May 4, 2015

Camtasia Tip #7- A Nicer Way to Zoom

Using the Crop Tool for a Kindler Gentler Zoom Effect

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Camtasia does have a built-in zoom effect but it’s pretty jarring. The whole screen zooms in and the viewer can often lose a sense of “context” of what they are watching. Additionally, if you use it very much you can easily make your viewers sea sick. I find a much more effective technique is to zoom just a part of the screen. This is especially effective when you want to make something small easier to see or just call attention to a particular item on a crowded screen.  It looks like this. (Detailed steps are below)

In the example I’m in a code editor and I want to make the code area bigger. First I add a split to the  video track and make a copy of the piece so that the zoom will take place in a section of the video. I then move that track above the main video track. The main video track will become the ‘background’ track. 
imageThe next step is to crop the duplicated track to just the portion that will zoom.  It’s important to do this step so that the entire video clip is cropped. You can use the Camtasia zoom so you get a really accurate crop.
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image Once you have it cropped to your liking, set two animations on the new track, one near the beginning  and one near the end.
Click in between the two animations and set the zoom (using Visual Properties)  and reposition. In my example I want the code to grow down and to right so I drag the zoomed clip so that the top left position is back at the original location.
image Finally for an additional effect add a spotlight callout and position it below your crop/zoom effect and above everything else.  

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Tod Gentille (@todgentille) is now a Curriculum Director for Pluralsight. He's been programming professionally since well before you were born and was a software consultant for most of his career. He's also a father, husband, drummer, and windsurfer. He wants to be a guitar player but he just hasn't got the chops for it.