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I'm using After Effects to create a Motion graphic and I would like to make the animation zoom in on a specific point, do something and then zoom out again.

To clarify what I exactly try to achieve: I'm animating a browser and I would like to zoom in on the URL bar, type an URL and then zoom out and work on just like before zooming.

One option is to scale all the visible layers, so it looks zoomed, but that's a strange way to achieve the zooming effect, I think.

What's your advice?

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Here's what I would do...

  • Create a camera
  • Create a null object
  • Set the parent of the null object to be the camera
  • Make the null object a '3D' object
  • Use the null object's properties to zoom and move the camera around, e.g. use the 'z' position to zoom

You could do this with the camera by itself, but the null object is sometimes easier to deal with. Ease in and out of the keyframes for a smooth animation. I hope this helps!

  • Elegant answer! I was going to suggest animating the scale in Premiere. – BrettFromLA Apr 16 '15 at 19:24
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    Im sorry to ask, but could you make this a bit more beginner friendly? I started After Effects today and got quite an okay motion graphic already, but I haven't got a clue what you mean with a null object. – Sander Schaeffer Apr 16 '15 at 19:33
  • Hey Sandy - Here's a tutorial video I just found on this process. youtube.com/watch?v=kP9LyCYhv-w I don't think he goes over the 'easing keyframes' I mentioned, but you should find a lot of resources on editing keyframes by doing a Google search for 'easing After Effects keyframe'. I'm happy to help more if you have any other questions. – Calvin Gaunce Apr 17 '15 at 14:54
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You can simply scale the layer (or a null object) to get something like:

enter image description here

  • Click on the stop watch of the position and scale properties of the layer at the first frame (to enable the properties: select the layer, hit S followed by Shift+P)
  • Move 10-20 frames ahead
  • Scale your layer
  • Edit the position property or simply dragging the layer in the viewer to set the desired end position value
  • Sharpen the layer (Effect Panel > Sharpen)
  • Optional: Enable Motion Blur (for the layer and the composition property)

Project file


Note: Also check if your OS supports HiDPI mode for a better screenshot:

  • But should I export my composition first to a mov file, new composition and then do it or what? I've got about 30 layers and to all give them a new position/scale ain't fun. – Sander Schaeffer Apr 16 '15 at 19:57

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