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How to Pan and Zoom in After Effects (Step by Step)

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Sep 13, 2021• Proven solutions

The Ken Burns Effect is used in videography of still images to create a certain experience or ambiance. If you want to bring certain still images to life or to prevent the viewer from being bored with a monotonous sight on screen for too long, you can take advantages of using Ken Burns effect. And in this article, we're going to show you how to make pan & zoom effect in After Effects.

This is a basic tutorial about After Effects, professional video editing software. However, if video editing is new to you, consider Wondershare Filmora. The lengthy process and complication can be avoided by using it as an alternative as it is a more user friendly option.

It is so easy to pan and zoom in Filmora with three steps. The method to do so using Filmora is as below.

  • Drag and drop the required image on to the timeline. Select and right click the image and then click on "Zoom and Crop" from the drop down menu.
  • Select Pan and Zoom. The start and end frame will appear in red and blue respectively on the video viewer.
  • Make required adjustment. Export and save the file.

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Part 1: How to Pan and Zoom (Ken Burns effect) in After Effects

After Effects provides its users to apply the pan and zoom effect to videos by following the following process:

Step 1: Import image first

Start the program and open a new project. Click File to import the required file onto the project file. It would be better if your image is high quality as it may get blurry after it is zoomed in. So it is necessary to import a high resolution image.

pan zoom AE

Step 2: Scale and position the image

Next hit S and Shift + P to get scale and postion. Then clcik on the stop watch icon next to postion and scale. Move your playhead ahead around 2-10 seconds. How long it should be is based on what you need and the material you used. Here, we will move two seconds ahead. Now scale the image to whichever direction you want. Next clik the grey dot in the preview windows to drag it in one direction. After you are satisfied, play the effect to see if it has succeeded.

pan zoom AE

Step 3: Save changes

By now, this effect is done. If you want to refine your iamge, you can Shift+Click on the keyframes to select all, next ctrl+click on one of the first ones and then click Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease to touch up the image. In the end, click File > Save to keep your work.

Part 2: 4 Tips on How to zoom in/out on After Effects

1.Planned and Purposeful Zooming

The main objective here when zooming in is to get a grasp on the viewer and create intimacy with the video. Whereas when zooming out more detail is exposed. There should be proper attention paid towards the intention of zooming and over zooming should be avoided at all costs.

2.Varying Motion

Try to play around with the pan and zoom motion, do not allow your moves to be monotonous throughout. Be diverse.

3.Careful with the Speed

You do not want to move in or out too fast or too slow, that could easily ruin the entire effect. Timing and speed both matter immensely for this effect to have a meaningful impact.


Avoid hard transitions When transitioning from one focal point to another be steady and calm and try not to make it sudden but rather meaningful.

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Benjamin Arango
Benjamin Arango is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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