at least three key frames. For a ping-pong loop you only need two. We'll right-click Copy expression only and add this to the wing. Usually I use easy ease for looped animations like this. For other types of animations, I use 75 percent key frame velocity. You can check the key frame velocity by right-clicking and carrying to key frame velocity. This is the influence that an easy ease has, and this is what it looks like in the graph editor. It's quite regular. If we change this to 75 percent, you can see how the curve changed. It just slows in over a longer period of time than speeds up and then slows down again. Key frame velocity determines how quickly your object starts moving or slows down. A 100 percent velocity is the slowest pick-up of speed. It will have a very steep curve and easy ease is at 33.3 percent. If you copy an expression from rotation and want to add this expression to the same attribute to another layer, you just need to highlight the layer and hit Command or Control V to paste it. If you want to paste the expression to another attribute, we need to highlight the specific attribute, want to paste it to. For example, if the expression was copied from rotation, it will as a default, be pasted to rotation on another layer unless you specifically highlight, for example, position in this case. Let's add some animation to the body of the bird. We want to adjust the anchor point and we want to add a position key frame. We'll move 50 frames forward and move the bird down a little bit. Add easy ease. We can copy this expression onto the position. Will also add some rotation to the bird. This time we'll go forward a 100 frames. I'll add a rotation of five degrees. We'll add easy ease and copy the expression. We'll also want to shift the wings back a little bit to add some dynamic movement. We'll shift this back 20 frames by holding Alt Shift and Page Up. We'll also add some rotation to the beak. Now we have a bouncing flapping bird. 5. Time Reverse Keyframes : Next, we'll be animating these slider layers. I've already made all of the rest of the layers shy so we can focus on these sliders. We'll be adding some position key frames and we're animating these on the right over here, we'll move 50 frames forward and we'll move them up and down. We'll add some Easy ease and we'll add a pingpong loop. We'll copy the expression and add it to the rest of the layers. Now let's reverse some of these key frames so they're not all moving in the same direction at the same time. We'll right-click on the "Key-frames", go to Key-frame assistant and Time reverse key frames. At the moment, they're all moving at exactly the same time so, let's shift these layers back a little bit to add some dynamic. I'll be shifting these back 10 frames, each. I'll be doing the same for the other sliders, so I'll just speed up this part, and now we have some sliding sliders. 6. Opacity and Time Remapping: We have some lights over here that will be animating now. The first thing we'll do is pre-comp these blinkers. I used the V effects industry standard for numbering scenes. This means you start the numbering with 01 to allow for 99 files to nicely arranged within your file structure. This happens automatically if you arrange your files by name and they'll just order from 1-99. Additionally, there is a zero at the end of 01 as a fail-safe. You end up with a triple numeral as 010. This is in case I want to add a scene in between my existing file structure, I will then, for example, have a sequence of 010, 011, 020. The additional scene will nicely arrange itself in the right order. When creating a pre-comp within a scene, I like to add a letter after my numerals. Meaning I have a main scene called 010 and pre-comps within it will be 010a,010b, etc. This way it's much easier to distinguish which pre-comps belong to which scene and in which order. As you can see, this is where our pre-comp is. As mentioned in the beginning, will always add a marker to the beginning of our pre-comp and trim it. Now will jump inside. We have two sets of blinkers with three stages each. This is stage 1, 2, 3. We now want to fade them in and out. We'll start with this one and we'll add an opacity Keyframe. This time we'll go forward 60 frames and will this fade in. We want this one to be at zero, and we'll copy this key-frame, and we'll add some easy e's. This will be the end of our scene, so we'll move this end marker over here. We'll do the opposite for the next stage. It will fade out from 100-0 and then fade back in. We'll add easy ease. For the next stage we'll copy the first stage but we'll move it back 30 frames, and then we'll add another key-frame. We'll now do the same with the second set of blinkers. I'll speed up this part. This time we won't be adding the loop on each layer because we have a lot of layers and we pre-comp the comp, we use a different technique to loop this set of key-frames. We'll go to our end marker, will go back to our scene, and we'll add a marker here. Now we'll right-click and choose Enable Time Remapping. We'll now add a Keyframe at the end of our animation and at the beginning, and then will remove the very end keyframe and the start keyframe. Time remapping has a variety of users. The most common one is to stretch or squash the timing of animation within a pre-comp without changing the keyframes inside of that pre-comp. If you want an animation to play faster or slower than you had originally animated it, that you can adjust this by moving the time remapping keyframes on the pre-comp. The time is counted from the first keyframe at the beginning of the timeline that we just removed and the last keyframe which will also remove. We are adding our own keyframes and removing the first and last because we want to manipulate our animation from our start point to our endpoint. As we have created an animation that loops within our start and end points, we can now add a simple cycle loop expression to our keyframes, which will loop the animation within the pre-comp without having to add an expression to every layer within the pre-comp. Using fewer expressions make subsequent edits easier as you don't have to change each individual layer, and in many cases it will also reduce preview and render time. 7. Rotation Animation: We have some dials over here that we want to rotate. We'll add a rotation keyframe, will move forward 50 frames and will rotate this 90 degrees. We'll add a loop out ping-pong will copy this to the other layers. We'll add some easy ease. Will shift these back 10 frames. We'll copy this, including keyframes. We'll add these keyframes to these layers over here, will shift one of them back, and we'll have some tanning dials. 