A keyframe is a fundamental element in animation, representing a specific frame that defines the starting or ending points of a smooth transition in motion. In animation, characters or objects move and change over time, and keyframes serve as pivotal moments that dictate the positions, rotations, or attributes of these elements at specific points in the animation timeline.

Envision an animated character performing a dance routine – keyframes would mark the crucial poses and positions at specific moments during the dance. The animation software then interpolates between these keyframes, creating the illusion of continuous and fluid motion. Keyframes are the building blocks of animation, providing animators with a structured framework for creating dynamic and expressive sequences.

The process of animating with keyframes involves setting key poses at specific frames, and the software automatically generates the frames in between, known as in-between frames. The animator focuses on defining the essential moments, allowing the software to handle the interpolation and create the smooth transitions needed for realistic motion.

Keyframes are not limited to character animation; they are integral to various animation techniques, including motion graphics, visual effects, and 3D animation. The concept extends beyond movement and can encompass changes in attributes such as color, scale, or transparency. Mastery of keyframing is essential for animators to convey narrative, emotion, and visual interest effectively.