Item description

As many of us often do, we get into the situation that we need to implement photos into a video (documentary, image film, reportage,… you name it) The easy way of doing this is to simply zoom into the photo or pan over it. If you want to give your photos more “life” you begin to draw masks and animate single parts of the picture to give the illusion of some camera movement. This can be very time consuming. So I started to build a tool wich helps me do this and cuts the time doing so tremendously. I have been using and improving it for over half a year now and it has already saved me so much time. This is what you can do:

  • define a mask (often a simple & quick rough mask will work perfectly)
  • 8 layers will be generated from this mask
  • define the layer size
  • you can pull the layers in two different ways at the same time: 1) The weighting is more defined at the outside layers 2) The weighting is more defined on the inside layers
  • push camera or object in & out
  • Pull focus (between innermost and outermost layer)
  • define edge blur of layers (feathering)
  • Activate “Visual Help Mode” to make adjustments easily visible
  • two resolutions: 1920×1080, 3840×2160

Place object within scenery (since V2):

  • Second Mask can be made of two separate masks
  • 6 Layers will be generated of this/these mask/s
  • Move Object
  • Move with weighting on inner layers to give impression of turning the object
  • Expansion/Contraction with weighting on inner layers
  • Scaling Object
  • Bluring Object
  • Layer Edge Blur
  • Parent Object to first Mask (movement and blurriness)

Add wind and waves to your composition (since V3):

  • draw two masks for wind area and wave area
  • set horizon, wave base and camera angle to blend wave area with photo
  • define number of waves
  • define speed of waves
  • define height of waves
  • define size of wind turbulence
  • define amount of wind turbulence
  • define speed of wind turbulence
  • Warning: longer render times on wind and waves. (On an i7 4×2,4Ghz with AE CS4 (32bit, so only 4GB RAM) a 4 second clip took me about 10 minutes to render)

Dust Particle Sys., Text-Placeholder, Advanced functions (since V4):

  • Create dust particles and change: Size, Amount, Shape, Color, Speed, Depth in Picture
  • Place your Text or Logo in the Animation and decide for depth in picture (will be effected by blurring and movement)
  • Advanced masking: You can now add masks to every layer individually. This means you can draw masks and decide what parts of the picture belong to wich layers.
  • Advanced Layer Rig: The Photo Animator contains a very advanced Layer Rig. As you can read above you can shift focus, move layers with different weighting, move into the picture and so on. Even though you don’t need plates at all, you sometimes want or have to use them. So now you can use this advanced layer rig for your own plates. This makes animating your plates super simple

(Please note that all animations in the preview video have been made without individual layer masks and without plates, I only used the simple basic controls)

I’ve found that randomly playing around with the options yields fun and crazy results, it’s really easy. There are many possibilities to animate your photos. Try it!

It is pretty easy to use, but there are some tricks i’ve figured out to get some cool results. So I have made a 60+ minute tutorial to show you different kinds of approaches for different types of photos.

Please keep in mind that this is no “super magic tool”, and there will still be some kinds of photos which will work better then others. Especially photos with many things in the foreground and background are more difficult. Also “flat” photos with no depth, like somthing infront of a wall don’t give much of a 3D effect. But for most of the photos I have tried it on, it worked great.

If you want to use the Photo Animator for illustrations, please be aware that due to the nature of illustrations and cartoons (sharp, defined strokes) the borders of the layers might be more visible! If you have created your illustrations digitally, I would recommend you extract planes and use the Photo Animator layer rig to animate your plates. This way you won’t receive undesired breakings in your animated illustrations.
If you have any wishes or ideas that you want me to implement, don’t hesitate to write me! I’m always happy to get some input and feedback. This will help me improve the tool!

What you get:

  • Photo Animator V4 After Effects CS4 project file (Will work with CS4 and higher, no plug-ins needed)
  • over 100 minutes of video Tutorial (some with project files)
  • PDF document with the controls explained