Simple Animation In iMovie

You can use Picture-In-Picture and keyframes to animate object movement in iMovie. Once you add an overlay you can set one or more keyframes and the object will move over time to match each keyframe. You can import transparent graphics to use this feature to highlight a moving element in your video.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Simple Animation In iMovie.

Hi this is Gary with Let's look at animating objects in iMovie.

So using iMovie 10 I'm going to show you how to do some simple animation using Picture-in-Picture and KeyFrames in iMovie.

So as an example we're just going to use some photos here. I'm going to drag and drop this photo in and then I'm going to take another photo and drag and drop that as a cutaway on top there. What I want to do with both of these is I want to change the cropping so it is just Crop and not the Ken Burns thing and now we just basically see a movie where we have this video with this photo here.

Then it gets replaced with this photo and then I'm going to change that to a Picture-in-Picture. Now we can see it there in the corner. So it appears in the corner and then disappears again. I'm even going to go in and change the dissolve to nothing. So it just basically appears and then disappears.

So nothing too exciting so far. But if I have the Picture-in-Picture selected down here and I have the Picture-in-Picture adjustments turned on, the video overlay settings, I should see this interface that allows me to add an animated keyframe.

So animation keyframe are basically saying that this Picture-in-Picture needs to be at this spot at this point in time down here. So if I press this it will add a keyframe. Now I can move forward in time to another spot, select the Picture-in-Picture there and then I can move the Picture-in-Picture again there we go to another spot and it will create another keyframe. I can move here and it will create a third keyframe.

I can move through these keyframes by using these arrows and you can see it actually moving the playback head. When I play back the video you can see it will actually animate from spot to spot and stop at the last one.

It is kind of weird to do it with photos like this but let me show you a better example.

So now I have a video of some ducks here and I've brought in a semi-transparent graphic that I created in Pixelmator with just a circle and a transparent background. You can create it in Photoshop or whatever you have handy.

So I'm going to select that. I going to turn off the Ken Burns effect here and I'm also going to change it so that it is a Picture-in-Picture. So now it is a lot smaller and I can resize it to what I want. What I would like to do is follow a duck along.

I'll move all the way back to the beginning here. I also have some dissolve here and I want to turn that off. So I can see it at the very beginning and let's have it follow say this duck who moves quite a bit. So now we can have it follow the duck by simply kind of moving it along and then adding keyframes where we need.

So let's move the duck along there. Great. So I'll move this over here and add a keyframe. I'll move it a little further and it is automatically going to add keyframes now after I've started doing this. I'm going to do it every so often kind of keeping pace with the duck since the duck is moving at slightly different speeds and not in a perfectly straight line.

So now when I playback the movie it should follow the duck. I think all I'm missing here is a good keyframe at the very beginning. Let me do that. Now there we go. The circle is following the duck along pretty nicely.

At any point I can add more key frames, if I want, in the middle do better follow the duck if it is lagging behind. I can just use these arrows to move through all of the keyframes. If I wanted to add one in the middle I can simply position the playhead somewhere in the middle, like that, and make an adjustment and it will add the keyframe there.

Comments: 11 Responses to “Simple Animation In iMovie”

    Donald Keys
    5 years ago

    This is an excellent tutorial on how to use Picture-In-Picture and keyframes to animate object movement in iMovie. I did not know you could do this. Since I do some semi-professional video for my business, I will definitely incorporate this keyframe animation in some of my future videos. Thank you Gary.

    5 years ago

    great video….is there a way to dim the background and brighten the object in the keyframe?

      5 years ago

      It would be difficult, but you could process each video/picture first and then bring them together in a new iMovie project. Probably take a lot of work. If it is something you need to do often, it might be time to move to a more pro-life editor like Final Cut or Premiere.

    5 years ago

    Thanks for this video; I would never have found out about this by myself…I will use this on my next video!

    Linda Taylor
    5 years ago

    Is this new to iMovie 10 or can it be done in 9? I’ve used picture-in-picture, but not been introduced to this type of animation until now. I’m not sure what you mean by keyframes…are they the frames of the video you want to accentuate, like the duck? As always, you’re fantastic, Gary!

      5 years ago

      I can’t remember if it is available in iMovie ’11 (version 9), and not sure about ’09 (version 8) either. A keyframe is an animation term. Say you were to walk from point A, to point B, to point C. A, B and C would be keyframes in your walk. You would take steps in between to get from A to B and then B to C.

        Linda Taylor
        5 years ago

        Thank you Gary. I’ll just have to try, with ’11. like you often say.

    Joe Shirk
    5 years ago

    Could you expand on creating a semi-transparent graphic that you created in Pixelmator with just a circle and a transparent background.

    I would like to know how this is done – especially in CS3 (if possible) – not familiar with Pixelmator.


      5 years ago

      I don’t want to get into doing tutorials for each and every graphics app. I’d do a search on Photoshop and 32-bit transparency or get a friend who knows Photoshop to show you.

    Piet van 't Zelfde (Pete)
    5 years ago

    Can these keyframes as you just showed also be implemented in FCP 7?

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