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Animating cameras

From: After Effects CC Essential Training

Video: Animating cameras

When it comes to animating cameras it's So, make sure the type of camera is set to One-Node Camera.

Animating cameras

When it comes to animating cameras it's all just a question of maintaining perspective. As long as you have a good idea as to what you'd like your animation to look like and a relatively clear view of your scene, animating cameras can be a relatively painless process. In this video we're going to use automatic key framing to speed up the process. But before we can do that we actually need to add a camera into our scene. So let's start by making sure our timeline is active. And then going up to Layer and then choosing New>Camera.

Now for our animations, we're actually going to animate two different kinds of cameras. The first camera that I'd like you to animate is called a One-Node Camera. So, make sure the type of camera is set to One-Node Camera. And then under your Presets, you want to choose the 50 millimeter preset. Now if by chance you've gone in and adjusted any of these preset settings, you can reset the factory defaults just by holding down Opt on a Mac or Alt on windows and clicking on a trashcan. That will reset the default preset. Just make sure once it's reset that your type is set to One-Node Camera.

Now we don't need depth of field so we're set to just go ahead and click OK. You should see the camera in the top of your layer hierarchy. If you had a different layer selected the camera would appear just above the layer that you had selected. Now with our camera in the scene, what I'm going to do is more clearly view my scene and to do that we need to switch the views from 1 View to 2 Views. With 2 Views, I want to create a move going from one frame, to the frame above it. Now in order to do that, I want to actually change my left view here, from the top to a side view.

So right now, I know my active camera view is active, because I see these golden triangles on the right side. So let's click on the left side to make the top active and then click on the pull down in the center of your composition panel to choose Left as the option. Once Left populates the scene, you'll see things more clearly, but notice I can't see the camera. I can only see the camera if I click on layer one. And even then it's so far out I can't really see exactly where the camera lives. So let's start by changing the magnification of the left panel.

You can scroll on your mouse wheel to zoom in and out or you can just press the comma or period keys. I'm going to zoom out till I can see absolutely everything in the scene and I'll just press the spacebar to move things to the left. Now I know it looks really small. So I'm just going to zoom back in, just one little area and reframe, one second there. Now just in case I don't have layer one selected, I like to actually know where my camera is at any given time. So, what I'm going to do is go to the upper right corner of the Composition panel.

Click on that Flyout button. And go to the View Options. Under the View Options for Camera Wire frames, you want to change this option from When Selected to On. Once we click OK, now you'll notice I can see exactly what the camera's looking at even though I don't have the camera selected. Now, just for ease of animation, let's go ahead and select that camera. Now before we create this move what we need to do is enable auto key framing to do that we need to go to the upper right corner of the timeline panel and click on the fly out button there you want to go down and make sure to Enable Auto Keyframe.

Then you should see the auto key frame button in the top center of your timeline panel. Now with the auto key frame enable, you have to be very careful to what you click on or move around within your project. Because it automatically going to key frame anything. So the first thing I want to do is move my current time indicator to about one second. And then I'm just going to hover over the Y axis on the camera. It's a little hard to see, but it's a little green arrow. Let's just click once and move up and down just a little bit just to toggle that movement.

Now if we press U on our keyboard the key, that'll open up any key frames that we've applied. So you can see we've already recorded our first key frame. Now, let's move down to two seconds in the timeline, because I want this to be a one second move. Now that our current time indicator is at two seconds, we can click on the Y axis and just drag up. And notice as we drag up in the scene it may take a second for your windows to refresh. If it's taking a long amount of time, you might consider changing the resolution from Auto to Half.

And this will definitely speed things up a little bit. So let's go ahead and make sure that we have that second frame framed up here. Okay. Now, in order to preview our animation, I could just load up a RAM Preview. But just so I don't accidentally add more key frames, I'm going to go to the fly out menu in the upper right corner of the timeline again, and just Disable Auto key framing. Now, let's move back to one second here and I'm going to make sure in my preview panel that I have from current time selected. And I know this is a relatively heavy render so I'm actually going to go ahead and just tell it to skip every, two frames.

