Squash & Stretch comes with lots of ready to use behaviors to create animations in After Effects in no time. But you can do much more than simply applying one of those behaviors to your layers. Get creative with Squash & Stretch by combining several behaviors into longer continuous motions. Make the animations your own by tweaking the keyframes - don't hesitate, it is much easier than you might think!

Tools used

Tutorial Transcript

Hello everybody, this is Eric D. Kirk for mamoworld.com and in this After Effects tutorial I want to show you how to modify and combine behaviors of Squash & Stretch to create longer continuous motions. So this is how it looks like when we apply two Squash & Stretch behaviors out of the box. You can see that the box stops in the middle between the two moves and that the second jump does not end in the desired location. And here you can see the end result where we combined the behaviors into one, fluid, continuous motion that fits perfectly in the environment.

In After Effects we start by applying some Squash & Stretch behaviors that look similar to the end result we want to achieve. We first choose this “Bounce Steps” behavior, move the box where this behavior should end and apply it. As luck would have it, the bounce is already happening at almost the right height, but we should still move it up a little bit. These three position keyframes here are the ones where the box is bouncing on the ground, so we select them all, and move them up as needed.

To create the second jump, we pick another behavior. Let’s use the “Sack race” behavior for this one. We move the current time indicator to the end of the animation and apply the behavior to it. Since the “Sack race” behavior only jumps forwards and not down, we again adjust the position keyframes such that the layer lands properly on the ground. Let’s also adjust this curve here a bit to get a more natural motion path.

As you can see, we have created a pretty complex animation in no time. But the two jumps are two separate, independent movements. If you want to create one continuous movement instead, you need some manual tweaks of the keyframes.

So instead of letting the box first land and stop and then jump again, the landing should directly transition in the next jump.

At this point in time the box is squashed the most when landing. Let’s set the beginning of the work area here. And here the box is squashed the most when it is about to do the next jump. Let’s set the end of the work area here. To make the animation one continuous movement, we essentially have to get rig of everything in between these two points in time. So let’s delete all keyframes in this area. By hitting the “U”-Key, you reveal all keyframed properties, which are in our case the transform properties like position and rotation as well as all the keyframes of the Bezier Warp effect which creates the deformation of the box. So we delete all those keyframes inside the work area that we want to get rid of and then we move all these later keyframes over to close the gap.

Now you can see that during the second jump the box looks squashed. This is because it was squashed using the scale keyframes when landing here and we deleted the keyframes to bring the scale back to the normal 100%. So lets just add one extra keyframe to bring the scale back to 100% here, where the second jump starts.

So you see how easy it is to adjust and combine behaviors of Squash & Stretch, because everything is just keyframes. And this is the final result!

Again, this is Eric D. Kirk for mamoworld.com and I hope this tutorial encouraged you to tweak, modify and combine Squash & Stretch behaviors - because modifying the keyframes is more simple than you might expect and it gives you unlimited possibilities to create truly unique organic animations.