after effects Tutorial

After Effects: Using a Camera to Createa a Zoom-In Feature

Brandon Millard
|5 min read
Written by Brandon Millard

In this After Effects tutorial, Brandon Millard covers how to create a zoom-in feature using a camera and a null object.


First things first, you're going to want to create a new layer. You're going to go to layer, new, and then first you're going to create a null object. For null objects, it's just going to be this little red square right here and that will encompass basically the entire composition. The null object does not exist at all. I mean this little red square will not show up during your final rendering. The red square is just there for you to see because it's null and void. Now we'll go to layer, new, and camera.

For most of this, you won't need to know most of the technicality unless you're getting super far into Adobe Illustrate or After Effects. You're going to press okay. Going to hit okay once again. Then you're going to take your little, whirly dingy right here. You're going to make the null object, your parent for the camera. Now for this next bit, you're going to want to make sure that both the null object and the image that you're using are set to 3D. You can do that by clicking on this little cube in this three-box checklist section, it'll be at the far end, right next to motion two. Now that we have this, we can start messing around with our keyframes. Now, personally, I will mess around with both the null object and the camera. The camera, because it's a 3D object, will give us access to a zoom. As you can see, it's moving the composition in and out.

For now, let's just say that we want them to just be right here. We click our little stopwatch, move it to about 10 seconds and then you can meticulously drag it across, or if you want to get super specific, you can type in actual numbers, but for a little bit finer, you're going to want to do more of just this or at least this is what I find helpful, especially for something that I want specifically.

Now, if we hit play, it'll slowly zoom in over the course of 15 seconds and I'm impatient, so we're going to move that there, and we're going to replay that and it'll be a lot faster. And would you look at that? We get a nice zoom-in. Now, zooming in is nice. However, say at this point you want to zoom in. Now you can also mess around with the X and Y, but as you can see, you're kind of more tilting it, and you're looking at it more at an angle, which can create a cool effect, but for the purposes of this tutorial, that's not what you want.

This is where you're going to want to go to the null object. If you ever just want to bring up a single aspect of your Adobe, of one of your objects, like rotation and position scale, you can hit P for position, and R for rotation, and you can press the same key again to dispel it. R for rotation, S is scale, P is for position, and maybe hit T, it gives you opacity. Anyways, of course, we're going to want to probably hit position at zero and using our shift, we're going to want the camera to, say about there. As you can see, it's slowly moving to the right.

You really want to be careful because Adobe After Effects gets a little touchy if you try and do stuff while moving it. Now, sometimes you will get these little artifact keyframes. Sometimes that'll actually mess up with your animations. Now, it zooms into the right side of the paper, which is cool. This has been my tutorial on how to make zooming a convenient effect. I hope you find this really helpful. It helps me, and this is just some stuff you can do. This is what I wound up doing, but you can make the camera do a little... With different keyframes, I don't know if you're feeling particularly saucy. You could even say, zoom in here and then I don't know, well, could you like here and then zoom out.

Then for this, you can be like, okay, we're going to want to toggle that keyframe to hold. Then you can click on that, do command C and then command V right, click on it again, do the toggle hold. Now, if you look now it's going to create this nice... It'll actually stay at that level and just slide across and then just zoom out. This gives you a little bit more freedom. As I said, this is literally just some random thing that I did in probably five minutes, just making sure I got everything right. The sky's the limit with this. I hope you found this helpful and that will be all, have a good day.

Here's the final result:


motion design
after effects

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