And this will just speed up my preview. Now the only other thing I want to do is make sure that my active camera is selected, and then I can go ahead and just enable my preview here. So it's going to go ahead and start from our current time, and there we can see we have our move. And let's select the camera because this move frankly, is a little boring. So what I'm going to do is tweak the motion path of that camera. To do that let's make sure our left panel is active and then zoom in by pressing the period key, and then press the space bar to move over, and reclick on the cameras so we can see our motion path.

In order to change how the camera moves through the scene, let's go ahead and just click on one of the key frames. So, let's have the camera move in towards the footage and then come back out. To do that, I want to right-click or control-click on the key frame. Go to my KeyFrame Assistant and just enable Easy Ease. In order to do that, what I need to do is go to my Pen Tool, click an hold on the Pen Tool, and choose Convert Vortex Tool. Now when I go ahead and click and drag on my vortex, I can drag out a control handle here and control how my camera is moving in the scene.

Now I don't need to load up a full RAM preview. I can just scrub through the scene and notice it's going to go ahead and give me the update here in my active view. So as I'm looking at it, eh, that looks relatively okay. But I do want to load up a RAM preview. So let's go ahead and just load that up there. And press the space bar. There we go. Okay, so I really don't like that motion. Lets go ahead and change it to go to the opposite direction. We'll have it move away from the footage. Now lets go ahead and tweak that second key frame as well. One of the things that I recommend doing when you're tweaking motions of key frames is to just make sure that your current time indicator, has the camera in a different position.

That way when I go ahead and click on that second key frame, there's no confusion as to exactly what it is I'm clicking on. Now also, to better tweak this motion, what I'm going to do is kind of even out the handles so the move is relatively similar from the start to the end. So I'm just trying to make them roughly the same length and same angle, roughly. And then we can also just right-click on the layers or select the key frame and go up under Animation > Key Frame Assistant and add an Easy Ease in. To smooth out the end and we can do the same thing here with the left key frame.

Animation > KeyFrame Assistant this time, we want to Ease Out. So we've a nice smooth move on our camera. So let's go ahead and preview this. Notice even when I preview this, it's giving me the preview in my active camera which is exactly what I want. So, as you can see, we've successfully created an animation by using automatic key framing. And then, just using my Pen Tool, I could adjust the motion path of the camera, as it moves from one key frame to the next. And of course, we adjusted the speed by using our Easy Ease, and Easy Ease Out.

Now that's a one node camera. The advantage of the One-Node Camera is the fact that it makes it very easy to keep this camera perfectly perpendicular to the footage that I'm creating in my moves around. So let's see about animating a second camera. Now to do that I want to go up under the Layer menu and choose New > Camera. This time, make sure the type is set to Two-Node Camera and we can leave all the other settings the same and then click OK. Now, when you have more than one camera in an After Effects composition, the top most camera is the one that's going to render.

Now, I just don't want to confuse things, so what I am going to do is turn off the visibility of Camera 1. And I'll go ahead and hide Camera 1. So I'll enable shy for that layer. If you don't see your switches, make sure to toggle your toggles and switches until you can see the little shy button, and then we'll just hide camera one. Okay, so now we're just set on Camera 2. For this animation, all I want to do is just have a rotation around this main pass video frame, so in order to do that, I want to change my left view here to the top view.

So make sure your left panel is active, and change the view from Left, to Top. Now you may need to reframe this. I'm going to zoom out here. And then just press the space bar to zoom back in. There we go. And let's select Camera 2. And move to one second in the timeline. And just like we did before, I'm going to go ahead and hover over one of the axis of the camera, but instead of hovering over the Y axis, I'm going to hover over the X axis. This red line. Now notice my icon isn't changing to let me know that I've hovered over that axis handle, and that's because I still have my Convert Vortex tool selected.

