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Tutorial 108: Cinematic Parallax

Joe Clay | Feb 2, 2018

In this week's After Effects tutorial, we explore a simple technique to fly over a scene using nothing but a still or a locked-off time lapse. A lot of my early career was trying to rub two stills together to make a fire, so I always found techniques like this helpful. But even now it's still fun being able to make something with a 3 dimensional feel out of 2D footage.

As for the 2D footage, shots with an even horizon work best, but we even used some odd angles and it still worked well enough. The idea for this came from YouTube user This Is Enot who asked about the transitions in this cool project on Envato—Cinematic Parallax. Since we already have Tutorial 82: Pixel Sorting and More, we passed that along but decided to make a tutorial about this style of parallax. If you like the look of the example, go check out the other stuff they're selling on Envato. I haven't purchased their animations, but they look to be worth grabbing.

Our version is built in the traditional way—masking parts out of layers and putting them into 3D space. But we also add layers of atmospherics like particulates, and round it out—quite literally—with the Optics Compensation Effect to accentuate the movement by subtly curving the edges so that it appears that you're moving through the image rather than simply scaling it.

Have fun, and take it further!

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