after effects Tutorial

After Effects: Pan Behind Tool

Andrew Burk-O'Kane
|4 min read
Written by Andrew Burk-O'Kane

In this After Effects tutorial, Andrew Burke-O'Kane covers how to use the Pan Behind tool to move the anchor point, how to use the scale property to make an easy squash and stretch animation, as well as using the time remapping tool.

Hello. So for my tutorial, I'm actually going to show you guys how I did this really easy squash and stretch using the scale tool. So if we get into a composition, you'll see that I put a shape layer on the back just to give it a little bit of a back ground. That's really easy. You already know that. Once that's there, lock it so you can't move it. And then, what you'll want to do is basically, for this tutorial, I guess just make a random shape. I decided that I was going to use a square. And so I'm going to make that right now.

Yeah, I chose blue because, why not? And for some reason I noticed that when I was screen recording, none of the external windows popped up so you can't actually see the color that's going on in there. But anyway. So once I get my square aligned in the center, thanks to the align tool, I go to this tool in the up right corner, which you saw me hover called the pan-behind tool. It basically helps you be able to move your anchor point. And so I like to move it to wherever the base of the object where I want it to move is going to be. So I moved it to the bottom middle, and I placed a key frame. And then basically, what you want to do now is you want to sort of map out how your character, or in this case your square, is going to be squishing and moving around.

So I know that like the fire hydrant I made, this little dude is going to be jumping up and then falling back down. And so you sort of have to think, "Okay, well, where does the weight start? Where does that exaggeration start?" And so it always starts with some sort of build up and then the smear as it's going up and then the collapse upward, and then the fall down where the smear happens again into the resting. So what I like to do is basically map out that position. I know some people like to map out the position first. That might be easier for you before doing the scale. I, personally, just like doing the scale so I can envision the motion of what I'm seeing, of what I want it to actually be.

And so once you get all those positions down, you want to try and make the selection feel as natural as possible. I decided I want my square to be made out of this gelatinous material, so I give it a really big wind up and then a really big smear. And then from there, I sort of decided, "Okay, well, how will that react? It's going to kind of bounce inward towards itself before it smears as it falls down again." So the whole time that you're doing this, you definitely want to be thinking about how your character is going to be moving in real life basically, and what kind of materials it's made out of, and from there, decide how you want it to go.

So I think from there, we are actually going to jump forward to see a little bit of a finished thing about what it might look like. Really, you just have to play around, kind of see what feels natural with you and then go from there. And then I guess what I also wanted to show is that once you get your animation down, it's a huge pain in the ass to just go through and ... Say it's too slow. It's really a pain in the ass to go through and rearrange all these key frames to fit where you're ... to get to a higher speed. So what you actually can do is you can pre-compose your animation into its own separate composition. When you time remap, it basically allows you to speed up or slow down things without completely changing all your key frames.


motion design
after effects

Support Us

If this project file helped you at all, feel free to give us a tip.