So let's grab our Selection tool, and now when I hover over the X axis I can see that's exactly where I am. Now in order to create my first key frame, of course, I need to go back over to the upper right corner of the timeline and then Enable Auto KeyFrame. Now we can just go ahead and, just sort of scrub, a little bit, just to move my camera. And again, if we press the U key you can see I've added two key frames, one for position and one for the point of interest. See, when I hovered over the X axis and started to move, it not only moved the camera but it also moved the point of interest.

Now I'm going to deselect both of these parameters and just click on the Stopwatch for point of interest because I really don't want an animation for that. Now let's move to about two seconds in the timeline. And I want the camera to go ahead and rotate to the right. Now when I click on the X axis and drag to the right it's going to want to move my point of interest again. So what I'll do is hold down the Cmd key after I start dragging and notice now my center point, or my point of interest, is back to where it started.

And there is no key frame that's been created. Or there has been no key frame created. So now I have a very smooth movement from one section to the other. Now of course, I could grab my Convert Vertex Tool and click on my first keyframe here and change the motion if I wanted to. So here we go. So now I've got a rotation set for this. Now of course if I want to tweak my first keyframe, let's go ahead and just position our current time indicator directly over that first keyframe.

So, let's hover over the X axis, making sure that we have our selection tool active, and then click and drag to the left. Just make sure that you press Cmd or Ctrl on Windows to make sure that the point of interest stays in place. And then you can go ahead and move your camera around. Now, if we preview our animation, I'm sure you can see that it's in desperate need of some ease on those keyframes. But, overall, we've created a different. Type of animation using a Two-Node Camera. So when it comes to animating cameras, just make sure you pay attention to exactly what kind of camera is required for the type of move that you're trying to create.

If you want to keep things perpendicular to the camera, go ahead and use a One-Node Camera. But usually anytime that I want to sort of fly around and orbit around things I like animating with a Two-Node Camera. And then of course, if you've enabled automatic key framing you want to make sure to go back to the upper right corner of the timeline panel and just disable auto key frame. That way you won't accidentally create any additional key frames when you continue moving throughout your animation.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for After Effects CC Essential Training
After Effects CC Essential Training

