The Beginner's Guide to Animating Custom GIFs | Jake Bartlett | Skillshare

The Beginner's Guide to Animating Custom GIFs

Jake Bartlett, Motion Designer

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9 Lessons (36m)
    • 1. Course Trailer

      0:39
    • 2. Getting Started

      8:55
    • 3. The Plane's Position

      11:07
    • 4. The Plane's Rotation

      2:33
    • 5. The Heart

      4:30
    • 6. The Clouds

      2:06
    • 7. The Text

      3:00
    • 8. Saving a GIF

      2:40
    • 9. Congratulations!

      0:29
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About This Class

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This is the quick and easy total beginner’s guide to getting up and running in Adobe After Effects. No experience necessary! I’ll show you how to use the tools inside of the program, animate your design into a loop, and export a GIF in Photoshop to share with your friends!

This course is for anyone interested in motion design. Maybe you're a graphic designer who has always wanted to turn one of your pieces into an animated GIF, or maybe you've never even considered design before but thought animation always looked like something you'd enjoy! Whatever the case may be, this class will get you up and running in the world of motion graphics!

And if you are interested in getting into the world motion graphics, this class is a great stepping stone to my other After Effects courses. So be sure to check those out too!

The Ultimate Guide to Kinetic Type in After Effects
The Ultimate Guide to Shape Layers in After Effects

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Class Outline

  • Create custom .gif files. In this detailed class, Jake will teach you everything you need to know in After Effects to design and create animated GIF files. With the help of his step-by-step instructions, you can quickly learn how to become an animator as Jake walks you through his own animated videos and shows you exactly how he created them.
  • Making your own. You will be encouraged to create your own animated GIF, something similar to the demonstration example, or wildly original. If you get stuck, you can ask Jake questions on his class discussion page, and when you are finished, you can post your final product for constructive community feedback.
  • Setting up your workspace. You’ll learn exactly how (and why) Jake organizes his After Effects layout so that you can start your animation project on the right foot. Jake will demonstrate how to import Illustrator files and how to create new compositions of individual layers to make sure you are always moving in the right direction.
  • Animating layers. After breaking down his file into layers, Jake will discuss how he is able to move individual objects while keeping his background art locked. He will show you how to work with frame-by-frame animation to keep the process simple and your animation smooth.
  • Working with keyframes. A keyframe is a set of recorded values at a given point in time. You’ll learn how to set keyframes, and to use them properly to perfectly animate your object as it moves through space.
  • Learning your toolkit. Jake will explore all of the After Effects tools at your disposal, and talk you through how and when to use them. You’ll leave Jake’s lessons with a clearer understanding of your electronic toolkit, and how it can help maximize your creativity and smooth the animation of your GIF.
  • Rotating objects as they move. You will learn to use keyframes to rotate your design objects and make them appear to move more naturally. Jake will go into detail to make sure that you know the steps you should take to ensure that your object’s every rotation is easy and smooth.
  • Animating your background. Jake will teach you what a “shape layer” is, and when to use your initial art as a reference point as you work inside After Effects and create dynamic new designs. You’ll also learn how to animate new objects, adjusting their appearance over time to create maximum impact.
  • Combining layers. Using Jake’s tips, you will group layers together to create new “precompositions” of existing design objects that you can apply animated effects on. You’ll also come away from Jake’s lesson with a better understanding of the tweaks you can use to avoid common challenges, and how to scrub your work to ensure that it animates correctly.
  • Saving your animation as a GIF. Jake will discuss how to loop your animation to keep your designs coherent as you export them out of After Effects. He also will share his secret tricks to keep your GIF moving exactly as you designed it, no matter what program it ends up in.

