You can use Motion Sketch in Adobe After Effects to hand animate the movement of any layer in your composition. You can combine this technique with Null Objects and Expressions to gain full manual control over any effect parameter or layer property that you want. In this tutorial I will show you how to accomplish both of those tasks.
What is Motion Sketch?
Motion Sketch is a feature in Adobe After Effects that allows you to record keyframes for the movement of any layer with your mouse in real time. This is why it is called ‘Motion Sketch’: you are literally sketching the motion of an object in your scene.
To see the Motion Sketch panel, go to the main menu and select View -> Motion Sketch.
The Motion Sketch tab will appear in one of your panels on the After Effects interface. Motion Sketch is pretty simple and offers only a small set of options:
- Capture speed: the speed at which your composition will play back during live recording
- Smoothing: how much smoothing will be applied when calculating the final recorded keyframes
- Show Wireframe/Background: determine if you want to see a wireframe representation of your layer as you are moving it around and whether to show the composition background
Note that the Start Capture button will be greyed out until you have selected a layer in your composition.
Now that you are familiar with the available Motion Sketch tools, let’s use them to animate a layer in our composition!