How To Quickly Position a Camera in After Effects

In this post, I will show you how to quickly position a camera in After Effects.

Alright, so we are in After Effects and for this example, I have a Camera 1,

Camera in After Effects
3 text layers (ONE, TWO & THREE)

Text Layers in After Effects

and a background layer.

Background layer in After Effects

It is important to point out that all four of these layers are 3D.

3D Layers in After Effects

In fact, let me show you how they look in 3D. Let’s change the Active Camera to Custom View 1.3D Layers in Adobe After Effects3D layers in Active Camera View in After Effects

As you can see right now they are kind of spread out on the z-axis. We can see the background, text layers ONE, TWO, THREE and then my Camera 1.

Background, one, two, three and camera in After Effects

Okay, now let’s go back to the Active Camera view where we were at the beginning.

Active Camera View in After Effects

Now let me show you how to quickly frame up your shots. For example, what if I wanted to zoom in right into that text layer ONE?

Zoom in to one in After Effects
To do that, all we have to do is just make sure the text layer ONE is selected. Then go to View – Look at Selected Layers or use keyboard shortcut is CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+\ on a PC or CMD+OPT+SHIFT+\ on a Mac. Whatever is easiest for you.

Loot at selected layers in After Effects
When you do that, it is going to frame up ONE like so:

Keyboard shortcut to frame up in After Effects

You can do the same thing for text layers TWO and THREE. If you want to see all of them, simply go to and choose View – Look at All Layers.

View All Layers in After EffectsView All Selected Layers in After Effects
This will frame up everything you have in your composition.

So let’s do a practical example here. I am going to select Camera 1 and hit A to reveal the point of interest.

Reveal point of interest in After Effects

Then hold down SHIFT and hit P to bring up my position.

Position in After Effects
Next, I am going to go to the beginning of my timeline and set some keyframes.

Set keyframes in After Effects

I am going to select the ONE and zoom in with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+\ on a PC or CMD+OPT+SHIFT+\ on a Mac.

Select One in After Effects

Then I will hit the C key to toggle through my camera tools and I am going to go with Track Z.

Toggle through camera tool in After Effects

With Track Z selected, I am going to pull out a little bit like so:

Pull out with track z in After Effects

The shots are already set since I already have my keyframes.

So next I am going to press SHIFT+PAGE DOWN in order to go 20 frames on my timeline.

Shift page down in After Effects

Then I am going to frame up a second shot. So I am going to select TWO and zoom in with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+\ on a PC or CMD+OPT+SHIFT+\ on a Mac.

Zoom in TWO in After Effects

Hit C again to toggle through the camera tools until you find Track Z.

Press C to toggle camera tool in After Effects

Then pull out again to something like this.

Pull out with track z in Adobe After Effects

Then again I am going to do SHIFT+PAGE DOWN a few times.

Shift page down a few times in After Effects

This time I am going to select THREE and do CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+\ on a PC or CMD+OPT+SHIFT+\ on a Mac.

Zoom in THREE in After Effects
I am going to pull out again with the Track Z camera tool.

Pull out camera in After Effects

Lastly, I am going to fix some things up. So I am going to do some easy ease outs with the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+F9 on a PC or CMD+SHIFT+F9 on a Mac.

Easy ease outs in After Effects

And then I will also select the last two keyframes and do an easy ease in with the keyboard shortcut SHIFT+F9.

Shift 9 easy ease in After Effects
Then I will select the two keyframes in the middle, hold CTRL on a PC or CMD on a Mac and click on the keyframes.

Command click in After Effects

That is pretty much it. I can also fix it up a little bit more by selecting the last two keyframes and adjust my velocity with a keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+K on a PC or CMD+SHIFT+K on a Mac. I will go with 75.

Adjust Velocity in After Effects Velocity 75 in After Effects
And probably push my last two keyframes back a little bit.

Push back keyframes in After Effects

So if we preview this, you will see the camera will start with ONE, then zoom out to TWO and then lastly THREE.

So you can definitely see how useful this can be. I hope you found this tip useful!

About the author:

Sergei Prokhnevskiy

Sergei Prokhnevskiy is a Charlotte, NC based motion graphics designer, an online tutor, an entrepreneur, and Adobe MAX Master Speaker. Sergei is known for his quick and practical After Effects tips and tricks on YouTube, where he generated well over 6 million views on his tutorials. He has authored an online video course on After Effects Expressions and developed scripts for After Effects. He is also a former senior motion graphics designer at Fox Sports where he worked on graphics for NFL, Super Bowl, MLB, World Series, College Football, NASCAR, Women’s World Cup, and NASCAR Race Hub. He is very passionate about learning and teaching others.

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