Transcripts

1. Course Trailer: Hey. I'm Jake Bartlett and I'm going to teach you how to animate your own custom GIFs. In this course, you'll learn everything you need to know to get up and running in After Effects even if you've never opened the software before. You'll be designing and animating your own GIF or if you'd rather jump straight into animation, you can use my source files and just follow along as I walk you through how to recreate my own animation. This is a quick introductory course for anyone looking to get into motion graphics or for someone just looking to have a little bit of fun and add some motion to their design. Once you're finished, you'll be able to enroll in some of my more advanced courses. I'll see you in class. 2. Getting Started: The first thing we need to do is open up After Effects, let that load. I'll go ahead and close out of this welcome screen and I've set my workspace back to the default that comes with After Effects the first time you open it. If yours doesn't look the same as mine, just come right up to here and click on this drop-down and make sure you have standard selected, and if it is selected and yours still doesn't look the same as mine, come down here and say Reset Standard and then just say Yes to reset the layout. This is After Effects. The first thing that we need to do is bringing our artwork. If you come over to the project panel, this is where all of the assets we import and create inside of after effects live. If I right-click in this project panel and I go down to import and then file, this will open up my finder and I can navigate to where my artwork is. I'll select the artwork and then come down here and hit "Open." Now, After Effects recognizes that this is an illustrator file and that it has layers. So I'm going to change the import kind from footage to composition, and I'm going to make sure that the footage dimensions are set to layer size. Then I'll hit "Okay." Now that artwork is imported as a composition and it's created this folder that has all of the different layers of our artwork, I'll close that backup. Now that we have our artwork, we need to make a new composition. I'll go up to composition, new composition. These are our composition settings. I want to change the width and the height. But first, I'm going to uncheck this box that locks the width and the height together. Then I'll change the width by clicking on the blue numbers once and typing in 800, and then I'll click once on the height numbers and type in 600. Then I want to change the frame rate. Right now it's set to 29.97, but I want to change it. I'll click on this little drop-down and change it to 30. Then I'll come down to my duration and change these numbers from 30 seconds to 10 seconds. Then I'll press "Okay." Now we have a new composition named Comp 1 and it's automatically open in our composition viewer. This is our workspace. Everything that we create will be showing up inside of our composition. Next, I want to bring our artwork into this composition. I'll come over to the project panel and then click and drag our GIF-Artwork composition into our Comp 1 composition. As I do this, you'll see that it snaps to the center of the comp. That's what I want. I'm going to go to the center and then let go. Now we can see our artwork. Before we go any further, you might notice that your artwork looks a little bit fuzzy. That's because we're looking at the composition at 50 percent resolution, and that automatically bumps the resolution down by half. But if we click on this half and change into full, everything's much cleaner. We'll leave it at full resolution just so we have a clearer image. Now, in order to animate this artwork, we need to be able to access the layers individually. Right now, we just have a single layer of our GIF-Artwork composition. But if I double-click on this layer, it opens up that composition and we can see the individual layers. Now, I want to bring in the heart, the biplane, and the cloud layers into our other composition. I'll click once on the heart layer, hold down Shift on the keyboard, and then click on the cloud right layer, and that selects everything between those two layers. Then I'll copy these layers by going to Edit, Copy. I'll go back to Comp 1, and then say Edit, Paste. The next thing I want to do is add a blue background, because the blue background we're seeing right now is just coming from our artwork comp. I'm going to go to Layer, New, Solid. Then I'll move this window over a little bit, and down here in the color section, I'll click once on the eye dropper, and then I'll click once on the blue background. That sets my solids layer to be that same blue. I'll hit "Okay," and now we have a new layer that's that same blue color. Then I'll click and drag this layer below all of the artwork layers but above the GIF-Artwork composition. I want to rename this layer by having it selected and then pressing the Return or Enter key on the keyboard, and I'll name it background and then press "Enter." Next, I want to lock that layer so I don't accidentally move it around. If you look down here in the timeline window, there's a bunch of different icons above our layers. This one right here will lock your layer. If I come down to this box and click on it, it locks that layer and I can't move it around accidentally. Now we need to add our text. If I come up and click on the Text Tool, that will automatically open up our character palette and our paragraph palette. Now, you can reposition any panel with an After Effects. I'd like to put my character and paragraph pallets together. To do that, you just click and drag on the panel's title. I'll do that with my character palette and bring it down to my paragraph palette right here. Now those two are docked together. Now with my Text Tool selected, I will click once inside of my composition over top of these