8. Track Matte: Now we'll be animating these tapes over here. First thing we want to do is apply this mask. We'll duplicate the mask, position it above all the tapes, and then we'll apply a alpha mattes. We'll also make these masks brown. I prefer brown as a layer color for masks, they fade into the background a little bit just like the background layers. Now we'll add a rotation of 100 frames of 365 degrees essentially. We'll just add a one to the beginning, and we'll add a cycle with this time, not a ping-pong. Copy the expression, apply it to the other tapes. I can see that this tape is slightly wobbling around, let's clean this up. That's it. That was quite a quick one. 9. Inverted Track Matte: Here we have some levers that we want to move. First thing will do, we will change the color of the layer to brown. You don't have to do that, but I prefer to do that. We'll then apply an Alpha Invented Matte. That erases everything that's within the matte and leaves everything visible that's outside of the matte. Now we'll reposition our anchor points, and we'll add some rotation. We'll move forward 50 frames, and we'll add minus 90 degrees to this one, and 90 degrees to this one. We'll add an Easy Ease and the Ping-pong loop. We'll move this one back 10 frames and that's it. We have some shifting levers. 10. Region of Interest and Replacing Layers: We have some bars over here, and the first thing that we want to do is pre-comp those by hitting Command or Control Shift c. We'll name this 010ba. The reason why I'm naming this b is because it's the second pre-comp in our scene, and a is because we will pre-comp this again later and it will sit within another comp, we'll immediately add a start marker, trim the comp, and as you can see, this comp is pretty large for what we've got in here, we will crop the region of interest. This means we're making the comp slightly smaller and we're just doing that visually by literally cropping what we can see here. We'll now go to composition and crop comp to region of interest. That means that within our scene, this layer has now moved. We'll just reposition that. We will duplicate it and shift it up, and we'll turn down the opacity to 10 percent. We can now turn off our reference bars, and these static bars will then act as our background bars. We will now duplicate this comp, and rename as running bars, and change the a to b. We'll duplicate this layer by having both the layer and the comp selected, we'll hit Alt and drag the layer over here. That means we have now replaced the layer with the comp in our project window without having to drag it in and then reposition it. That also means we'll have to bring this back up to 100 and we'll now animate these bars. Now I want to fit these bars in from 0-100. We will create an opacity key frame, set this to zero, and we'll move forward six different this time, move this back up to 100. We'll set this back to zero, and we'll add an easy ease to these key frames. We'll cut the layers by hitting Alt and Bracket bar, we'll now shift these layers four frames forward, there are plugins and scripts that you can use, but we'll just do this manually for now. We'll now move the end marker to the end of our first layer, we'll also add an additional marker to the end of the last layer. We'll now move out back into the scene. We'll add the same marker we've added inside, we'll check where our end marker is and also add this one. We'll change this one to start, and we'll crop out layer at the end marker. We'll now duplicate this and flip it horizontally, move it over here. That means our bars are now animating from left to right and back from right to left. We'll duplicate these bars and move them up here. We'll change the color of these so we can distinguish top and bottom. Let's make them blue, for instance, and now we'll pre-comp all of these bars again. We'll name that 010b running bars. We'll add a marker, we'll move the end marker to where our animation ends. We can crop the region of interest here, we don't have to seeing as we're no longer moving this, we might as well. We'll add an end marker. Since we've cropped, our comp, we'll have to move it back into position. We'll add a time remap, we'll add key frames to where our markers are set, remove the end and the start key frames, and we will add a cycle loop. Our bars are both running left to right simultaneously, we'll change that to make it a little bit more interesting, so we'll just swap the position of both of these around. Now they are running against each other. 