After Effects Tutorials / Video Editing

How to Smooth Animation Keyframes in After Effects + With Visuals

After effects software keyframes
Published 27 October 2022

If you’re new to animation in After Effects, you may be surprised by how “jagged” your keyframes can look. That’s especially true if you’re animating a GIF or video sequence. Thankfully, you can smooth out those keyframes and create a more polished final product in a few easy steps.

To smooth your animation keyframes in After Effects, set them as “Bezier” by right-clicking them, then use Graph Editor to control the shape of your animation curve. You can also use the curve interpolation methods to create a more gradual transition between keyframes.

This article will describe how to smooth keyframes in After Effects in a breeze. So, read on for some helpful tips. Whether you’re just starting with animation or looking to polish up your existing workflows, read for some helpful tips!

1. Create your keyframes (if you haven’t already)

The first step is to set your keyframes. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Select the layer you want to animate in the Timeline. (assuming you have already added it)
  2. Then, click the small drop-down arrow next to the word “Transform.”
Click the little arrow
(click to enlarge the image)
  1. Select one of the properties from the menu (we’ll animate the Position property for this example).
  2. Next, move the playhead to the position you want to start the animation, and then click the Stopwatch icon next to the chosen property to set a keyframe.
Click the stopwatch
  1. Move your playhead to a time when you want the animation to finish. Now press the little Diamond icon next to the stopwatch to create another keyframe. Repeat this process for as many keyframes as you need.
Create a second keyframe
(click to enlarge the image)

2. Set keyframes as “Easy Ease”

Next, you will need to highlight all of the keyframes, right-click one of them, go to “Keyframe Assistant” and set them as “Easy Ease.” The keyframes will change from diamonds to sand timers.

Easy ease keyframes

3. Open the “Graph Editor”

Once you have all of your keyframes set, it’s time to open the Graph Editor. Here’s how to do that in 2 easy steps:

  1. Go to the Timeline.
  2. At the top, click on the small timeline button. It looks like a graph. That will open the Graph Editor on the right side of your screen.
Graph editor

Once it’s open, it will look like this:

Choose typ of graph

You will need to check that you are using the correct type of graph. Click the icon shown below, which will open up a set of options to choose from, such as “Speed graph” and more. We’re going to be using “Speed graph” for this example.

Speed graph

3. Smooth the animation’s movements

Now make sure that you have selected the “Position“. This will show the graph for the keyframes.


Now that you’re in the Graph Editor, you should look at your animation curve. If it looks like a straight line connecting your keyframes, your animation is linear—in other words, there’s hardly any eased movement between frames. To create smooth curves between your keyframes, follow these steps:

  1. Click and drag on the yellow circle on the keyframe (circled in red below). Dragging them inwards will smoothen the keyframe animation.
Click the yellow circle

4. Try different interpolation methods

Interpolation tells After Effects how one frame changes into another frame throughout an animation.

By default, After Effects uses Linear interpolation for all properties unless specified otherwise by adding additional Keyframe Assistant modifiers such as “Hold Interpolation” or “Easy Ease”.

Here’s how to change the interpolation method for your keyframes:

  1. Select all of the keyframes you want to modify.
  2. Right-click on a selected keyframe and select Keyframe Assistant > choose an interpolation method.
  3. Play around with different interpolation methods to see how they affect your animation curve.

Note: Different interpolation methods result in different types of motion; you can experiment with different interpolation methods to find which works best for your project.

5. Adjust & fine-tune your keyframes as needed

After you’ve smoothed out your animation curves, look at your animation and see if there are any adjustments you need to make. Maybe some of your keyframes are too far apart or too close together; maybe your curves are too steep or not steep enough. Whatever it is, now is the time to make those adjustments!

Simply select the keyframe(s) you want to adjust and move them as needed. You can also go back to the Graph Editor to fine-tune your curves.

Video tutorial on smoothening keyframes

If you find it tough to follow the text guides, please see this video tutorial to walk you through the steps.


And if you need more tips for using After Effects, check out our After Effects tutorials. You can also check out Bounce Color to get some funky effect plugins for your After Effects projects.


And there you have it! By following these simple steps, you can easily smooth out animation keyframes in After Effects—giving your animations nicer movements and making them more visually appealing overall.

For the best results, experiment with different techniques until you find something that works best for your project!

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