clouds. Now we can type out the texts that I want. I'll just type out my text, and then switch back to my selection tool to save my text. Now let's change the color of the text, and I'll do that by coming to my character palette and clicking on this eyedropper. Then I'll click on the background color, so it's the same blue. You can see that the color is reflected in the fill icon. Then I want to change the font to coming over here where it says Helvetica, clicking once and then typing in the name of the font that I want. What I'm switching to is called nevis, and I'll hit "Enter." I also want to make my text all caps. I'll move my mouse right between these two panels until it switches to this icon. Then I'll click and drag, and you'll see that we have more options in our character palette. This one right here will convert my texts to all caps. Then another thing I want to do is center my text. I'm going to go over to my paragraph palette, and this icon right here will center my text on the text layer. Then I can come up and click and drag to reposition this layer. But I want to be a little bit more accurate than just clicking and dragging. I'll open up another panel by going to Window and then to Align. This panel lets me line up my layers based on points of the composition. This icon right here will let me center the layer horizontally in the composition. If I click on that, the layer snaps to the center. Now, it wasn't very off-centered, so you didn't see much of a change. I'll go ahead and just move it off center, and then click it again, and you see that it snaps to the center of the composition. Now it's centered horizontally, but I want to move it down a little bit. But if I click and drag, it's very easy to accidentally move left and right. I'll undo that by going to Edit, Undo, then I will click and drag, and before I let go, hold down the Shift key. Now, no matter how much I move the mouse, it will only move vertically or horizontally based off of the original position of the layer. I want to move it down just a little bit and now it's still centered horizontally and I was able to move it down just a little bit. Now I will go back to my character palette. If we look over at this window, you'll notice another thing about After Effects is interface. Because we have so many pallets in this panel, you can't see all of the word Character on the character palette. But if you look directly above these pallets, there's this tiny little scroll bar. If I click and drag that, we can get back over to our character palette, click on it, and now we have our controls again. I want to scale down this text just a little bit. That's what this section of the pallete is for. If I click and drag on this blue number, left and right, you see that that's affecting the size of the text. I'll drag it down until it's around probably 24 pixels. Now we want to change the spacing between the letters so that it's wider. If I come down to this section right here, this is called the tracking, and if I click and drag left and right on this number, you'll see that that changes the spacing between all of the letters of my text layer. I want to change this value to an exact number. I'm going to click once on that number and then type in 100. Then I'll hit "Enter," and now my text is smaller and spaced out more, but that sizing down changes the position of the text. I want to move it up a little bit, but this time we'll use a little bit different method. With the text selected, if I tap the up arrow on the keyboard, it will move the text up a little bit at a time, and I can do the same thing with the down arrow and the left and right arrows. I'll move this back up to where I want it, and then I'll deselect it by clicking in this gray area where there are no other layers. Now we have all of our elements laid out so that we can start animating. 3. The Plane's Position: Now that we're ready to animate, I want to give ourselves a little bit more workspace. So I'm going to close the Character palette by clicking on these three little lines and saying, ''Close panel group.'' That will close all three of the palettes that were in that panel. I also want to hide these switches because we don't need to deal with them right now. To do that, I'll come down to this little icon that's selected blue and click on it once. The first thing I want to animate is the airplane. I'll go ahead and lock all of the other layers so I can just focus on the airplane. I'll click the Lock switch in all the different layers that I need to be locked and then I can actually get rid of this GIF artwork layer because we don't need it anymore. I'll select it and then I'll just press ''Delete.'' Now I can very easily click and grab that airplane without worrying about accidentally selecting anything else. The start of this animation, we want the airplane to be off-screen, come in, do a loop around the heart, and then fly right back out. Right now all we use is hard Outline as a guide for our motion of the airplane. Right now, our timeline is being displayed in seconds and if you remember, we set our composition to be 10 seconds long. So that's what all these markers represent. For this project it'll make things simpler if we read this timeline in frames rather than in seconds. If I come over to the timeline readout right here and hold down Command or Control on a PC and click once, it will switch from displaying the time in seconds to displaying time in frames and that's what we want. At the start of the animation the airplane is going to be off-screen. So making sure that I have the Selection Tool selected, I will click and drag the Airplane down below the clouds. The first problem, is that the airplane is not going behind the clouds and the reason that's happening is because the airplane layer is above the cloud's layers. If I click and drag this layer down below the