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After Effects - Learn Motion Graphic Design

Animating static images using parallax

Daniel Walter Scott || VIDEO: 42 of 53

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Hey there, in this video we're going to look at Parallax, and using cameras to fit in with the thing. Parallax is, when you grab a static image, and you cut it into little pieces on separate layers, and you move them with different times to give it the feeling of 3D. Let's go and do that.

Just so you know, this is the file I've got in Photoshop here. I've masked out this front bit in the background, you can see. They're separated out. I did so with the channel mask, if you've never done the channel mask, you want to Google, and check out my Photoshop training course. We'll go through that in proper details. I've got an image, and it's on separate layers. I'll save and close down Photoshop.

Next thing I want to do is bring in my video. I'll bring in my masked image. I'm going to go to After Effects, in here to 'Parallax.psd'. That is an important one, yours is going to default to 'Footage'. You want to switch it out to 'Composition - Retain Layer Sizes'. It just helps line things up later on. Let's click 'OK'. So here's my layers from Photoshop. You see, they're separated out, and it's combined them into a 'Comp' for me, ready to go, so I'm going to double click, open my 'Comp'. I'm going to zoom out a little bit. What I want to do now is play around with my camera. To make a camera, go to 'Layer', 'New', 'Camera'. We're going to leave everything. My 'Two-Node Camera' is what we were using before, leave everything default, let's click 'OK'.

So we got a camera. Now, a warning might pop up saying, "Hey, nothing can be seen by this camera." Remember, we have to turn these guys to be 3D, and now these guys can be seen for the camera. It doesn't change much, I'm looking here. Now what we want to do is place these guys in different-- At the moment it's sitting straight on top of each other, so if I go to 'View', and go to-- I might go to '2 Views - Horizontal'. And this view over here, I'm going to click-- you see these blue dots in the corners. I'm going to go from 'Top' to 'Custom View 1'. I'm going to zoom out a little bit. You can start to see, my camera's here, and there's my two layers. They're sitting side by side. I want to push one further back, so I want these-- I want both actually pushed further back.

So, let's start with the car, let's twirl down here. Let's find the 'Transform'. And we're going to use this one, 'Position'. We're going to use this last one. If you can't see the last one, it's because you haven't turned that 3D on. I'm going to make this a bit bigger. If you haven't turned that on, you can see there's no third option, turn it on, here he is. We'll use 'Position', I'm going to push him back. How far back? You're going to have to play around with this. I'm going to zoom, scroll mine back a bit, upto about there. Where? I've got mine at about '1500'. Now I want to 'Scale' it up. I 'Scale' it up using any of these, they're all linked. Just 'Scale' it up, so it kind of fits down the bottom there, nice. It's only going to go a bit further past. It's a good idea to go a bit further past.

Now I'm looking at this side here, you can't tell I'm looking, can you? I'm going to look at this side. I'm going to jump back to '1 View' so you can see. I've gone a bit past the edge, so I can move the camera. So it's further back, it's behind my clouds. If that doesn't make any sense, it makes heaps of sense when you're in '2 Views'. You can see here, he's behind my clouds. He's bigger, looks quite big down there, but he's actually behind it. So now, let's grab the clouds. I'll grab the clouds, so doing the same thing. Twirl it down, 'Transform'. Find the 'Position', I'm going to send it back. You see him moving in this screen here. I'm going to hold 'Shift' while I'm dragging it so it drags in a lot bigger chunks. I'm going to push it, eventually you see it goes behind. Can you see there? He's in front, behind. Just going to get back quite far.

It depends on how the distance is. If you've got something that's-- maybe there's a wall against the clouds, and it's quite close to the car, you don't want it to be pushed back too far because it's not going to look right. There's a lot of fiddling around, so I hold 'Shift', and I'm going to get mine to maybe about '5000', let's say, give it good numbers. Then I'm going to 'Scale' that. And I'm going to 'Scale' past where it needs to be. So I'm going to go back to my-- Actually I'm going to use my little tilde key, it's the little wavy key. And I'm going to get it go past. How far past? I'm going to lift that a little bit as well. That's good, maybe, tilde. Maybe scale it up a bit further. Get past where it need to be, looks good. I'm going to move it up so my horizon line's about there. Nice. What we're going to do now is we're going to animate it. We're going to go back to 'Camera'. Camera's located here, camera is just kind of facing at the center.

Now what we're going to do is animate it, we go to 'Transform', and we're going to play around with the 'Position' of it. Before, we played with the 'Point of interest', now we're going to play around with the 'Position'. What we're going to do, I'll make it back to '1 View' so you can see what I'm doing, and I'm going to start up maybe over here And maybe a little bit down. You'll need to decide what you need to do with this one. What you can see is, can you see, I drag it, and it's actually the clouds and the foreground moving at different paces. That's the key I guess. I'm going to start with it maybe there, and get it to wrap around just a little bit. I'm going to do a slow movement, not too much. My composition is 5 seconds long. You might have to change yours if your composition is too long or too short. Right click it, 'Composition Settings'. Mine's set to 5, it remembers the last thing you did, so that's what I've done before.

I'm going to set a key frame here. That's my starting position, then right at the end here, I'm going to get it to work around a little bit, and maybe just point up here a bit. Looks in disguise. I'll start here. Little run through, you can see, just a little subtle. The clouds are moving differently from the sky. It's not running at full speed yet. Let's get it to run. I'm going to extend it out as well, it's looking good, looks like it might be believable because everything's running at different paces. But let's maybe make it extreme because I want to make it obvious what we're doing. Here we go. I'll turn my view down to 'Half' to hopefully speed it up. That's it, the camera's panning and moving like it was really there.

All right, that is parallax. Now, the trick is, to make sure in Photoshop you have separate layers. And if you're like me, I too replace the sky with a new one because obviously the trees in here are kind of hovering. So I might use a new sky. They're all just in separate layers, bring them in, and then start animating them. With the 'Z Position', push them further back, 'Scale' them up, then animate the camera.

Next thing we're going to do is add a bit more believability to this one. We'll do that in the next one, we'll look at something called CC Light Rays. Bye, see you in the next video.