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Still image inspiration

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andrew donaldson
Still image inspiration
on Oct 3, 2011 at 11:01:26 am

Hey guys how are you?!

This happens to me time and time again, I get asked to create something dynamic and interesting (or, just simply 'awesome') and am given a handful of still images with which to do it.

This leads to lots of head-scratching and googling for inspiration.

Does anyone have any awesome examples, tutorials or areas of inspiration for creating something awesome from AE using only stills?

I don't want to get specific, becuase this comes up alot and im not looking for anything in particular. But I thought id throw this out there, because Im sure there are plenty of you out there that know of a few cool videos that you would like to share?

Thanks very much,


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: Still image inspiration
on Oct 3, 2011 at 2:03:59 pm

The first thought which comes to mind is making a montage out of a single still, but with multiples of that still colorized in different tones. Layouts can vary, and by animating them in After Effects, you can have one still as a "train" of pictures, drifting montages in 3D space, or whatever you can imagine.

The second is making a "3D" version of the still in Photoshop, by cutting various elements (the shot would need elements within it which would lend themselves to being cut out - person, car, grouping of things, etc.), then retouching the background to fill in the cutout, and bringing it in to After Effects. Then move the elements on the z-space, and you've got "3D".

Here are a couple of other ideas which could be tried:

The third is using displacement maps drawn in Photoshop to make a 2D image "3D". Here's a tutorial on this amazing effect:

Joe Bourke
Owner/Creative Director
Bourke Media

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ben g unguren
Re: Still image inspiration
on Oct 3, 2011 at 4:57:07 pm

Watch the opening titles to PBS documentaries. Some really smart stuff happening in those. Also the biography channel, history channel, etc. But I tend to enjoy the PBS stuff better.

Ben Unguren
Motion Graphics & Editing

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andrew donaldson
Re: Still image inspiration
on Oct 4, 2011 at 9:08:35 am

Thanks for your replies.

The 2D to 3D rotoscoping thing is cool and i like it. Ive done that before and it always looks great.

Ben, Im not from the US so not really aware of the PBS docos you mention.
Ive googled them with little success, but i'll have a better look around later on.

Thanks for your suggestions, more welcome!!

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Walter Soyka
Re: Still image inspiration
on Oct 4, 2011 at 12:21:29 pm

I'd add that you can combine other effects with the multiplane setup -- DoF (especially with the much-improved camera blur in CS5.5), particles, lights, etc. -- to give it more of a surreal, living feel.

In fact, you can do a lot with AE's lighting system and flat photos, too.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events

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