clouds, now you see that it goes behind them and that's exactly what we want. I'll bring this down to right about here. That's what I want the airplane to start. Animation inside of After Effects is done with what are called key-frames. A key-frame is just a set of recorded values at a given point in time. I want to set a key-frame for the position value of the airplane layer at this frame of the zero, so that After Effects knows at frame 0, this is where the airplane should be. I can expand this layer by clicking on this little triangle and then we see transform. If I expand that, we'll see different properties for that layer. Right now all we need to worry about is the position. These little stopwatch icons next to all these values are what let you set key-frames. If I click on the Stop watch for the position value, that's telling After Effects at frame 0, position the airplane right here. Then I want to move forward 25 frames and I'll do that by clicking and dragging on my Play-head. As I click and drag this, you'll see that numbers here and here representing the frame number change. So if I go until it's on framed 25, I'll then click and drag on this layer and bring it up to the base of the heart. Now you'll see this trail it's going between the two position values. If I click and drag this playhead again, you'll see that now our airplane is animating between those two points automatically. That's because when we move the airplane on frame 25, it automatically set a new position value for wherever I let go off the mouse. Then After Effects filled in the gap between those two points for every frame between 0 and 25 and that's what each one of these dots represents, a position value between those two keyframes. Now I'll click and drag this ''Playhead frame 50'' and move the airplane up to right about here and you'll see that our trail is extended to the third point. I'll move to frame 75, reposition the airplane to this point right here, then I'll advance to frame 100, and I'll move the airplane to the left side, then I'll go to frame 125. This time, I want the airplane to be in the exact same spot as this key-frame. If I actually click on this point, you see that it automatically selected the key-frame that that point represents in the timeline. I'm going to copy this key-frame by going to ''Edit,'' saying, ''Copy,'' and I want to paste it on this 125th frame by going to'' Edit, paste.'' Now that position value is applied to that point in time as well. Then I'll move to frame 150. Then I'll click and drag the ''Airplane'' off in the opposite direction that it came in. Now if I click and drag the Playhead you'll see that we have a very basic motion around that loop but we've still got a little ways to go. Now we need to add some keyframes between some of the ones that we've already set. I want to move about halfway between these two keyframes. Then I'll select this key-frame, which represents this position value, and copy it by going to ''Edit'' ''Copy'' and then paste it. I'm going to ''Edit" "Paste.'' Since I still have the key-frame copied, I'm going to go about halfway between these two keyframes and do the same thing, edit, paste this keyframes value is spread out over three different key frames. Then I'll move back to frame 75 over top of this key-frame. If your playhead is over a key-frame and then you edit the value of that key-frame, the key-frame data is updated. With my playhead over this key-frame, I'm going to click and drag and hold Shift so that it only moves in a vertical axis and move it down to the base of this little loop. Now we have all of the position value set for the animation through these keyframes. You can see that position mapped out through this trail. This trail is actually called a motion path and it's similar to the way that paths work inside of illustrator. These points are just points in Illustrator and the motion path between them behaves the same way as a path would in illustrator. So if I click on one of these points, you'll see that handles appear on either side of the point. If I click and drag one of these handles, I can modify the motion path is curve. What I want to do is make this motion path roughly line up with the outline of the heart. So I'll click and drag on this handle as well and modify it so that it matches up with the heart a little bit more and I'll do the same thing on this side. I'll click on the point, then grab a handle, click and drag, and then make it line up a little bit. I can't see this part of the heart, so I want to hide this cloud layer. I'll do that by clicking on the little eyeball on the cloud right layer. Now I can see my outline better. I'll roughly line this up. Then I see another handle right here, so I'll click and drag on that and line it up a little bit more. Then down here, I want to edit this handle so the curve can fit the heart just a little bit more and I'll just continue doing this until the motion path lines up with the heart a little bit better. That's pretty good. Now let's work on this little hoop area. Now it's a little hard to see at this level, so I'm going to zoom in on the composition by clicking on this ''Drop-down'' and changing it to 100 percent. Now if I go to the ''Hand tool'' and then click and drag, I can reposition my composition Window, right about here is good. Then I want to add a curve to this motion path at this point so that it follows this loop. But if I go to my Selection Tool and click on this Key-frame, you can see that no handles are coming off of it at that point. There are handles up here, but not where I need to edit them. To create a handle when there aren't any, we're going to switch to the Pen Tool, which is this icon right here and you'll see that the icon switches from the pen to the Vertex Tool when you hover over a point. If I click and drag, you'll see that adds handles. I'm going to go ahead