View Full Version : dolly back, zoom in inside AE?

02 February 2006, 08:46 PM
Not sure what the tech name of this camera move is, but it's basically, a shot of our hero. The camera is dollied back while simultaneously zooming in, creating a fisheyed/distorted background. My question is how to duplicate this effect in AE, working with only stills.

Without getting into crazy specifics, let's say I have three characters (our hero flanked by two sidekicks) all on separate layers, facing camera, and one background layer.

I've messed a little with the Optics Compensation effect, but with limited results thus far. I think I'm on the right track, but I wonder if anyone has tried this or would suggest a different course of action. Much thanks to all in advance,


02 February 2006, 10:43 PM
This would be called a dolly zoom.

Dolly zoom (

With your example zooming in would actually flatten the field of view, not distort it (fisheye). But if that's your goal (fisheye at end of shot), then, if the camera is looking straight at your characters, then simply moving your hero closer to the camera and the sidekicks backward would create the effect. Move the sidekicks in the background slower than the hero since they're further away from the camera. If the camera is looking up or down, then do some simple distortions on the different layers to create the effect of perspective...use the corner pin or mesh warp effect and animate the top or bottom tapering respectively.

02 February 2006, 12:05 AM
Hey, thanks, I appreciate the quick reply. At the moment, I'm doing sort of a combo of scaling and the Optics Compensation. Scaling the hero up 5%, the sidekicks down 10%, and the background down 15%, with the Optics Compensation effect on the background layer providing some extra distortion. Not perfect yet, but it's going in the right direction.

When I posted the above, I also sent an email to my friend AE guru, Ed Mundy who had this reply:

ok, i did some thinking about this and played around a little bit.
that "jaws" shot is essentially doing this: the foreground (joe's
head) stays the same size/position in the shot, while the background
appears to move away from the camera, toward the vanishing point.

If you want to try to imitate it in AE, the background will need to be
made up of multiple layers. each layer should get smaller and move
toward the center of the shot (if the anchor point is moved to the
center of the comp this can be done without adjusting the position key
frames). the farther away a layer is from the camera, the more
drastic the change will be. thus the back wall might scale down 50%,
while a chair in the mid ground will scale down only 25% and a hatrack
standing right behind the subject will scale down only 15%.

It won't look right if the subject (Joe's Head) doesn't move at all,
so scale him UP 5 or 10%, too.

It also seems to work if your background is a single layer - it should
scale down while the subject should scale up a little bit. But it
does look more interesting if you've got multiple layers in the

(I figured all this out by doing it with AE's 3D layers first (by
creating a camera, placing all the layers on different planes in
space, and then moving the camera and zooming simultaneously - exactly
how we did it real life), but quickly realized it could be
accomplished without 3D. I attached my project so you could see my
thinking. It has the original 3D version and a 2D version and they
look about the same.)

Much thanks for the help, if I end up getting something really cool, I'll post a gif and step by step.


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02 February 2006, 12:05 AM
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