Indeed, cameras are the secret to adding an extra edge to your videos. Appropriate usage of the camera after-effects will not only allow you to make a professional video but also helps you in becoming a skilled artist. 

Well! Playing around with a 3D camera in after effects will surely inspire you to think like a cinematographer. Thus, it is vital for you to understand its orientation and camera usage to give the best shot. The number of tools and powerful setting features such as create and customize virtual lights, change of workplace from 2D to 3D, etc., are not easy to use in action. 

To make this task effortless, I have shared the steps for how to use camera in After Effects without any hurdle. 

Steps to use Camera in After Effects

Before you start with the steps, make sure you activate a camera tool by hitting the ‘C' key on your keyboard. Make sure you cycle until you have the right layer selected. 

Once you are sure everything is active, it's time to convert a layer from 2D to 3D. For this, simply select the 3D layer switch in the timeline, or you can also navigate to Layer > 3D Layer.

After Effects 3D Cameras

One of the best ways to view your project is via a virtual camera. With this approach, you can get into 3D space and can view the elements from different angles of your after-effects composition. 

For a better insight, it is important for you to understand that the camera layer comes with all the standard transform attributes along with different features that are related to real-word-camera. It includes Focus Distance, Zoom, Aperture, etc. All these camera attributes act as a key frameable that further allows you to make smooth camera movements.

Now, let's understand how cameras in After Effects Works.

Get Started with Cameras

To get started with a camera, focus on the timeline panel and select layer > New > Camera

While creating a new camera layer, you will see a camera setting dialog box. Here, you can easily update camera attributes with the help of visual references. 

Say if you are not a beginner and have some technical experience in camera settings, then you can always customize your heart's content. For this, you have to adjust the Angle of view, File size, Focal length manually. Moreover, you can also customize Focus distance, Blur level, etc., besides depth of field. 

Say if you don't want to update individual settings, then you can choose a preset. You just simply double-click the camera to reopen and make the updates accordingly

Camera Settings

Basically, there are two different camera types in after effects, including one-node or two-node. Now you might be thinking about how both camera types are different. 

Well! There is a small difference between both camera types. Two-node includes and is highly focused towards the Point of interest. In two-node camera properties, you will notice Point of interest camera properties with X, Y, Z attributes. This attribute allows you to control the camera view very precisely. 

Under the camera's transformation properties, you will see 13 different camera options within the camera setting dialog box. These additional tools will not only allow you to make detailed adjustments but also helps you in setting up the camera's iris and adjust camera deals with highlights. 

Now, reopen-camera setting dialog box and make adjustments by double-clicking the camera layer on the timeline. 

Now, you can add keyframes to all or specific camera options in the timeline panel. Moreover, you can also insert keyframes to add some 3D camera effects like rack focus, snap zoom, etc. This is the time where you will feel that having a little information is always beneficial in using the camera in After Effects. 

After Effects 3D Tools

When it comes to camera tools, the number is quite large. This is all because usage of after effects 3D camera tools not only allows you to navigate but also allows you to utilize cameras around 3D space.

Well! To cycle between four different camera tools, you can press keyboard shortcut C. These camera tools include Unified, Track XY, Orbit, and Track. 

Furthermore, if you want to see all the changes of the camera, change the 3D view Popup by navigating to the bottom of the composition panel to specific cameras. Or you can also select Active camera. Check out the below screenshot to know more about camera tools. 

Now, let's take a look at all these four-camera tools in details for better understanding-

Track Z camera Tool

As the name indicates, the Track Z Camera tool will help you move your camera backward and forward into 3D space. 

Track XY Camera Tool

By keeping the name in mind, the Track XY camera tool allows you to move your camera both vertically and horizontally in 3D space. 

Orbit Camera Tool

With the help of the Orbit camera tool, you can move your camera around Point of interest. If you orbit a one-node camera, you can change the camera orientation as a one-node camera with no point of interest. 

Unified Camera Tool 

Last but not least is the Unified camera tool. By using this tool, you can easily switch between all the above camera tools. To jump between these tools, just simply use a mouse and make the updates. 

Check out this complete video to know better about the entire concept of how to use a camera in after effects and how to use camera tools after effects. 

The Final Verdict

Using cameras in after effects is not a cakewalk especially if you are using the camera in after effects for the first time. But hopefully, the above information, screenshots and video will surely help you get hands on video editing using cameras in after effects. 

So, have fun and achieve excellent results by creating awesome videos and camera effects. Still, if you face any issue, feel free to contact us and share your queries with best video editing company. 

Happy video editing! 

Editor– Divya Verma

Frequently Asked Questions

In After Effects, the shortcut for the unified camera tool is the ‘C' key. Pressing ‘C' allows you to quickly switch to this tool, which is used for manipulating the camera view within the composition.

The active camera in After Effects can be found in the Composition panel. It represents the view that will be rendered and is designated as the camera through which the composition is viewed during playback and rendering.

A camera layer in After Effects is a specialized layer that mimics the behavior of a physical camera within a composition. It allows you to control various parameters like position, orientation, depth of field, and lens settings to create realistic 3D motion and depth effects in your animations.

In the context of camera systems in animation and visual effects, a one-node camera refers to a camera with a single point in space, meaning it doesn't have a separate point of interest. This type of camera remains fixed at a single position and can't focus on different objects or areas within the scene, making it less versatile compared to multi-node cameras that allow more complex control over the viewpoint.