110 video lessons · 55206 viewers

Ian Robinson

Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 8s
    1. What is After Effects?
      1m 8s
  2. 30m 55s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 19s
    3. Relinking missing footage
      1m 54s
    4. Working with keyboard shortcuts
      1m 23s
    5. Updating After Effects with Creative Cloud
      1m 25s
    6. Different ways to use After Effects
    7. Exploring the interface of After Effects
      12m 0s
    8. Exploring important preferences and setting up the cache
      6m 20s
    9. Video terminology
      4m 24s
  3. 1h 0m
    1. The six foundations of After Effects
      11m 5s
    2. Understanding compositions
      10m 35s
    3. Creating and manipulating layers
      9m 49s
    4. Building animation
      6m 29s
    5. Working with effects
      7m 5s
    6. Introduction to 3D
      8m 45s
    7. Understanding how to render
      6m 48s
  4. 38m 54s
    1. Importing elements
      5m 53s
    2. Organizing projects
      3m 51s
    3. Building compositions with layers
      6m 17s
    4. Animating with keyframes
      10m 0s
    5. Adding effects and graphics
      8m 7s
    6. Output techniques
      4m 46s
  5. 44m 49s
    1. Exploring composition and project settings
      6m 48s
    2. Importing Photoshop files as compositions
      8m 39s
    3. Importing Illustrator files as compositions
      7m 41s
    4. Viewing files in the comp panel
      4m 42s
    5. Understanding Pre-compose
      4m 21s
    6. Positioning layers with snapping
      4m 55s
    7. Interpreting footage
      4m 0s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for compositions
      3m 43s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Defining layers
      5m 4s
    2. Creating type layers
      7m 38s
    3. Precise typesetting techniques
      5m 42s
    4. Creating layer solids and shapes with masks
      9m 6s
    5. Creating design elements with shape layers
      6m 10s
    6. Layer compositing: Masks, switches, and blend modes
      7m 35s
    7. Using track mattes
      4m 49s
    8. Precise compositing with variable-width feathered masks
      9m 24s
    9. Working smarter by swapping layers
      7m 6s
    10. Keyboard shortcuts for layers
      2m 35s
  7. 1h 27m
    1. Understanding animation
      6m 20s
    2. Adding and adjusting keyframes
      9m 52s
    3. Understanding keyframe interpolation
      6m 20s
    4. Adjusting keyframes in the Graph Editor
      8m 26s
    5. The power of parenting
      5m 26s
    6. Using null objects
      6m 46s
    7. Creating expressions with the pick whip
      6m 25s
    8. Creating and adjusting motion paths
      9m 56s
    9. Building complex graphics with Pre-compose
      4m 54s
    10. Preparing audio for animation
      8m 57s
    11. Generating graphics with audio
      9m 13s
    12. Working smarter: Navigating the Timeline
      4m 32s
  8. 58m 59s
    1. Understanding the order of effects
      5m 58s
    2. Generating backgrounds with effects
      5m 33s
    3. Generating a scribble effect
      8m 12s
    4. Animating strokes with effects
      6m 37s
    5. Using adjustment layers
      5m 52s
    6. Adding gradients and glows
      4m 30s
    7. Saving pan and scan presets
      5m 20s
    8. Fixing exposure with Levels
      3m 5s
    9. Fixing color casts with Color Finesse 3
      9m 57s
    10. Masking individual effects
      3m 55s
  9. 55m 24s
    1. Understanding 3D in After Effects
      9m 2s
    2. Intro to cameras
      7m 51s
    3. Intro to lights and material options
      8m 56s
    4. Animating cameras
      12m 39s
    5. Creating depth of field
      6m 48s
    6. Exploring the ray-traced 3D renderer
      10m 8s
  10. 1h 43m
    1. Understanding CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects
      1m 32s
    2. 3D foundations
      10m 43s
    3. Matching CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects projects
      8m 9s
    4. Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite interface
      7m 31s
    5. Creating 3D projects from Illustrator files
      7m 28s
    6. Exploring modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 8s
    7. Applying deformers
      5m 59s
    8. Understanding materials
      7m 32s
    9. Lighting your scene
      8m 14s
    10. Looking at detailed materials
      7m 51s
    11. Animating in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 51s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      5m 45s
    13. Working with CINEWARE
      9m 38s
    14. Render settings and the multipass workflow
      8m 38s
  11. 23m 35s
    1. Rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 45s
    2. Recommended settings for rendering graphics
      10m 21s
    3. Creating presets in the Render Queue
      4m 0s
    4. Prerendering with Import and Replace Usage
      3m 18s
    5. Working smarter: One render, multiple outputs
      1m 11s
  12. 29m 3s
    1. Creating type animators
      8m 52s
    2. Creating and animating type on a path
      5m 32s
    3. Animating shape layers
      8m 45s
    4. Animating brushstrokes with Paint
      5m 54s
  13. 23m 31s
    1. Retiming with Time Remapping
      8m 56s
    2. Retiming footage with Timewarp
      9m 10s
    3. Smoothing shaky camera footage with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      5m 25s
  14. 16m 6s
    1. Getting started with Keylight
      8m 43s
    2. Refining your key with Keylight
      3m 42s
    3. Cleaning up keys with masks
      3m 41s
  15. 26m 47s
    1. Rotoscoping with paths
      6m 47s
    2. Introducing the Roto Brush
      5m 58s
    3. Refining the Roto Brush
      6m 12s
    4. Using the Refine Edge tool
      7m 50s
  16. 27m 13s
    1. Creating a single point track
      7m 38s
    2. Applying motion with Warp Stabilizer VFX
      4m 29s
    3. Warp Stabilizer VFX: Reversible Stabilization workflow
      7m 47s
    4. Solving cameras
      7m 19s
  17. 6m 30s
    1. Archiving your projects
      3m 50s
    2. Removing unused footage
      1m 25s
    3. Moving compositions between projects
      1m 15s
  18. 2m 24s
    1. What's next?
      2m 24s

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