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Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

Parallax effect to make photos move in Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, this video is all about Parallax Animations. Basically we're going to cut two different layers out, then animate them using our cool new video editing skills. You can see them here. Building is masked, clouds are masked, and it is animated at different times giving the illusion of movement. Another version here, this one here we cut the front mountain out, from the middle, from the back, and from the sky, and they're all just moving at different times. To give you this kind of cool Parallax effect. This guy, this guy, this guy, all together. A 2.5D video experience. Let's jump in now and learn how to do it. 

First up, in your '13 Videos' folder let's open up 'Parallax 1' and '2'. That's all, let's get our file ready. I'm going to the kind of shrink down my timeline. Let's be on 'Parallax 1'. So before we turn it into a video timeline let's just mask out the sky here. It's going to be super easy because of this nice clear blue. I'm using the Quick Selection Tool. So I've got the sky selected, let's invert it. Then on this background layer here, let's hit 'Layer Mask'. Let's bring in the 'Parallax 2'. So 'Select All', 'Copy', then 'Paste' it in. So my clouds are bigger than I need. That's going to be important because I wanted to kind of move across the sky, right? I want it to be underneath here. 

So for Parallax to work we need to be able to see the timeline. If you can't see it, go to 'Window', go down to 'Timeline', click on 'Create Video Timeline', and extend it up again. So let's work on the building first, let's actually give them names. It's over here. This is going to be my building, this is going to be my clouds. So on a building layer. I'm going to zoom out so I can see the end here. And how long does it need to be? It's totally up to you, it's defaulted to about 5 seconds. You can kind of see these larger numbers here, 1, 2, 3, as seconds. That will change depending on your zoom level. You zoom in and out, you'll get different numbers. So let's hit 'Play'. It's quite a long animation, 5 seconds is fine. You can extend it by just grabbing these ends here, and deciding how long you want it to be. 

So with the building, we need to do two things. We're going to do the Position and the Scale. So let's twirl down this little arrow here. The one thing that happens when you are doing a mask is that if you animate it now - I'll quickly show you a position, and then another position, but I'm going to move it. Watch what happens when I animate it. Weird, huh? The layer, but not the mask animates. So I'm going to undo, way back to the beginning, before I had any keyframes. And all I'm going to do is right click this guy, and say, you are a Smart Object. Right click the gray area, Smart Object, now when we animate it, it's going to work. 

So Playhead right at the beginning. I'm going to click another little stopwatch, I get our first keyframe. And then over here, at the end, it's going to change it. And this requires a little bit of practice, playing around, what looks believable. I'm going to fake a zoom in. Maybe have a bit of a pan in the zoom, so moving and zooming at the same time. So I'm going to enter a keyframe here, I'm going to, 'Ctrl T' on a PC, 'Command T' on a Mac. So I'm going to pretend like we're zooming in, but also moving down. So hit 'Return', and I'm just going to see what that feels like. Can you see? Zooming in. It's maybe a bit too much. 

The other thing to note is that mine loops around. If yours is not looping around, you can see in this little cog wheel here, you can turn Loop Playback 'on'. It's probably a bit too much, so if you want to change it, you got to make sure you get your playhead right over the top of it. But if you don't, like this, if you get close, it will add an extra keyframe. So I'm going to undo. So when you're dragging this playhead, what's that shortcut we learnt? We hold down the 'Shift' key, that's it, and drag, it will try and snap to things, like this keyframe. So that was just a bit too much, maybe. Let's go for something a little subtler. Not much subtler. 

Much of the work's can be done by these clouds. There is no mask on this, and I have made it just a little bit big. I've made it just-- I found that image was a little bit bigger than it needed to be. So I'm going to start it along this edge. Be at the beginning here, let's twirl this down. 'Position', and at the end here I'm going to have it kind of over here. So just as a basic rule of thumb, is that, whoever's closest to the foreground moves faster than the stuff in the background. That is not always true, but, these clouds are racing. Now it's previewing at a really low resolution, because I had set it here to resolution 25. 

What you might find, if you've got it higher, or you've got a more complex animation going on, you might have to-- watch this option here, says 30 frames per second. Say you're dropping down to 14, it's jumpy, jumpy, jumpy. You see this little bar that's racing in front of it, that's its buffering. It's trying to render it. Now that it's gone through once, you can see it's not trying to do that anymore, that little line is solid. It means that the second time around, can you see green? I went through my stressful version, and now I'm ready to play this back in a nice little loop. And that is Parallax, my friends. 

Two things, moving at different speeds, they can scale. There's no reason I couldn't scale my clouds as well. I just went for, come from left to right. My building here, I tried to scale a bit. Let's jump in and do another version with Parallax. There's nothing more than we did here, but we're going to have a few different levels. Not just the building in the background. So let's open that file now, it's 'File', let's go to 'Open'. Open up 'Parallax 3', and at the end of this we'll export it. But basically it's the same as we did in the last video. Just hit this little render button down the bottom. So for this one here I'm going to show you a little trick. 

