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After Effects - Learn Motion Graphic Design

Using cameras in After Effects

Daniel Walter Scott || VIDEO: 40 of 53

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Hey there, in this video we're going to look at cameras in After Effects. We're going to start with a nice simple camera exercise to get you used to using it. If you're finding through this tutorial, this particular video at least that cameras are really hard, you're right, cameras can be a little bit tough. So we're going to do a nice simple one, and then it will bounce on later on in the tutorial series.

Let's get going with the basic camera one. First of all, what we need to do is create a 'New Composition'. '5 seconds' is how long mine is, it's up to you. Click 'OK'. I'm going to put in-- do we need a background, no we don't. Just going to use the black background. Let's grab the 'Type' tool. Click once, and we're going to have three objects. It's up to you what you type. Remember, 'Caps Lock' is on. This one's gone red, and disappeared. I'm going to hit this one. I'm going to copy and paste this layer, move it across, and this one here is going to be 'Cameras', then you copy and paste. 'Caps Lock' off. Move it down with the black arrow. Double click it, hard. 'Caps Lock' on again. Make sure your 'Caps Lock' is off. What we're going to do is-- The camera's going to move from-- cameras are kind of hard, and it's going to move around the screen here. Just going to give it a bit of 3D, I guess. This is what cameras are going to do.

So, we're going to start by creating our first camera. To do it, we're going to go to 'Layer', 'New', 'Camera'. You name the camera, you can pick-- If you are from photography, and you understand lenses, you can play with lenses, you can play with depth of field, and all sorts of cool stuff there. You can do kind of the ultimate camera. We're going to leave everything set by default. If yours is not default, you must make sure this is 'Two-Node Camera'. And there's the '50mm', you'll get to play along with this fine. Let's click 'OK'. Now, we've got a camera. Normally there's a little warning that comes up there that says, hey, nothing's been seen in the layers, blah, blah... Click 'OK'. For some reason mine doesn't appear anymore. It just means that the camera can only see things that have got this turned on. See this little icon here? This says it's a 3D layer. And you can see, there's nothing in this that has been turned on.

So what we need to do is, say camera.-- look at these guys, watch what happens to this. Nothing happens. But what's going to happen is, if I grab this tool, the unified camera tool, and I start moving stuff around, can you see, it's now in this kind of 3D world. So go back to the black arrow. That was just for an instance, I don't want you to be messing about with that unified camera tool. What we're going to do is, we're going to go to-- At the moment we're on '1 View', we're going to go to '4 Views'. You'll just see it. There's no point going for '4 Views' unless you're dealing with cameras or 3D. There's my active view, that's the one going to be rendered. And these are the other views, you can zoom in around these.

This is front top left. If I click in this one here, what I might do is, see this one that says 'Front', it's kind of exactly what I've got here. What I'd like to do is change it from 'Front', and let's put in 'Custom View 1'. You can kind of see here, I'm zooming out a little bit. It gives you a good indication, there's my camera. And there's my subject. We'll be looking through the camera lens now.

Another little shortcut we're going to use, is we're looking for the Tilde key. If you've never seen the Tilde key before, it's like the little wave key. Depending on your keyboard, on mine, it's below the Esc key. And often I've seen it as well, on the right hand side, just above the 'return', where the open and close square brackets are, where the P key is, it could be over there. If you tap that key once on your keyboard, can you see, it actually makes this whole screen full screen. You can tap it to toggle in and out. Just gives me a bit more space while working on my laptop. You can do the same thing, if you're hovering above, and if it's doing something weird like this, just wave your mouse above.

Watch this, if I hover above the layers, it's going to expand the layers out. Just grab it when you got a really complicated layers, tab it off. If you're on your project window, and if you've got lots of files tab in there, gives you a nice big view of everything. The panel, everything. So, in here, I'm going to-- We're going to talk about-- we've talked about 2-Node cameras in terms of the point of interest in the camera. So what we're going to do now is, we're going to look at animating the point of interest. You may animate the camera, or the point of interest, it's up to you. In this case it's going to be so much easy to animate the point of interest to get us to understand how cameras work.

To do that, what we're going to do is-- Actually, we're just going to do this from one of these views here. What we might do is--What is this right view, I never use the right view. We're going to switch him out to the 'Front' view. I'm going to zoom in a bit. So what I want is, there's my camera, and there's my point of interest there. So my point of interest, can you see, I can move around. So I want to see it-- Actually this is probably the easiest view to see it in. Can you see this, watch when I move the point of interest. Can you see the camera here, it's focusing on this guy. I can animate this guy, move this camera. Just animate it around to look at these different words. We'll start at camera, so let's go to point of interest here to be seeing this.

You can see, my camera's focusing on it there. There he is. Actually what we might go to is 'Top' view. Okay, where's my-- If you're not sure where your-- I'm going to go into 4-View, and I'm going to zoom in a little bit. If you're unsure where your graphics are, the easiest way is to click on the layers, can you see, cameras. This shows me there. It's in there. And hard is somewhere underneath here, so here's my 3 views. So, there's my 'Camera 1', going back to my camera. I'm going to go into here. The point of interest, I'm going to force it at that camera. There he is there. Here you go, my friend.

You kind of have to use all three layers to get it in the middle. So, looking at it, that's the true view. Next I want to do is-- I want to zoom in a little bit, so under 'Camera' options, I want to go to 'Zoom', and I'm going to click and drag it to the right. You'll see, it's slowly moving in. You can be dragging this thing for ever sometimes. Slowly getting bigger and bigger. Drag it to the right. If you hold down 'Shift' while dragging, hold 'Shift', drag it. And it kind of moves in like, it times it by 10. So just gets in whole of it. You can see there, I can zoom right into this guy. Here's my point of interest, and watch this, I can move him around to the different things. I might have to use this view here, that's going to be the easiest view. Here he is.

So it is, cameras are hard. They are hard. So what I might do is, use the 'Front' view here. Cameras, here you are, my friend. I'll zoom across. Lovely. So, there's the first one, I'm going to set my key frame. So I'm going to go to 'Transform'. Point of interest, I'm going to hit key frame. And then move along a little bit, maybe after 1 second. Actually I'm going to get it to pause for a bit, it's going to wait, wait... Put in that key frame. Then it's going to zip across here, at 1 second. And where is it going to zip across to? To R. Here we go. And then it's going to pause here for half a second. Let's put it in a key frame. Move it across, to 2 seconds, and it's going to zip down here to 'Hard'. I'm going to move it a little bit to try get it in screen. Here we go. And that's going to pause for the rest of it.

So, if I go back to the beginning, watching this video here, cameras are hard, but not hard. That was enough fiddling with all these views. To sex this up a little bit, because it's just kind of moving, it's a little bit power pointy. I'm going to select all these guys. This one at the beginning, do you remember, is-- your easing. '70%', that's looking a bit better. Ready...

Already it looks better. And what we're going to do is, to turn Motion Blur on. Remember our secret source, Motion Blur. I'm going to see-- where are we? Twirl that up. There's my Motion Blur, I'm going to turn it on all three of these layers because I want all of them getting Motion Blur. Then, ready to go. Awesome. So that's our introduction to our basic 2-Node Camera. I'll see you in the next video.