11. Position Animation: Now we want to animate these keys over here. The first thing we want to do is add a position key-frame and after 20 frames, move these down slightly. We will want to create a typing motion. We will add some easy ease and a ping-pong loop. We'll shift these randomly. Now we have some typing keys. 12. Create Shapes from Vector Layer and Trim Path: Here we have two waves. First, let's apply the masks that we have set up here by using an Alpha matte. I will change the masks to brown. We will first animate this big wave, we'll do that by adding a position keyframe, move 50 fonts forward and shift this alone. we'll crop our work area to these two key frames. Now we can jump between the beginning and the end of our work area by holding shift and the home and end button. We can check if these frames of the same, they're not quite the same. We'll adjust the positioning a little bit. We will add a cycle loop to this. We will animate the small wave over here with a path animation. For that, we first need to create shapes from vector layer. We now have the same layer only that we can now manipulate the path of the layer, we'll delete the illustrator layer and we'll re-apply, the matte will now add a trim paths. We'll animate the stocks from 100-0. The end at this point from 100-0. We'll need to add hold frames for the start and the end. Otherwise they won't look together and they will eventually get out of sake. We will add a cycle loop to this and copy paste that onto the start. Now we have some moving waves also. 13. Path Animation and Null Objects: We'll be animating the computer screen now. We have two stages of this computer screen. We have the generating consciousness pulse, and we have the face that will be revealed once the consciousness has been generated. We want this to happen in the middle of our scene. Five seconds in, we'll have the face appear. We'll just cut these layers over here. We don't need them before hand, so we'll just trim them to when they are going to come in. The reason why we've cut the face layers here is this reduces preview and render time and it is much clearer to understand which layers are currently on screen and which ones we can ignore. The face layers we can ignore up until this point. Now, let's focus on the generating bar. We will want to animate this by filling up. We'll create shapes from this vector layer, we'll remove the vector layer. Something that can sometimes happen when you create shapes is you get a group within a group and an additional match path. We'll just remove these, and then we'll highlight these paths and add a keyframe. Since we have all the paths highlighted, we only need to click the stop watch once and it will add a keyframe to all the other paths. We'll move this to the beginning of our scene and we'll now animate the paths to fill up. We'll add a 75 percent velocity here. This means it will start animating in quickly and then it slows down to a very smooth stop. We'll set a marker here, so we know that this is the middle of our scene and this is when the face will come in. We want to fit these lands out. We'll add an opacity keyframe here, and 50 frames later, it will be at zero. We'll add an easy is to that.. We want the same for the face screen. We can just copy these keyframes and paste them onto the screen. Now as the generating consciousness type fades out, the face fits in. What we want to do now is animate this face a little bit and give it a little bit of character, so we'll be animating these irises. But since we're animating them together, they'll never move separately. We can just parent them to a null objects. We'll create a null object by hitting "Command or Control, Shift Alt wide", move it above our irises, trim it and rename it immediately so I call it control face iris always name your layers. Otherwise you might lose track of which null object shape layer of solid does what, so It's very important to keep your naming clean. Reposition it to an approximate center between the two objects and parent them with the peak width. Now we can add our keyframes to the controller rather than to two separate layers. We'll add a position keyframe here, 50 frames later. We'll move it down somewhere around here, we'll have a whole frame of 50 frames, 50 frames later we'll have it maybe look at the bird over here. We'll add a frame again, and towards the end, it will go back to its original position. We will add a 75 percent velocity to this. Now let's scale the mouth up and down. We'll start with 150 frames later, it will scale down to 90 percent, will add an easy ease and a ping-pong loop. We'll shift the mouth back 20 frames so it's a little bit more dynamic and not everything is animating at the same time. We'll do the same with the eyebrows that we've done earlier, we'll create a null object and we'll animate the brows going up and down as the face looks around. At the whole frame, it will just move back down so we can copy both of these, paste them, and do the same over here. We'll add a 75 percent velocity again, and we'll move these keyframes back to the beginning of our layers and copy one more keyframe. Now, we want our entire scene to loop, so we want the last frame to match the first frame. This is our first frame, so we can see that there's generated consciousness here. At our last frame, we can see the face. We want the generating consciousness bow to fade back in. We'll copy these frames and time-reverse keyframes, move them back into position and do the same with the other fades. Now as we can see, that generating consciousness bar is in a different position here. What we want to do, we'll copy the first keyframes, paste them over here, highlight both of these and toggle hold frame. That means our bar still animates in, but as soon as we do not see it anymore, it jumps back to our first key frames, so once we see it again, it's our first position. Now let's fade in the slide over here. We'll add an opacity keyframe and fade it in from 0-100 over 20 frames, 10 frames later, we'll create a bit of a bounce. We bounce the light down to 80 frames and 20 frames later back to 100. We'll now click on these key frames with command or control held and ease this one. We'll fade the slide out over 20 frames again. Let's check the beginning and the end of our scene. We have one little mistake here as you can see, the mouth pops in just before the screen fades out, so we want to cut this, so it doesn't do that. Now