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Motion Control 3D: Bringing Your Photos to Life in Three Dimensions
Illustration by John Hersey

Understanding keyframes


From:

Motion Control 3D: Bringing Your Photos to Life in Three Dimensions

with Richard Harrington

Video: Understanding keyframes

Now that we have placed the camera, we can go ahead and animate it. This will create the parallax effect. Think of it this way, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. If you're driving down the highway, and you see things, the car next to you passing you seems to be moving very, very fast, while that horizon of the mountain sitting way out there just seems to stay stationary forever. And the sun doesn't appear to move very much, when in fact it's moving much faster than the earth or the car itself. It's all the matter of perspective and distance.

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Motion Control 3D: Bringing Your Photos to Life in Three Dimensions
1h 30m Intermediate Oct 04, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Have you looked at a photo and wished you were there, or wondered what the scene looked like to the photographer? Now you can bring your photos to life by adding motion and depth to your images. Author Rich Harrington reveals how you can transport your photos into a three-dimensional world using Adobe Photoshop and After Effects. The course shows you how to select the right images and resolutions; how to use masks and layers to build the composition in Photoshop; and how to animate the camera and light the scene in After Effects.

Topics include:
  • Understanding parallax
  • Choosing the best photos
  • Identifying planes
  • Using Quick Selection, Quick Mask, and Refine Edge to create layers
  • Adding a 3D camera to your scene
  • Setting the depth and size of your composition
  • Using multiple views
  • Adding depth of field and Bokeh blur
  • Setting ambient and directional light
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics
Software:
After Effects Photoshop
Author:
Richard Harrington

Understanding keyframes

Now that we have placed the camera, we can go ahead and animate it. This will create the parallax effect. Think of it this way, objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. If you're driving down the highway, and you see things, the car next to you passing you seems to be moving very, very fast, while that horizon of the mountain sitting way out there just seems to stay stationary forever. And the sun doesn't appear to move very much, when in fact it's moving much faster than the earth or the car itself. It's all the matter of perspective and distance.

So, now that we animate the cameras, you're going to get that sense of depth, or that this has become a 3D scene. Let's take a look at how it works. Let's animate the position and the point of interest. The position property is where the camera is currently at, while its point of interest is what it's looking at. Think of it this way. The position is where the camera is physically located, moving on the X axis, moving on the Y axis, or the Z axis, or a combination of all of those axes at the same time.

However, the point of interest is what the lens is pointed at. So, as I move, I could still keep this lens pointed at the same subject, even as I move my body or the physical camera or the virtual camera. So it's all about understanding those two properties. When you grab one of the control handles, you're moving both position and point of interest at the same time. When you use the scrubby sliders, you're adjusting them independently. Let's turn on keyframes for position and point of interest.

I'll now drag forward in time, and I want to go ahead and move this over. So, we are going to drag to the right and pull backwards a bit. That's working pretty well. Let's just reframe here. I am going to independently adjust the point of interest to pan up a bit to our main subject there. I also can move the position independently, and you see it starts to angle.

And notice here that we are adjusting the pan and the tilt separately. Let's take a quick preview there. There is the parallax effect where the tent appears to be sliding behind them a bit because of the movement. Let's view that full-screen, drop that to 1 View, and we will check the full-screen box and preview it. You see the sense of motion.

There is parallax in action. Notice how the tent is moving at a different rate than our subjects which are closer to the camera. I'll press the Escape key here, and I will just come to the middle, and I am going to add another keyframe. In this case, we are going to pull the position up a little bit and adjust the Point of Interest, so it's looking upwards, and we will do a new preview, and that looks really good.

All right. Let's do that for two more cameras. I'll switch down over here to another graphic, twirl down, and turn on my keyframe for Position and Point of Interest, and what I want to do is start down in the grass. I am going to come about halfway through and lift straight up. We will go a little lower there and adjust the point of interest independently, so it tilts upwards looking at them, and notice there the parallax effect in action.

That looks good! I am going to go forward in time, pull the position up, but still keep my subjects framed, and move the camera backwards. Let's preview that. Camera lifts from the bottom, reveals our subjects, tilting upward, and then is going to pull out and start to tilt downward.

Notice how you have total control over the environment. If we drag through, you could see the physical camera moving in the other window, and that makes it really easy to tell what's happening. All right! One more time for good practice. There is our camera, let's adjust the Position and the Point of Interest.

I am going to have this start tighter, tilt down a bit to start on Montezuma's Castle there, drag later in, and pull this outward. Let's swing it a little bit to the right along the X axis, and adjust the Point of Interest to pan. There we go! And a quick RAM preview will show us that.

There it is in real time with the move. If I drag through, you could see the absolute path of the camera and the movement being illustrated. On the left, you're seeing your overhead view, and on the right, you are seeing the actual viewfinder or looking through the lens. These paths are pretty good, but we can make them better with a few simple modifications.

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