and make this a little bit wider than that loop, and then I'll switch back to my Selection Tool and adjust these handles a little bit more, so that this path that just a little bit smoother. Then I'll continue modifying my paths until I'm happy with it. I'll zoom back out to 50 percent so I have a little bit more room to work. If the path isn't lining up the way that you want it to, you can even click and drag on that position point and reposition it. Again, when I clicked on that point, the key-frame that it represents was automatically selected. So that's a good way to visualize what you're editing when you click on something. Now you don't have to worry about being too exactly with this, so long as the airplane covers up the loop as it's animating over it. If you've ever used editing software, you're probably used to being able to just hit the space bar and play back the footage After Effects does not work that way. If I go to frame 0 and press Space bar, it does advance, but you see this red numbers over here that are telling you it's not playing back in real time. That's because After Effects processes things in a different way than editing software does. To play something back in real time inside of After Effects, we have to do what's called a RAM preview. That will actually calculate every frame, render that sequence, and then play it back for you. To do this for a certain portion of your sequence, you can set what's called a work area. This bar with the blue ends on either side is your work area. If I click and drag this Blue bar, that's changing the out-point for the work area. If I click and drag in this one that's changing the in-point. Whatever is between these two points is what will be previewed when you do a RAM preview. I want to set the in-point to zero and then change the out-point to 150. This is a little bit difficult to do by hand, so what I like to do is move my playhead to the frame that I want to set the out to, then click and drag the out- point while holding Shift and it will snap to that playhead. Now that I have my work area selected, I'm going to come over to my preview panel and this last icon on the right is called my RAM preview. If I click on it, it will process all of the frames and then start playing it back in real time. This is a preview of what the speed and motion of our animation will look like. So far, we're looking pretty good. You might notice that the motion is a little bit choppy at points in our animation, but After Effects has a really cool feature that will automatically smooth that motion out for us. If I come down to the timeline and click and drag, I can make a selection around all the keyframes between the first and last keyframes. Then I will right-click on one of them and click on ''Rove across time.'' That will change the way that the keyframes look. But it will also space out all the key-frame so that there's a consistent speed between each one of these points. If I click and drag on this second key-frame, you'll see that all the keyframes between are proportionately spacing between the two. If you look at the motion path, you'll see that more or less points are being added or taken away as I do this. So if there are more points on a motion path, the animation will be moving slower, and if there are less, the animation will be moving faster. But I want to leave this frame 150 so that our animation is preserved. Now if we RAM preview, you'll see that our airplane is now moving in a consistent speed throughout the entire animation and that's exactly what I wanted. 4. The Plane's Rotation: Now our position animation is complete, but it doesn't make much sense for an airplane to be moving this way, so we need to animate the rotation as well. I'm going to back up my timeline to the point where the airplane is first touching the heart rate there. To change the rotation value, I'm actually going to turn my layer switches back on by clicking on this icon. Now you can see all the different values for the transform properties of the airplane layer, I want to change the rotation value. So I will click and drag on this number here until my airplane is rotated to where I want it to be. I want the nodes to be pointed in the direction of the motion, so I'll leave it right about there and then I'm going to set a keyframe by clicking on the stopwatch. Then I'll move forward to rate around where this next keyframe is, and then I'll adjust the value again by clicking and dragging on this number until it's rotated where I want it to be. Again, you'll see that the second keyframe is automatically generated, then I'm going to move down to right here and I'll rotate it even further. Once I get my airplane rotated where I want it to be, I want to point out. That because I went passed 360 degrees, we now have a negative one in front of the value. That's telling you that the airplane has rotated in entire revolution and the degrees have been set back to zero. Next, I'll move forward in time until it's right about here, and then I'll change my rotation, making sure to continue in the negative direction until it's right about where I want it. Then I'll move forward in time until about here, change my rotation again, and that looks pretty good. Let's preview that animation. This is looking pretty good, but in the same way that we smooth out the position animation, I want to smooth out the rotation, we'll do that a little bit differently this time. I'm going to select my last keyframe, hold down shift and select my first keyframe, then right-click, go to "Keyframe Assistant", and then select "Easy Ease", this will automatically ease the motion in and out of both of those keyframes. Then I'm going to make a selection around the three keyframes in the middle and hold down command or control on a PC and click "Once." Now instead of diamonds, our keyframes are represented by circles, and that just moves out the motion a little bit between those keyframes. So if I run preview one more time, now our airplane is moving in a much smoother motion. 