Animating with keyframes


In HitFilm, animation refers to anything that changes over time, not just to movement. Animation is achieved using keyframes.

Full keyframing is only available on composite shot timelines, though you can adjust opacity and volume on the Editor sequence.

Creating keyframes

keyframes

Every time you change a layer property a keyframe is placed on the timeline at the playhead position. Keyframes contain information about the changes you make.

HitFilm automatically interpolates from one keyframe value to the next. This means that you don't need to animate every single frame.

For example: If you have a keyframe on frame 1 which positions a layer on the far left of the screen, then another keyframe on frame 24 positioning the layer on the far right, HitFilm will animate the layer moving from left to right over the course of those 24 frames.

Turning keyframes on and off

keyframes on off

Keyframes will only be recorded for a property if you turn them on. This can be done using the small circle to the left of the property name.

A green circle indicates activated keyframing.

If a property has keyframing turned off, any changes you make will affect the property for its entire duration. This is very useful for making a quick change to a layer if you don't want to animate it over time. For example, you might want to increase its overall brightness.

When you turn keyframing on, each time you change a property a new keyframe will be created at the playhead. If there is already a keyframe on the current frame it will be updated with the new value. When you first turn keyframing on for a property a keyframe will be automatically created on the current frame.

A white dot is displayed inside the green circle if the current frame includes a keyframe.

If you turn keyframing off after having created several keyframes, those keyframes will be removed.

Some properties cannot be keyframed. These are marked by a small, dark grey dot in place of the keyframe toggle.

Navigating through keyframes

navkeyframes

Once you have created several keyframes it can be useful to quickly move from one to another on the timeline.

You can do this using the previous/next keyframe controls at the top of the timeline. These work according to your currently selected properties.

Placing and removing individual keyframes

Sometimes you may want to add a keyframe to the current frame without actually changing any settings.

This can be done by clicking the add/remove keyframe button. This will add a keyframe at the playhead using the property's value on that frame.

If the current frame already has a keyframe, clicking the add/remove keyframe button will remove the keyframe from the timeline.

Editing keyframes

Once a keyframe has been created you can make further adjustments to its position and behaviour.

Selecting keyframes

Keyframes can be selected using the select tool. Selected keyframes are highlighted in blue.

Simply click a keyframe to select it. Selecting a different keyframe will deselect the first one.
Holding Ctrl while selecting keyframes enables you to select multiple keyframes.
Multiple keyframes can also be selected by dragging a selection box.

Moving keyframes

Selected keyframes can be moved around the timeline by dragging them with the mouse.

Keyframes can only be dragged horizontally on the timeline. They can't be dragged onto other properties.

If you want to transfer keyframes from one property to a similar property in another layer you can copy and paste them.

Selecting three or more keyframes and holding the Alt key while dragging on the keyframe to the extreme left or right of the selection scales the keyframe positions.

Scaling the keyframe positions may create sub-frame keyframes which don't exist on specific frames. These cannot be directly edited without first being moved to a primary frame position.

Changing interpolation

Interpolation affects how HitFilm animates from one keyframe to the next. You can change this by right clicking selected keyframes and exploring the Interpolation menu.

Linear - interpolates from one keyframe to the next without any smoothing.
Smooth - as the playhead approaches a keyframe it will gradually adjust the speed of the property to animate gently into and out of the keyframe.
Smooth In - only smooth the speed change of the property as the playhead approaches a keyframe.
Smooth Out - only smooth the speed change of the property as the playhead moves away from a keyframe.
Constant - each keyframe value is held as a constant until the next one is reached.

RECAP Keyframes store most of your decisions when you're animating properties over time.