How to Add Animations & Visual Effects in Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 lets you easily create photo slideshows and home movies without any technical knowledge. You can give them a more professional look and feel by adding transitions, pan and zoom and other visual effects. In this tutorial, we will explain the differences between each of these animations and effects and show you how to use them in your Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 project.

Before You Begin

If you are new to Windows Live Movie Maker, you might want to catch up on the basics before beginning this tutorial. Reading these articles will get you up to speed:

Before completing the next steps, make sure you have a few photos and/or video clips added into a new Windows Live Movie Maker 2011 project. The above tutorials will help if you don’t know where to start.


The Animations pane contains two different kinds of animations you can add to video clips or photos: Transitions and Pan and zoom.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Transitions - Transitions are applied to the beginning of the selected clip. To apply them, select a photo or video clip and choose a transition from the gallery in the top-left. You can mouse over a transition to preview it.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

Once you’ve applied a transition, the clip in the timeline will have a washed-out diagonal region that shows where the transition begins and ends.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

You can alter how long the transition takes by altering the Duration to the right of the Transitions gallery. After applying a transition to a clip or photo, select it and enter a duration between 0.04 and 10.00 seconds. The washed-out region will shorten or lengthen accordingly.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

If you want to apply the same transition to all of you clips and photos, you can click Apply All after selecting a transition. This, however, is a surefire recipe for a repetitive video or slideshow.

One other thing about transitions: you can’t add a transition to the end of a clip. So, if you want to have a clip fade to black, you have to apply a dissolve transition to the clip immediately after it. A bit of a roundabout way to do things, but it accomplishes the same effect.

Pan and Zoom - On the right-hand side of the Animations tab is the Pan and Zoom gallery. These are applied the same way as transitions. Select a photo, and then choose a pan and zoom setting from the gallery.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

When pan and zoom is applied, there will be an icon in the top-left of the clip. You cannot alter the duration of a pan and zoom effect.

As with transitions, you can choose to Apply All with your selected pan and zoom. The best use of this feature is to select Automatic and then Apply All. This will apply a random pan and zoom effect to each photo, which helps change things up a bit.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

NOTE: You cannot add pan and zoom effects to video clips. This only works with still photos.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

To remove an animation, simply choose None from the respective gallery.

Visual Effects

Visual effects can be applied to still photos and video clips. You can find them in the Visual Effects tab and apply them by choosing a clip and selecting an effect from the gallery.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

You can preview the effect in the preview window on the left. The original clip appears as normal in the timeline.

In the Visual Effects tab, you will also find the setting that lets you adjust the Brightness.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

You can brighten or darken any clip or photo regardless of any visual effects that have been applied.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

One thing that’s unique about visual effects is that you can apply multiple effects to a single clip. To do this, click the arrow to expand the gallery and choose Multiple Effects.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

In the Add or Remove Effects dialog, you can choose which effects to apply to your selected clip. To add an effect, highlight it in the “Available effects” menu and click Add. To remove it, select it in the “Displayed effects” column and click Remove.

Windows Live Movie Maker 2011

You can also choose the order in which the effects are applied. Depending on which effects you choose, this may impact how the video is ultimately displayed. Click Apply when you are finished.


That’s about all there is to adding transitions, pan and zoom and visual effects to your Windows Live Movie Maker project. Feel free to experiment with different combinations -- there is no risk of overwriting the original, and you can always remove an effect as easily as you applied it.

For more tutorials about Windows Live Movie Maker 2011, check out some of our related articles listed below.