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After Effects - Animated Infographic Video & Data Visualisation

How to use a 2 node camera to sweep across a data visualization

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, in this video we're going to look at 2-Node cameras where we get this kind of like pan in, and zoomy, turny thing. We will also look at adding backgrounds, but now that I've finished this tutorial. actually I don't like the video background. We can do away with the playing background as well. All right, let's go and do it.

So first up, I've got a file that you can start with. It's under '07 Camera', it's called 'YouTube Line Chart'. Or you can use the Line Graph you made in an earlier tutorial. Here it is here. It's a little bit different. I just added some text for the Top and the YouTube logo. And they're just timed separately. And they're all using that Expression we've been using over and over again. So what we want to do now is, we want to use our Camera. Let's have a little look first at the difference between a Single-node camera and a 2-Node camera.

So, we're going to go 'Layer', 'New', 'Camera'. We'll put in a 1-Node Camera. We'll call this 'Camera 1 - 1Node'. And we'll put in another one. This is the one we're going to use, I'm going to delete this first one. So you might just kick back, relax, and just make this Camera. This one's going to be 'Camera - 2Node'. Then we're going to go over here and pick '2-Nodes'. Click 'OK'. That's the Camera you want. This one we're going to bin in a second because what I want to do is show you the difference.

First of all, I want to be able to see my two different views. At the moment, we got '1 View', switch it to '2 Views - Horizontal'. This is the Top view, it's not very exciting. You go click over here, remember that little blue wedges in the corner indicates which side you've got selected. So I've got this side clicked, and here from 'Top', choose 'Custom View 1'. You might have got an error saying "Hey, remember you got to turn things on to be 3D." So you just got to remember to do that afterwards.

What do I want to be included in 3D? I want YouTube logo, I want the text, the dots, the lines, everything but the background. We're going to leave that off. So you can see, they can all be seen by the camera now depending on where your Playhead is. If your Playhead is right at the beginning, you can see, you can't see anything, and you'll be like, "Oh, no." But move it along, you'll see, they can all be seen by this camera. What you can do is, click on the different cameras. And it will kind of highlight which one we're working on. Now I'm going to zoom out a little bit over here and show you the difference. I'm going to turn off Camera 1. Great naming, Dan. The 2-Node one, I'm going to turn the Eyeball off, so we can't see it.

So, the difference between the two, it really comes down to, under Transform. We can change the Position, the Orientation, and the Rotation. Whereas the 2-Node Camera, we Transform that down, we've got this extra one called Point of Interest. So let's look at the difference. Camera 1-Node, I can adjust this. And I can move it around, I can even rotate it. It should look up and down. The only trouble with that, it's created this kind of new parallel movement. It's like we did in an earlier tutorial. I'm going to delete that one now. Goodbye 1-Node, let's look at the 2-Node.

So we got this thing called the Point of Interest. It's just like an anchor in the ground. So now, when I turn the Eyeball on, come back to life. Watch this up here, so, the Position now, if I move it, can you see, the Camera moves but it's still pointing at that Point of Interest. It's like its little home in the ground, and the Camera will keep pointing at that no matter where you move this. And that's really handy, you can see on the side here, kind of what we're going to do, we're going to animate that movement. And that's really handy. If you have to use a 1-Node and try and keep rotating it to get that in the middle, it's impossible.

The other thing you could do is you could zoom in on this camera. And see this Point of Interest, you can animate that. We're not going to do in this exercise, but watch this, I can-- see this little target in the middle, I can start kind of dragging this around. And looking at-- the camera's not moving, you can see, the base of it is still the same. Just kind of like pairing around, having a look at different parts. Look at the bottom there, you can Keyframe that then look over here, this part. So that is it.

We're going to delete this camera because I've broken it. And I'm going to go back to 'Layer', 'New', 'Camera'. '2-Node Camera'. And leave the name now. Awesome! So, all these guys are made 3D. We are going to now Keyframe the Position. So open up 'Transform', be right back at the beginning, click on 'Position'. And what we're going to do is, over here, we can't see anything, let's go to 'Fit'. The reason we still can't see anything is just because we're not - oops, undo - is we can't see the whole animation yet. So let's just move it along a little bit, so we can actually see it. See this Keyframe here? Let's move it along to where we are because it's just too hard at the beginning, because nothing can be seen. So we're going to put it here. Then we're going to adjust the Position. I'm going to drag mine—

Now, it drags pretty slow. I'm going to click, hold, and drag it. Can you see, my camera is moving this way. If you hold 'Shift' while you're dragging any of these blue numbers in After Effects, you can see it kind of multiplies it by 10, so we move it a lot faster. I'm holding 'Shift', and dragging it. And what I want to do? I don't know. We're going to go over to this side. That's actually the beginning Keyframes, I want you to be over there. If you hold 'Shift' it will bang up against the edge. So it's going to start over here, and as it slides in I'm going to actually go all the way to the end. If yours is like mine, this here is the Work Frame area. We looked at this in an earlier tutorial, just double click the center of it. Stretch it all the way out. All the way down to 5 seconds. And we are going to grab this and drag it the other way.

