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Tutorial: Push-Pull Camera Effect


Hey guys, I was messing with the camera focal length in Blender a few days back, and it hit me that I was achieving the famous camera effect known as push pull (aka: Smash Zoom, Dolly Doom and Vertigo). This technique is used in a lot of classic films (ie: Vertigo, Jaws, good fellas, etc). - Rex Harby






So in this tutorial you will be:

  • Animating camera focal length
  • Animating basic movement of camera
  • Using a cube or a plain to get perfection

If you want you can use a plain to line up the camera, to get more perfection, but I personally prefer a cube so it doesn’t look to CG and give it a bit of imperfection.

Tutorial link:



  1. Awesome! I always wondered how they did that effect in movies. I thought for the longest time that they filmed two different shots and edited them together. This is a lot more simple than i imagined.


  2. @Crouch - true, but you could also just use a non-curved graph (can't remember what that's called) so it's a straight line, and do a little tweaking so that cube stays the same size.
    Just for the non-python blenderers like me ^^

  3. Are all tutorial topics pretty much done in Blender? I think I see one dolly zoom or in this case 'dolly doom' tutorial every 9 months. Mark my words someone is going to cover this again :-(

    wikipedia lists a whole bunch of cinematic techniques for the love of god, can someone please cover something other than dolly zoom next time

  4. it's a bit eerie, as i was just looking into how the effect was done, and using blender to help me visualize the concept better for IRL.

  5. Afaik it is called "Dolly Zoom" (not doom), because it is a combination of a dolly motion (move the camera) while performing a zoom (via the lens).

  6. @BnBGobo ironically I am working on something(under wraps but it centers on hard surface modeling). I am doing basic research at the moment but one of the first things I did and am still doing is googling to make sure I am not covering well worn paths. If you don't believe me about dolly zoom check vimeo, you tube search for contra zoom or other names the technique is known under. You will turn up a tutorial for each year going back to about 2007.

    I know there was a tutorial on this last year, and one in 2009. I know of another in 2008 and 2007.

  7. @fred: I don't doubt you about the number of tutorials, fred. This is one of the tried and true camera moves in cinema, so it's no surprise that folks will want to make tutorials about it. I just don't think complaining about the 'number' of tutorials makes this particular tutorial, or any new tutorial 'not worth it'. I appreciate the time everybody takes into making their tutorials... that's what helps newbies like me thrive. Don't ever _not_ make a tutorial just because it's been done already, at the very least it helps the author have a better grasp on the topic while giving them experience writing tutorials--something that will benefit them when they start writing on those less covered topics.

    I look forward to seeing your tutorial as well when it's time, good luck!

  8. Ha ha ventures, cool!

    Great tutorial! I discovered that idea in blender awhile back but had difficulty getting it to look right. Your tutorial makes it clearer, thanks!

  9. Just to make the history record complete, we should mention Big Buck Bunny, which brought the dolly zoom to the attention of a broad mass after Hitchcock and Spielberg served their special interest audiences ;)

  10. Just picking up Fred's point about well worn paths. Some folks tutorials are more or less easy to follow than others, some are more entertaining than others and for one reason or another you may just become more comfortable with a presenters style. I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't be cool to have the same tutorial covered by many presenters. Anyhoo I enjoyed this particular tutorial even though I previously understood the concept, I was digging the silly music when he said "healthy", thanks for entertaining us and educating us. Oh yeah, liked your style Rex, you should do more tutorials.

  11. This is also known as a 'reverse-zoom'. Actually that is the common term for it on a film set.

    Great trick, thanks for the tut...

  12. Believe it or not but it's really hard to find a tutorial topic that has not been done before. Though luckily most tutorials around were made in 2.49.

    @Sonny "Oh yeah, liked your style Rex, you should do more tutorials." we have a whole site full of em! that is - Rex, Tanner and I run it in our spare time

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