Pop or Jump a Layer in After Effects

This tutorial teaches you how to pop or jump a layer in After Effects. Usually you’ll probably want a layer to gradually move across the screen or scale or rotate or whatever. Instead, what if you want this value change to happen instantaneously? Can you do this easily using Hold keyframes. Let me show you how!

Using Hold Keyframes to Pop or Jump a Layer in AE

Select the layer you want to jump across the screen. Hit the P key to show the Position property for that layer. Adjust the position as needed and create a keyframe. Move to another point on your timeline and change the position creating a new keyframe. Repeat as needed.

Once you’re done you’ll notice your layer gradually moving across the screen. Now let’s change it so that After Effects has it jump or pop. We do this using a Hold keyframe. Select all the keyframes for the Position property (or Scale or Rotation or whatever property you are want to jump). Right-click on any of the selected keyframes. A menu will appear. Click Keyframe Interpolation…

After Effects menu after right-clicking a keyframe with Keyframe Interpolation option highlighted
Right-click any of the selected keyframes to bring up this menu and select Keyframe Interpolation…

A box will now appear on your screen for Keyframe Interpolation. Change the first dropdown, Temporal Interpolation, to Hold and click OK.

After Effects Keyframe Interpolation box set to a Hold keyframe
Change the Temporal Interpolation to Hold and click OK

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Your keyframes are now all Hold keyframes instead of regular standard keyframes. You’ll notice that instead of the diamond icon for each keyframe that they’re now like an elf hat rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise. And that’s it. Your After Effects layer should now jump or pop across the screen as it hits each keyframe.

Hold keyframes in After Effects Composition timeline to jump or pop the layer
Notice how the keyframe icons change from diamonds to this shape

If you’ve now gone through this tutorial and you still need help, please leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to help troubleshoot it. But if you now know how to pop or jump a layer in After Effects, I hope you stick around and check out some of the other After Effects tutorials on my website or consider signing up to get notified about new blog posts and happenings around EVF.

– Josh

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