we have some consciousness being generated and our screen popping in. 14. Finalisation: The last thing we want to do is animate these gauges over here. We will want to reposition the anchor points and add a rotation key-frame. Fifty frames later. We'll rotate this one minus 90 degrees and this one 90 degrees. We'll [inaudible] them and add a ping-pong look. Now let's check our animation. It looks like this at the beginning of our scene, and it looks like this at the end of our scene. Now you notice that our running boss over here, don't match our animation. But luckily, as we set it up as a time remap, we can now take this key-frame and move it over to the center of our animation. This now means the animation finishes here and start sloping from that point onward. Now the beginning of our scene and the end of our scene match. That means it will now loop endlessly. As I explained earlier, time remap works in such a fashion, that by dragging the key-frames where you've added the time remap to, it stretches and squashes the timing of the animation within the comp. It doesn't change the comp inside. It doesn't change the key-frames inside. It just speeds up the animation from the outside. So that's what we've done here. Now we have a fully looking scene. In the next part, I'll talk to you about how to render out your scene, and explain a little bit about codecs and containers. 15. Render Settings: The last thing we want to do is render out our animation as a video. You want to check that your work area is cropped to the start and the end of your animation as we've set the markers over here, and added to the Adobe Media Encoder Brenda Q, by hitting "Command" or "Control alt N". According to Adobe, the render queue within after effects is becoming increasingly obsolete. Adobe is focusing on media encoder being the main renderer. I only ever render out of media encoder unless I want to render a video with an Alpha channel, which is still only possible directly out of after effects. Additionally, this way of rendering allows you to continue working with an after effect while you are rendering in the background through media encoder. You have a bunch of presets on the left side over here, this window might be in a different place for you depending on your workspace setup, but if you decide to render out a YouTube video, you have a bunch of settings over here, or Vimeo, you have a bunch of presets over here and so on. Your render specifications depend entirely on what you want to use your video for. If you want to upload it online, create a gift, send it via mobile, projected on a wall, etc, different specs will impact on quality and size of the file. You can also create your own preset like I have over here. We can then apply this preset by dragging it onto our file, or we can have the file highlighted and double-click on the "Preset". We have a whole bunch of options in the export settings over here, from formats to codecs and so on. What is called a format in media encoder can also be referred to as a container. That is the name that you see after the full stop, like.mp4 in this case, or.MOV. I generally stick to quick-time, which is.MOV or H264, which is dot mp4 as a format. The second one, the H264 MP4, is an Internet video standard. Once you've picked your container, you can choose your codec. As you can see, quick-time has a whole bunch of codecs. H264 is one of them. H264 is the most common codec with a high compression rate. This means you get a small file size, but might have to compromise on picture quality. Its also the standard for online video. The same setting with a quick-time.MOV container and a H264 codec, will render a slightly higher resolution, but also a larger file compared to a H264 MP4. Some sites might also have difficulty uploading this combo or take longer converting it. Like I mentioned, H264 MP4 is the Internet standard. You can then also play with the bit rate settings. A higher bit rate means a higher resolution, but also a bigger file size. You can learn more about this in the video, how codecs work by David Kong. I will link to it in the description. These check marks over here mean that you're taking over what after effect send to media encoder. Changing the width or height of your video. You're not changing the frame rate, you're leaving all of the settings that you set in after effects and rendering them with those settings. You can however change these settings. You can just untick this and make the videos smaller, render it out in a different frame rate and so on. At this point, we want to choose our render folder. I usually have one at the top level of my projects, where I render out all of my videos. We want to name this video. Always version your videos. This version would be version 01. If I want to make changes, if something went wrong, the next version would be VO2, version 02. We can render the video by hitting "Start q". You can also save your own presets. Lets assume we want to render this out as a mauve instead of a mp4. We can do that by changing the format to quick-time, we'll change the codec to H264. We'll just take these check-marks, because we don't want to change the frame rate or any other option in here. You might want to up the bit rate, or you can just leave this off and it will choose a high bit rate as we have set the quality to 100 over here. To save the preset, you go save presets, you give it a name. I generally take both of these and hit "Okay" and you can render this out in a quick-time dot MOV. That's it, thanks for watching, hope to see you next time. 16. Outro: This concludes our class. Today we learned how to animate a multi-stat screen using loops and time remapping. I hope this was useful to you and you also had some fun. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment, we really appreciate your input. Thank you for taking this class and see you soon in part two.