After Effects: How To Do An Earth Zoom

(ONE WOMAN BANDIT) – This was one of the first tricks/tutorials I learned in After Effects. I believe that the tutorial itself, embedded below can teach editors a lot about the software and how to manage around the simplest After Effects projects.  #onewomanbandit.


1)    Create different image zoom levels (print screen) – about 8-9 of them

2)    Linking layers together:

  1. a.    Hide all layers except the two top layers
  2. b.   Drop opacity to 50% on top layer to line it up with bottom layer – scale top layer to bottom
  3. c.    Parent top layer to bottom layer
  4. d.   Repeat these steps on rest of the layers

3)    Select all layers and make sure the opacity for all is back to 100%.  Then, select all layers again and change parent to none, and finally take all layers but top one and parent to top layer.

4)    Change scale of top layer to 100.

5)    With title safe on, line up center to cross hairs and move the anchor point with the Pan Behind tool to the middle

6)    Set keyframe at first on scale and move 6 seconds and change scale to .0005.

7)    Right click on both keyframes and hit Exponential Scale.

8)    Select all layers and change layer color to GOLD.

9)    On layer 2, double-click on Elliptical Mask tool, hit “MM” on keyboard, change feather to 250 and expansion to -250.  Do same thing for other layers (may have to move mask around to avoid discoloration).  Color correct if needed.

10)Create NEW NULL OBJECT and call it “Rotation” and parent top image layer to NULL

11)Change rotation on NULL from 0 to 180 (keyframe it).  Start a couple of frames into it and hit F9 for both frames.

12)Create a NEW SOLID and call it “Stars”,  Go to Effects>Noise & Grain>Fractal Noise, bring Transformation Scale down to 4, Contrast to 309, and Brightness to -127.  Move Stars layer behind Earth image and parent to Layer 1 (NULL).  Shut off eye on Rotation NULL layer.

13)Drop Earth Zoom comp to new composition.  Add Expression Control>Slider Control and go to Position and Alt Click on stopwatch.  Type “wiggle(10, lasso value to Slide in effects window).

14)As image turns, click stopwatch on slider (start with 0), move forward a couple of seconds and change slider to 10, go to almost the end of the layer and keyframe 10 and 0.

15)In case of “black fringe”, go to Effects>Stylize>Motion Tile, drop on clip, click on Mirror Edges with output width of 120 and output height of 120.

16)OR Click on * in Column-Continuous Rasterization if needed

17)Enable time remapping, move to where last keyframe is from initial comp and select keyframes, hit F9

18)Create NEW SOLID (1500×1500), call it “Clouds” and go to Effects>Noise & Grain>Fractal Noise.  Change fractal type to Dynamic, Contrast to 254, Brightness to -45, Transfer Mode to Screen (right-click on layer to get to TM), Transform Scale to 156

19)Find hole in cloud and offset it to reveal center of city or building of choice

20)Scale keyframe – move past Camera View and move down timeline, scale to around 10, then highlight both keyframes and right-click to choose Exponential Scale.

21)Parent Clouds to Rotation layer.

22)Fade it out through changing opacity.

23)Double-click Elliptical Mask tool, feather to 200, Expansion to -132, and distort mask circle to shape it.

24)Duplicate and offset clouds to change evolution for different clouds.

25)Apply motion blur to ALL layers on ORIGINAL comp.


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