How to create an Earth zoom out effect

by birtanpublished on September 2, 2020

In today’s tutorial, we’re going to be looking at satellite surveillance and image stitching. In the example sequence, I use footage from a DJI Spark for my end motion. This is something I personally had at hand and thought it was a good way to show how this effect could be integrated. However, as this effect can easily be used for more of a transition, what you’ll need for your own work is a high shot of your subject you’ll be traveling from and to. You’ll also need still from Google Maps or Google Earth. You can use as many as you like for the desired height, but what’s important is to not lose

Your spot while you’re zooming out. I ended up using 5 for my final stitched image. The method for this effect is the same in either direction you go, but I’ll be moving from the ground to the sky. So in our composite shot, the first things we’re going to need for this effect is a camera and a Point layer. Let’s get them from the New Layer tab. There’s going to be a lot of layers involved in this effect, relying on a chain of them to stay together. So it’s best to get used to a method in

Order to organize and avoid mishaps. And I’m going to name my Point Layer “Ground Control” to Major Tom. Once in, we’ll need to make our layers 3D by adjusting the settings in the dimensions icon. Parent the image to our Ground Control layer; this has now become the first or end frame for our motion. Open up our camera settings and set a keyframe on the position. Move to the end of our animation and throw another one down. Now we’re going to adjust the Z depth. We’ll be working

Image-by-image for now so don’t go too far out. Import the next image into the sequence and make it 3D. In order to get our images matched up, I’m going to lower the opacity of the image above, I’ll do this by going into layer properties and lower opacity. It shouldn’t matter too much about the amount, just enough so that you can see. Now by altering position, scale and rotation we’ll do our best to align these as seemlessly as possible. Take your time with this as it can easily slip

The alignment. What we’re looking out for is key features to align with; buildings, trees, rivers, or in this case, a path. When set I’ll bring the opacity back up and parent the newly set layer to the one above. Adjust the camera’s Z axis once again to make the shot wider and apply the next landscape shot. Let’s make it 3D and once again adjust the position to match with the previous image. This time around I’ll be using the building as my alignment reference. Happy with it's

Location, parent it once again with the layer above. This method repeats for each of your images. To save some time, we're gonna jump ahead to the end of the alignment. Things were going well until we hit a common complication. You may already know this, but the 3D camera is restricted to a 100000 thousand pixel view range. So when we hit 100000, the scene disappears because we've hit maximum distance. To counter this, we'll simply go to our ground control layer and scale it down. DOn't forget you also need to adjust the start keyframe to

Your camera. Now that we have these alignments and cameras locked down, we can work on these image lines. All we're going to do is select the layer, activate any of the mask tools left of the Viewer window, and make a mask, keeping the area we want to save away from the edges. Go into the mask settings and adjust the feathering until happy with the blend. Currently our camera motion is rather linear, however I'd like to have more of a crash zoom, so I'll highlight these keyframes by holding control, setting them to Smooth In from the

Icon above the timeline. Getting vertigo, yet? Much better. The camera now slowly builds to its maximum speed. With that all set I think we should have some clouds pass through. Luckily HitFilm has a great feature that automatically supplies a 3D cloud, appropriately named the Fluffy Cloud. We can find this under the Quick 3D dropdown in the Effects window. No need to apply a layer to this effect, as it already generates its own. This generates a cloud fractal in 3D space. So with the right positioning, our camera will actually pass through rather

Than just appear flat. I simply go into Transform properties, and in the Position values adjust the third one, which represents Z depth to act as our cloud height. Then move it to the desired position. Just so don't have a single cloud, duplicate this layer by pressing control and D, and in the new additions, use Position and Scale to redesign the clouds. Remember that clouds don't stick to the same altitude, so be sure to scatter them in Z space. Last little thing I added was an image of a private jet, setting it to 3D, moving it to the same

Height as our clouds, setting an animation so it went across the sky, and then by using a Grade layer, I parent it to the plane and apply this small Heat Distortion to act as my emission. Thanks for watching, if you have any questions leave them in the comment section down below. Don't forget to subscribe and ring the bell for notification of when we next upload.

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