How to improve animation with Adobe's Premiere Pro

The difference between Bezier and linear keyframes may mean the difference between dynamic or flat animation.


Ant Pruitt

When it comes to video editing in Adobe's Premiere Pro software, a myriad of tools and effects exist to help make videos shine including animation with text or objects. Unfortunately, most beginners fail to harness the power of smooth animations in Premiere Pro and end up with animations that are jerky or abrupt. 

Here's how to make those animations smoother. 

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Setting up keyframe animations

Before deciding to animate text or an object in your video footage, consider the path you'd like the graphics, text, or images to take as the video plays. In my example, I'll use simple text. I want to display the text to rise from below the frame and up into the lower third of the frame. The key to making this animation look better is the Bezier movement of the object that's created versus the typical linear movement. 

Bezier versus linear

Using keyframes to animate text or objects that move on top of your video footage will set your animations apart from beginner video editors. When you use a linear keyframe, the action between the two points on the timeline moves at a constant rate. Bezier uses a ramping speed in between points. See the screenshot below (Figure A) and note the speed graph within the Effect Control tab of Premiere Pro. A linear keyframe will be denoted as a straight line on the speed graph.


Figure A

Ant Pruitt

To change to a Bezier keyframe, just right click on the keyframe icon, select Temporal Interpolation, and then select Bezier. This will change the icon from a diamond shape to more of an hourglass shape as well as update the speed graph (Figure B) to more of a curve line. The curve represents speed changes as your object moves across the animation. 


Figure B

Ant Pruitt

The Bezier keyframe becomes much smoother and pleasing to the viewer's eye. But you can take this one step further. You can also opt to use "ease out" or "ease in" interpolation. This still has a curved speed graph but now allows you to manipulate how ramping occurs such as moving really slow from keyframe one and speeding up drastically until it reaches keyframe two and then slowing down. Note the difference in the speed graph. You can manually adjust the speed graph by clicking and dragging the handles (Figure C) to create your preferred speed flow. 


Figure C

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Now that you have a visual grasp on keyframes and temporal interpolation, give this tip a try on your next video project. You'll see a big difference in the movement when it's a not a linear motion.

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