View Full Version : Zooming and panning around a big picture (AE Question)

08-13-2012, 08:30 AM

I am trying to master the art of zooming and panning around a composition in After Effects. Usually the composition will be a large psd or jpg, sometimes made up of smaller sections. My question is: is there a limit to how big the picture can be? Let's just say it's an SD composition 720 x 576 ( PAL ) and the picture I want to use for panning and zooming is a huge 8000 x 7000 picture. Will AE handle it?
I've tried it a few times, made AE crash ( told me something about insufficient buffer can't handle file size ) and it forced me to convert it to jpg AND make it way smaller. Not happy with that, because I've seen much larger pictures used for zoom / pan effects on TV promos. Unless I'm doing something wrong here??

08-13-2012, 08:40 AM
My PC even in 32 bit mode is fairly damn fast, but maybe I should upgrade to 64 bit. Using AE CS4


08-13-2012, 08:42 AM
I think what you want to do is use a null object and a camera...you don't really need a hugh image like that.
Like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-wFIM1RGHk

...if I'm understanding your question...:beer:

08-13-2012, 09:01 AM
Yes, I follow that, thanks ZazaCast. It makes sense using the null object, but the example uses a black background. If we were to create the illusion of zooming and panning around a giant map for example, the "map" would still need to be huge wouldn't it? ( I want to move from one section of the map to another moving around a specific route and then zooming in to show the "destination" )

08-13-2012, 09:05 AM
Try setting your preview quality to half or even third or fourth. It's trying to preview such a massive image, so set the quality down for previewing. Hope that helps.

capt chuck
08-13-2012, 09:08 AM
I think between the 32 bit and the relatively low amount of ram (also a limit of 32 bit) could be causing you the issues. I've done pretty large images for pan and zoom before without the issue you're seeing (I use a system with 64 bit and 8gb ram). Short of upgrading, I think you are going to have to compress the images so AE can handle.

08-13-2012, 09:38 AM
If I upgrade to a 64 bit operating system, will I have to upgrade to AE CS5 ? CS4 is 32 bit only? Damn...

08-13-2012, 09:46 AM
A much better tutorial :


only major flaw here the dude forgot to show the completed example!! Big let down!

anyway... I may still try to do my map animating the picture's anchor point only. I want the "camera" to follow along a route as it's being drawn.

Michael Carter
08-13-2012, 09:58 AM
A couple things to try:

Use a low rez image and when the comp is done, figure out the largest usage in the clip and replace it with higher rez - but "just-enough" rez. Often we throw in giant images and they're overkill - but sometime you don't know until your animation is completed. Look at your tightest zoom on the image and export a frame, use that in Photoshop to size the big version (layer it over the high res, cut its opacity to half or so, select the main layer and scale til it aligns decently, delete the exported frame layer, replace footage - you may have to rescale the image in AE).

If the image can be broken into tiles, try it - re-align 'em in AE into a single comp - build one image out of 6 or so chunks. You don't even need a hard line if you align the tiles well.

This is more of a guess, but - try uncompressed TIFFs instead of JPEGs or PNGs - I assume AE has to decompress the image to display, so unless I need an alpha channel from photoshop, I use flat TIFFs.

08-19-2012, 03:38 AM
For a map or other large image that you want to pan & zoom you can use several stacked images of different zoom levels at different resolutions - so for example a map of a whole county at 1500x1000 and a second map of the city you want to zoom in on, also at 1500x1000. Scale the close-up image down to 10% or whatever you need to overlay it ontop of the other image. Then parent them all to the final image or to a null object so that you can control the scale/motion of all of them at once easily. Also remember that using motion blur on pans means you might only require a lower res image and just have a higher res tile for your start and end point.

09-24-2012, 01:33 AM
Thanks for posting that tutorial. I really found it helpful.