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Create Puzzle

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carlton hathcoat
Create Puzzle
on Oct 15, 2012 at 4:00:25 pm

Hello all,

W are editing a :30 spot and have a client that would like to take 3-4 images of people and have them be in puzzle pieces and come together as a full puzzle. I am looking for suggestions on how I might be able to achieve this look with a limited budget (likely no more than $1000). Are there any templates out there that may do the job?

Thanks so much.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Create Puzzle
on Oct 15, 2012 at 4:47:08 pm

There are plug-ins, but you can make this for free in a few minutes.

Bring the various people into photoshop as well as a line drawing of the puzzle all assembled. Compose the final shot with heavy black lines, and flatten it to one layer.

That's the base for your effect. Say there are four puzzle pieces, duplicate the layer three times so you have four identical layers. Add a fifth, empty layer at the bottom of the stack. Erase different parts of each layer, leaving only one puzzle piece in each layer. Because these are layers of the same image, they will retain their final positions perfectly. Save this 5-layer photoshop image as a .psd or a .tiff or .tga. You need to preserve alpha channels, so set colors to "millions".


Bring it all into Apple Motion or Final Cut to animate it. Motion is easier: import the photoshoo layered image as a project, and up pops the comp, with all the layers already assigned to tracks. Highlight all tracks. Set an end keyframe first, with the pieces all together. Go back to the front of the timeline, turn on the red keyframe recording button, move each individual puzzle piece layer any way you like; spin them, scale them, angle them. Turn off the red keyframe recorder button, play back your timeline; you will see the pieces all fly into position, boom. Export this as a self-contained MOV file and use in anything you like.


If you are afraid of Apple Motion or just never tried it, (you should try it, its simpler than aftereffects), you can do the assembly using 4 or more video tracks in Final cut. Export each layer of the photoshop as it's own image, with the piece and an alpha channel for each layer. The keyframe controls are in ther "motion" tab up above in the canvas control tabs. As befoer, build the effect from the end backeards to the beginning. Set all the layes in their end positions set the keyframe for each track, go backtot he start point, move each layer and set a keyframe for it. Then play back the results.


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carlton hathcoat
Re: Create Puzzle
on Oct 15, 2012 at 5:04:58 pm

Thanks for all the information. I am not the editor but the producer that would hire for this project. Since I am not real adroit at either Photoshop or Motion (I dabble and can do basic things in both), I need to hire an editor to do this for me. I am trying to put a budget together for this, could you estimate what this would cost to create?

Thanks again.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Create Puzzle
on Oct 15, 2012 at 5:26:52 pm

The way I described it, about an hour, or less, if all the elements are provided in proper format in advance. We bill by the hour or by the day, rates vary with each person.

Really, its not a complicated effect to do.


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