How to Add Keyframes in Premiere Pro: Navigating & Setting [Guide]

Feb 16, 2024 | Photography Tutorials

Want to add some movement or effects to your videos in Premiere Pro but need help figuring out where to start?

Learning how to use keyframes can help you customize animations like a pro.

In this straightforward beginner’s guide, you’ll learn:

  •     What are keyframes, and how do they work for basic animation
  •     How to easily add and adjust keyframes on the Premiere Pro timeline
  •     Step-by-step instructions for setting smooth motions with keyframes
  •     Critical tips for deleting or changing keyframes
  •     How to create custom animations using just two keyframes
how to add keyframes in premiere pro

Understanding the basics of keyframing in Premiere unlocks new creative possibilities for your editing.

With practice placing and tweaking keyframes, you’ll gain precise control over animating motion, effects, and more in your videos.

Let’s dive in!

Open the Effects Controls Panel

The first step is to open the Effects Controls panel in Premiere Pro. This panel lets you view and adjust effects settings like Opacity, scale, position, and rotation. Those are the properties you’ll be keyframing.

You can open the Effects Controls panel by:

  •  Click on Window at the top menu bar and select Effects Controls.
  •  Look on the Premiere window’s left side for the tab labeled Effects Controls and click on it.
  •  Using the keyboard shortcut Shift + 7.

The Effects Controls panel may be tucked away, so simply opening it ensures you have it ready before adding any keyframes.

With the Effects Controls panel open, you can now access the tools to keyframe a clip or effect. Next, you’ll set the playhead to mark your first keyframe.

Step 2: Set the Playhead for the First Keyframe

Set the Playhead for the First Keyframe

Now that the Effects Controls panel is open, you can set the play head to mark where your first keyframe will go.

The playhead is the blue slider that indicates the current frame you are previewing in the timeline.

To set the playhead:

  1. Scroll to the part of your sequence where you want the animation to begin.
  2. Click on the playhead and drag it to the exact frame where you want this keyframe.
  3. The playhead will set the timestamp for the first keyframe, determining when the effect will start animating.

It helps to plan the animation so you know which frame to place the first keyframe on.

With the playhead positioned, you can add the first keyframe and start animating.

Step 3: Add the First Keyframe

Add the First Keyframe

Once the playhead is placed where the first keyframe should go, it’s time actually to add the keyframe.

To add a keyframe:

  1. In the Effects Controls panel, locate the effect property you want to animate. Standard options are Scale, Position, Opacity, and Rotation.
  2.  Click the stopwatch icon next to the effect name.
  3.  The stopwatch will turn blue, indicating keyframing is now active.
  4.  A keyframe will be added at the current playhead position.

The first keyframe marks the beginning of the animation, often at 0% or 100% intensity.

For example, setting Opacity to 100% here means the animation will start fully visible.

Now that the starting keyframe is set, you can build the animation by adding another keyframe later in the sequence.

Step 4: Add the Second Keyframe

Add the Second Keyframe

The second keyframe marks the endpoint for the animation and tells Premiere how the effect should look at the end.

To add a second keyframe:

  1.  Move the play head to the frame where you want the animation to end.
  2.  Click the diamond-shaped button next to the stopwatch icon to add another keyframe at the playhead’s position.
  3.  Adjust the effect value like Opacity or Scale to 0-100% based on the look you want to achieve at the end.

For example, setting Opacity to 0% would make the clip utterly transparent by the second keyframe.

Premiere will automatically transition the effect values evenly between the first and second keyframes.

Using just two keyframes lets you set up a simple fade in/out or other basic animations in your sequence.

Now you have the basics of placing two keyframes for easy animations in Premiere Pro!

Step 5: Adjust the Effect Values

Once you have two or more keyframes, you can customize the animation by adjusting the effect values at each keyframe.

To smoothly adjust effect values:

  1. Click on a keyframe to select it.
  2. The position of that keyframe will be displayed in the Effect Controls value graph.
  3. Drag the keyframe up or down to increase or decrease the effect intensity at that point.

For example, you may set Opacity to 50% at the start, 0% at the end, and 100% halfway through – all by adjusting the height of each keyframe.

The value graph allows you to fine-tune the effect levels so the animation has natural, fluid motion.

Feel free to experiment with different values between your start and end keyframes. Review the animation and continue adjusting until satisfied.

Customizing the value levels gives you total control over your keyframed animations in Premiere Pro.

Step 6: Use Bezier Keyframes for Smooth Motion

Bezier Keyframes

You’ll want to set your keyframes to Bezier rather than the default Linear motion for truly seamless animations.

Bezier keyframes accelerate slowly, creating more realistic movement.

To set smoother Bezier keyframes:

  1.  Right-click on a keyframe in the timeline or Effects Control panel.
  2.  Select “Bezier” from the context menu.
  3.  The keyframe icon will change from a diamond to a circled diamond, indicating it is now a Bezier keyframe.
  4.  Repeat this process for each keyframe.

The handles on Bezier keyframes let you manually adjust the easing for finer control over the acceleration.

Applying this smooth ramping motion makes your keyframed animations appear more organic and polished.

The beauty of keyframes is the ability to mimic real-world physics right within Premiere. Take advantage of Bezier ramping to level up your animations.

Step 7: Delete Unwanted Keyframes

As you work with keyframes, you may decide certain ones are unnecessary. Deleting keyframes is easy when you need to update or simplify an animation.

To quickly delete a keyframe:

  1.  Click directly on the keyframe icon to select it.
  2.  Press the Delete key on your keyboard.
  3. The keyframe will be removed from the timeline.
  4. Alternatively, you can right-click on a keyframe and select Delete.

If you delete a keyframe in the middle, Premiere will automatically transition the effect values from the preceding keyframe to the following one.

Don’t worry about ruining your animation – you can always undo deletions or add new keyframes to edit the final look.

Learning what keyframes to keep and remove will come with experimenting and tweaking. Start by deleting any keyframes you don’t need.


Learning to add keyframes in Premiere Pro opens up new creative options for animating your videos. The key is understanding their primary purpose:

  • Keyframes mark the starting and ending points of an animation.
  • Adjusting the effect values at each keyframe determines how the animation looks.
  • You can add smooth ramping motions by setting keyframes to Bezier.

You can start keyframing like a pro with the techniques covered in this beginner’s guide. The more you practice adding and customizing keyframes, the more adept you’ll become at creating polished animations in your videos.

The essential points to remember are:

  • Open the Effects Controls panel before keyframing.
  • Set the playhead where you want the first keyframe.  
  • Click the stopwatch icon to add the first keyframe.
  • Add a second keyframe by clicking the diamond icon.
  • Adjust values and use Bezier keyframes for fluid motions.

These core skills will get you animating in Premiere Pro right away. For more advanced keyframing, plenty of handy presets and templates are also available.

Now, you have the fundamentals to boost your videos through keyframe animations. Bring your editing to life by practicing these techniques today!

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Stacy WItten

Stacy WItten

Owner, Writer & Photographer

Stacy Witten, owner and creative force behind LensesPro, delivers expertly crafted content with precision and professional insight. Her extensive background in writing and photography guarantees quality and trust in every review and tutorial.






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