So before we create this timeline - I'm going to double click the thumbnail, just to get rid of it for the moment, zoom in a little bit. So it's going to be 1, 2, 3, 4. Close mountain, middle mountain, back mountains, and in the sky, so we got four layers. So let's do those, so with it selected, 'Command J', I'm going to hit that, so I've got three versions. Let's even name them, let's go crazy. This is going to be the 'Sky Layer'. This one here is going to be the 'Back Mountain'. This is going to be the 'Middle Mountain'. This one here's going to be the 'Front Mountain'. So let's mask them front to back. I'm going to turn all these off. Let's do the front first, I'm just going to use my Quick Selection Tool. Pretty good. Again this is quite forgiving. So your mask doesn't have to be perfect. Just do it, get it animating, then you can go and fix the mask up later on if you like, using the Select & Mask. 

So add a Layer Mask. That's cool. It's the front mountain. Let's do this one, hold down the 'Option' key, and click on the 'Eyeball', turns the other ones off, just this one on. That's 'Alt' on a PC. Middle mountain. Don't need you. Looking pretty good. Middle mountain, thank you. Let's pick on the back one. You could go a bit hard core, and there's a few extra mountains in here. You could do them all different times. Problem is, remember, the further away the things are, the less kind of movement it's going to have. This guy's going to have a bit of movement, because we're faking clouds moving in the sky, but these mountains in the back here are not going to move much at all. 

So to cut all these other ones out, I'm not sure anybody's going to notice. Works for me. Back mountain. Sky is the last one. Sometimes you need more sky. In this last exercise we just kind of stole sky from a different image. I just went through Unsplash and just went, what seems to have the same kind of visual Depth of Field type thing. You know it is the right angle? I just guessed that, and it looks okay. But this Parallax one, I want to actually use the clouds that we've got. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to grab my 'Lasso Tool', and just select all these back guys. So I'm on my sky layer, I've got a big selection, I just want to remove the mountains. So 'Edit', 'Fill', make sure it's 'Content Aware'. And it's not going to be perfect, but it's going to give me a lot more to play around with. It's pretty cool. I turn them all on, they all look together. And now we're just going to animate them at different times, right? 

So this one, different from this one. So open up 'Timeline', and let's get this going into an animation. We'll start with this front guy because he's going to be moving the most. We're going to kind of zoom into it, so we're going to start at the beginning here. We're going to put in-- because we can't really go backwards, because there's just no extras here, you could use Content Aware Fill, and try and generate more, or you could just start really big. Oops, not that big. And shrink it down every time there is extras over here. But in this effect, what I want to do is kind of move like we're moving forward. So 'Position'. And it's not going to work, remember that little thing we need to do? Undo. We need to make sure, you, Smart Object. You, Smart Object, you, Smart Object. Back to front. Cool. 

So, transformation here. And as it zooms into 5 seconds, I'm going to hit 'Command T', we can go to 'Edit', 'Transform'. 'Ctrl' key on a PC. Yes, it's going to work me. This middle one here-- so that's going to have a quite a big movement. Now the middle one, because it's a little bit further away, it's going to have less movement. So at the beginning, 'Transform', at the end, 'Transform'. But it's going to have just not as much. You can look at percentages. Can you see up here? That's 130, if you're watching, I have no idea what I made the first one, but you can kind of just go 150, 130, 110. Something like that if you need some Math. I'm just making sure you can't see the join. It's probably a bit much, let's just go and test it, and see. Make adjustments afterwards, let's get the mechanics working. 

So in the back here, 'Transform'. Didn't quite get it in the beginning. So 'Transform', and then at the end here I'm going to go just, maybe 112%. Move it up a little bit. So there-- I think it's okay. Let's look at doing the sky now. So in this case, because this is slightly different-- watch this, because this is a Smart Object I have this option called Transform. If I click on 'Sky', and I twirl it down, it's kind of different. You can see, I have Position, Opacity, and Style. And the position will work, I can keyframe the position, but it won't do this scale which I want to do. So I'm going to right click this guy, 'Convert to Smart Object'. Even though it's got no mask or anything, it just means that it gives me access to the Transform. So the beginning here, I'm going to transform it, and then at the end I'm going to change the position, and also the scale. Probably not that much, Dan. Just a little bit, and maybe just-- I'm going to scale away. Clouds are slowly moving that way. 'Enter, it's good to go. 

You can see, the first time through, it's trying to buffer, it can't do it, it's only playing it 7 frames per second, it should be doing 30. So what we're going to do is, probably switching it to, the resolution to 25%, it would play fine. But I got it at 100. Wait for it to go around, loop, and now it should play nice. Way too much movement on that first one. But now we've got a drone that's coming in, zooming in. Kind of believable. Probably have to lower the scale and movement of that first front one. That's what you can do now, just make sure you got the playhead, holding 'Shift', so it snaps to the keyframes, and make adjustments. 

To render this, we're going to hit this little 'Render' button down the bottom, little arrow. Select the folder, I'm going to stick mine on the desktop. It's going to take the name of the JPEG that we opened. That's going to work for me. We're going to export ours as H.264, so it's an mp4, and leave everything else there. Hit 'Render', kick back, relax, and you'll end up with an mp4. Let's check our desktop, here it is here. And that is awesome. If it's not a little too fast. If you want to export this as an animated gif, we'll do that in the next video when we do Cinemagraphs. And we'll do some animated gif export.