5. The Heart: Now that our airplane is animated, let's animate the heart on. I'm going to go ahead and collapse this layer by clicking on this little arrow, and then locking it, and then I'll unlock the heart layer. Now, in order to animate the heart in the way that I want to, we have to do something that's a little bit more advanced, but I'll walk you through it step-by-step. I'll right click on my layer and then scroll down towards the bottom where you see Create Shapes from Vector Layer. That automatically hides the layer and creates a shape layer. A shape layer is aftereffects version of vector artwork. This shape that I created inside of Illustrator is now being represented exactly the same inside of aftereffects. It has the same color and the same stroke width, but now it's editable inside of aftereffects. I want to turn this solid line into a dashed line. To do that, I'll expand the layer, go into the contents, into group 1, open up stroke 1, and then scroll down a little bit until I see dashes. Then I'll press this little plus icon to add a dash, and I'll press it one more time to add a gap. Now, it's a little bit hard to see right now. If I go up to view and I uncheck show layer controls, now I can just see my path. I want to increase the dash size to 12. If I click once on this number and type in 12 and press ''Enter'', now my dashes are a little bit longer. Then I need a little bit more of a gap between the dashes, so I'll click and drag this number until it's about where I want it to be. That's pretty good. Now, if I zoom into 100 percent and I grab the hand tool and reposition this down a little bit, you'll see that this dash isn't perfectly centered. But there's an easy way to fix that. If I scroll down just a little bit more, you'll see under my dashes, there's an offset value. If I click and drag this value, you can see that the dashes are being shifted around that path. If I adjust this a little bit, I can get it to be centered just the way that I want it. I'll zoom back out to 50 percent and reposition my window just a little bit. Next, I want to animate this path as the airplane is going over it. I'll close out my dashes, scroll up, close the stroke, scroll up a little bit more, and then over here next to add, if I click on this icon, I get a drop down menu, and I want to add a trim paths operator. I'll click on that, and now we see trim paths. I'll move my play head back to where the airplane would start the trail, open up the trim paths, and then I'll change the value of the end property down to zero. As I adjust this number, you can see that the path is being trimmed. I'll set a key frame on the end property, and then I'll move forward in time until the airplane would be where the trail ends. Then I'll change the value to 100 percent, and second keyframe is automatically generated. If I by scrub through the timeline, you can see that the path is being animated in line with the airplane. That's exactly what we want. But the trails should not be on top of the airplane. I'll collapse my trim paths, collapse the layer, and then click and drag the layer below the biplane layer. Now, it's rendering below the airplane and being revealed as the airplane goes over it. Then I'll open the heart layer again, this time I'll go into the stroke, and then I want to go back to the first keyframe, the trim paths. I'll move my play head to that point, and I'll set up keyframe for the stroke width. Then I'm going to go all the way to frame 150 and change the value of the stroke width to make my dashes thicker, right around there. Now the stroke width is being animated over time. It goes from being thinner to thicker. I'm going to change the start value to be a little bit thinner, something more around five, and now we'll just start off a little bit thinner and animates over time. Finally, for this heart, I will close up the stroke, and the group, and the contents, and expand the transform. I'll back up to about frame 130, and I will set an opacity key frame, and then I'll move back to 150, and turn the opacity down to zero. Let's preview all that. Now, our heart trails animating on. The width is animating over time and it fades out at the end of the animation. 6. The Clouds: Next, let's animate the clouds. I'll collapse this heart layer and I'll go ahead and lock it. Then I will unlock the right and left cloud layers and turn the cloud right layer back on. Then I'll go to the beginning of the animation. Then I'll go up to view and turn my Show Layer controls back on. Then I'll reposition this cloud layer so it's a little bit off screen. Then I'll hold down shift and click on the second cloud layer in on the keyboard, I will press the P key, and that brings up the position value of both layers. You can see that right here. All I want animate it as a position value of these two layers so that's all I need to worry about. I'll set a keyframe for each position value. Then I'll move halfway through the animation frames 75. Then I'll move my left cloud into the right by tapping the right arrow key on the keyboard a few times. I'll grab my right cloud and tap the left arrow key a few times. Now my clouds are just moving very slowly towards the center of the composition. Then I'll move my playhead to frame 150. Copy this keyframe by going to edit, copy, and pasting it. Then doing the same for the second cloud. Now my clouds move in and out. Then I'll select all six keyframes by dragging a box around them. Then right-click on one of the keyframes, go to keyframe assistant and do easy ease. That's looking pretty good. Now you'll notice that the airplane goes behind both clouds throughout this animation. That's fine for this cloud, but I want to put it above this cloud. To do that, I'll select the cloud on the left and drag it below the biplane layer. Now the airplane goes behind the first cloud and in front of the second cloud. 