Holding 'Shift', you can see it going past it. Awesome! How awesome? It's not that awesome. Let's give it a go, preview. Now, see this little green bar? This is our previewing, it's kind of not keeping up. It's like previewing, playing, previewing, it's buffering, it's not working. So what I might do is, go back here, and watch this. The green bar still continues out, and just catches up. So, we're going to go to 'Preview'. We're going to go, 'Resolution' to 'Quarter', just to go faster. That previews nice and quick now. Awesome! So that's what we're doing. Just the slow kind of motions, these slow pans, just to get a kind of-- add a bit of life to our data. So it looks like it's doing something.

We haven't done much in this case. And what we'll do is, before we go, we'll add a Vignette. So a little bit of star pointing, now get into some other stuff, we'll do a video background, so don't go away just yet. You can skip this if you're sick of seeing me put on Vignettes on things. So 'Layer', 'New', 'Adjustment Layer'. That 'Adjustment Layer' at the top, I'm going to rename, call it 'Vignette'. I can never spell Vignette, that's not even close. Anyway, let's go over to 'Effects & Presets'. Over here, we're going to do this one. We're going to do, what was it? Lumetri? Lumetri Color. Drag it on to this. Over here, go to Vignette, just drag it a little bit to the left. And what's happening is, it's just going to add that to it, probably. Probably, it's a little bit much. I totally overcook Vignettes whenever I do them.

Go up a little bit higher. Maybe '-0.0' Here you go, something a little bit more subtle, Dan, come on. Gives it that kind of a film effect, nice. Next thing we're going to do is, I'll hit 'Save'. And we're going to back-- we're in Effects Controls, go back to Projects. Line Chart is our first example, let's just select in here. Go 'Command C', 'Command V' to copy and paste it. Or 'Control C', 'Control V' on a PC. Right click it, rename it. This one's going to be 'Line Chart with Video Background'. I show you this because it's kind of a cool way of adding video backgrounds. Up here, in Adobe search, I'm going to do—

Now, what am I going to stick in the background? Often I like the word Abstract, just put the word 'Abstract' in. And by default, remember, it won't, it will just be everything, so we want to drop that down. We want to go to Videos. And go through this, and decide what's going on in the background. Some of them are appropriate, some of them are pretty hard core for the background of this. All of them probably need to be washed out. So, pick one. This one looks kind of cool. Let's add it to my Library, I'm going to drag it across, add it to my Video. It's going to take a second. It's at the top, so I'm going to put it just above my background. I'm going to play this back.

Now what you'll notice is that, when I'm at the beginning here-- actually, at the moment, it depends on what you want to do. I've left that just playing in the background. It's not being tracked by the camera. And that's okay for this abstract background but say there's some things in there you might want to keep it moving with the camera, so just turn the 3D on it. And what you'll notice with the 3D on it, it can be seen by the camera now, but it's actually not wide enough. Can you see, it's the size of the original but because we've moved the camera to the side, we're kind of seeing the edges, so what you might have to do with this one, let's go to 'Scale', and just crank it up until you can't see the sides. The only trouble with this is that you might have to download the 4K version. Which is a lot bigger than HD. Not sure this version has it.

Now it's moving along with it. I think I liked it being not 3D. I think I'd like it just sitting in the background there. And now it doesn't have to be so big. I'll put it back to 100%. What I'll also do is, I'm going to knock back the color because it's just too bright, and nobody can see the data here. And that Adobe Stock obviously has to go, I'll have to pay for it, because it's really interrupting the background there. And we do that with the 'Hue/Saturation'. And drag it on to this Layer here. Over here, drag the Master Lightness down. So we can see our Data. Kick back. 2-Node Cameras. Got a bit of a video background going. I think it's not any better than it was when I had a flat background. Up to you. Giving you options here, people.

All right, so let's move on to the next video tutorial.