Save time when animating a slideshow by using custom motion presets to efficiently add pans and zooms to multiple still images in Adobe Premiere Pro.
Couple sitting together watches a slideshow on their tablet computer, which shows a photo of Morocco

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Panning across and zooming in on photos (known as the “Ken Burns effect”) can enhance any slideshow. Custom motion presets help you focus on being creative and avoid unnecessary repetition of steps.

Starting in the Assembly workspace (Window > Workspaces > Assembly), import all the photos (File > Import) you want to include in your slideshow. Choose File > New > Sequence and select a Digital SLR preset from the New Sequence dialog box. Note in the Project panel’s Video Info column that your photos very likely have a higher resolution than the sequence itself. You’ll fix this discrepancy later.

Adobe Premiere Pro shows the Assembly workspace, images in the Project panel, and a new DSLR sequence preset chosen

By default, still images appear as five-second clips in Premiere Pro. If five seconds for each photo is too fast for your slideshow, select all images in the Project panel, right-click, and choose Speed/Duration. Set the image duration in the Clip Speed/Duration dialog box to whatever length suits your project. Depending on your project, you may want a slower pace that’s more contemplative and relaxing.

Project panel shows selected clips, right-click menu shows Speed/Duration selected, and dialog box shows longer duration entered

Click the Icon View button at the bottom of the Project panel to see image thumbnails. Identify clips you think will match nicely or suitably contrast with one another. Select the clips in the order you want them to appear and then click the Automate to Sequence button at the bottom of the panel. Accept the default settings in the dialog box and click OK. The clips will be placed, in selected order, at the position of the playhead on the targeted V track in the Timeline panel, with default transitions (cross-dissolves) inserted in between each one. Press \ to zoom in on the Timeline panel and double-click the blank area at the head of the V track to increase its height.

Premiere Pro shows thumbnails selected in the Project panel, the Automate to Sequence dialog box, and a taller V track

As previously mentioned, these photos most likely exceed the size of your sequence’s dimensions. Drag-select all clips in the Timeline panel, right-click, and choose Set to Frame Size. Doing so fits them automatically to the frame size, allowing you to do additional scaling without losing image quality.

Clips are selected in the sequence and the right-click menu shows Set to Frame Size selected

Switch to the Editing workspace and press Shift+5 to open the Effect Controls panel. Create a Ken Burns effect on a clip. To zoom in, for example, keyframe Scale across the length of the clip. Right-click the first keyframe and choose Ease Out. For the second keyframe, choose Ease In. (Some properties will require first choosing Temporal Interpolation.) Play the clip to make sure you’re happy with the animated effect.

Premiere Pro shows the Editing workspace and a keyframed zoom-in effect, with easing, applied to a clip

In the Effect Controls panel, right-click Motion and choose Save Preset. Give the preset a name and optional description of what it does and click OK.

Effect Controls panel shows a Motion effect being saved as a preset, with a title and description entered in the dialog box

Find your motion preset in the Presets folder of the Effects panel (Shift+7). Drag it onto another clip, or selection of clips, in the sequence to apply the same eased keyframe animation to it. See the preset name appear in the Effect Controls panel. Go ahead and create other animation presets that zoom out, pan left, pan right, tilt down, tilt up, rotate, and so on. Dragging a preset onto a clip replaces whatever settings you’ve already keyframed, so if you want to control multiple settings simultaneously — for example, zooming in while panning left — you’ll need to create a preset for it. Later, right-click a preset to import/export it or to create a presets bin for organization.

The Zoom In preset in the Effects panel is applied to another clip and appears in the Effect Controls panel

Once you’ve applied basic animation presets to your clips, you can fine-tune each one to suit the shot. Adjust the keyframe spacing to change the speed of animation. Add more keyframed settings. Press L a few times to play the slideshow at double speed (or faster) so you can quickly see how the different camera moves look together. To change a keyframed setting, click the keyframe navigation directional arrows in the Effect Controls panel to select it. (If you don’t see the keyframe navigation buttons, click away from the clip and then reselect it.)

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