7. The Text: Now let's animate the text at the bottom, along with the Clouds at the bottom. I'll collapse these two layers properties and lock them both, and then I'll unlock the Clouds bottom layer and the text layer. Now I want to combine these two layers into one. To do that, I'll click on the Text Layer and then hold Command or Control on a PC and click on the Clouds bottom layer. Now with both layers selected, I'm going to go to Layer and all the way to the bottom and click on Pre-compose. This will group the two layers together in a new composition. I'm going to name this layer clouds and text. Then I'll press ''OK'', and you'll see that now we have a layer name, clouds and text. If I double-click on it, you'll see our two original layers are now inside of it, in the same position as they were in our original composition. I'll go back to our original composition and now I'm going to apply an effect at this layer. If we come over to the Effects and Presets panel and click on this little search bar, I'm going to type in the word wave and scroll down until I see the effect called Wave Warp. I will drag this out onto the layer, and we'll see effects controls pop up in this panel over here. Right away you'll see that we've got some weird distortion going on in this layer. This effect warps your layer in a wave pattern and automatically animates it. If I scrub through it right now, you can see that the wave pattern is being applied. But we need to tweak some of the settings to get it to animate the way that I want it to. First of all, I'm going to turn the wave width way up to something really high. Actually, I'm just going to click once and type in the number 200. Now our wave is much wider and you can actually read the text. But the waves are a little bit too tall, so I'm going to change the wave height down to two. Now it's a much more subtle effect. If I ran preview this, you'll get a better idea of what's happening. It's looking pretty good, but I'd like to slow it down a little bit and if you notice at the very end of the animation, you can actually see beneath the Cloud layer, right about here. So we need to fix that problem as well. First, let's start with the speed. Over the effects palette I'm going to change the wave speed from 1-0.4. That will slow down the wave speed just a little bit. Now to fix the problem of being able to see through the Clouds, with the layer selected, I'm just going to tap the down arrow on the keyboard a few times to reposition the Clouds just enough so that you don't see that gap anymore. If I ran preview this, you can see that our animation is now complete. Just like that, you have a nice animation that we can turn into a GIF. The very last thing we need to do before we export, is change the quality of the wave warp from low to high. If you come over to the effects palette and just click on this drop-down, you can change it from low to high. Now the quality of that warp, will just look a little bit better. 8. Saving a GIF: Now to turn this animation into a GIF, we have to export it from After Effects. But before we export, there's something important we need to notice, because our animation starts and ends at the exact same point. We actually want to take off one frame of the animation, so that when it loops the same frame isn't displayed at the end as it is at the beginning. To do that, I'll move my play head to frame 149 and then set my work area by clicking and dragging and holding shift. So in the same way that the work area determines how much is going to be RAM previewed, its also going to determine how much to export from your sequence. With my work area set, I'm going to go to composition, add to render queue, and that will open up the render queue panel, and we can read the render settings and output module to what they're already set to a default, and then just change the output to value, and this is where After Effects will save your export. I'm just going to put mine on the desktop and name it AirplaneLoop, I'll hit ''Save'', and now all I have to do to export is click the ''Render button'', After Effects will play through your animation as it's exporting it, give you that nice chime that'll let you know that it exported without any errors. Then I can go down to my desktop and see my QuickTime File, and play it back, there you go, that's how single loop QuickTime File from After Effects. Now, to turn this into a GIF, I'm going to open it up inside of Photoshop, so open up Photoshop, go to file, open, and open up my AirplaneLoop, and you see that we have a timeline now in Photoshop that lets us scrub through our animation. Now, all we have to do is go to file, save for web, and once your animation loads in this dialogue, we just have to change a few settings. I'm going to choose GIF 128 dithered, leave all the settings the way that they are, and then change my image size from 800 by 600, to 400 by 300, I'm going to let that update. Then it's very important that you remember to change the looping options from once to forever, that way your GIF will loop when it's loaded, and I'll click on ''Save'', and again I'll put it on the desktop, click on ''Save'', and now I have a looping GIF. 9. Congratulations!: All right. You've finished this course by now you should have something that looks a whole lot like my animation or something completely original. Be sure that you post what you made in the project page so I can see what you came up with. If you have any questions at any point in this course, any trouble you're going through, I'm here to help just post a discussion on the discussions page and I'll get back to you. Thank you so much for taking this course and be sure to check out my other ones.