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Zoom on a masked face and background at two different speeds, completely overlapping background face.

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Robby Huang
Zoom on a masked face and background at two different speeds, completely overlapping background face.
on Apr 27, 2012 at 5:44:51 am

Hi guys, I'm trying to do an effect often seen on documentaries that gives a 3d look to a 2d image where I cut out a portion of it and scale the images at different speeds.

I have attached a video of what I have managed to achieve so far here:





I have posted my project file here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3580156/Adventure%20Archives%20Intro%20Test.aep

And the accompanying media here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3580156/IMG_0307.JPG

I made two layers of the same image and then masked out the person on the top layer. Then I changed the anchor points on both layers to where I wanted them to scale out from and then scaled them out at different speeds.

But as you can see in the video, there are portions where you can see the person a bit on the bottom layer. I want it so that it basically looks like the person is expanding out from the image, and I think I have to animate the anchor point to match the bottom layers, but I have no clue how to do that.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


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Walter Soyka
Re: Zoom on a masked face and background at two different speeds, completely overlapping background face.
on Apr 27, 2012 at 1:36:04 pm

You need to paint out the edges of the person in your bottom layer. You can use the clone brush tool [link].

Personally, I usually do all my prep work for multiplane animations like this in Photoshop, creating a series of clean layers from the background on the bottom through the midground in the middle up to the foreground on top.

Back in AE, import that PSD as a comp, promote all the layers to 3D, push the background layers away in Z-space, then scale them back up to fit the frame again. Add a camera and animate its movement. This will give you a more realistic parallax effect than trying to animate the scales of 2D layers separately, and will enable you to create much more elaborate animations.

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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Robby Huang
Re: Zoom on a masked face and background at two different speeds, completely overlapping background face.
on Apr 27, 2012 at 1:56:29 pm

Thanks for the reply! I actually did a bunch of searching last night after posting this and saw lots of tutorials describing the same method you are describing, so I will definitely do that.

My question though is, theoretically it should be possible to have the background and the foreground expanding from the same point, say his ear, by tracking his ear in the background layer and animating the anchor point for both of them to that point, right?


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Walter Soyka
Re: Zoom on a masked face and background at two different speeds, completely overlapping background face.
on Apr 27, 2012 at 2:05:29 pm

[Robby Huang] "My question though is, theoretically it should be possible to have the background and the foreground expanding from the same point, say his ear, by tracking his ear in the background layer and animating the anchor point for both of them to that point, right?"

Not necessarily. It depends on the shape -- it may have a part where the outline cuts back in toward the center, and that may reveal the background as it scales.

You usually don't have to clone out the entire foreground element that you've removed from the background, but the more you do, the bigger a camera move you can make without spoiling the illusion.

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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Benjamin Ausmith
Re: Zoom on a masked face and background at two different speeds, completely overlapping background face.
on Apr 27, 2012 at 3:35:11 pm

I've done this effect many times, and I have a slightly different workflow. I like to totally paint out my character in photoshop-- this is done really easily using content-aware fill, if you have CS5 or higher. This way, you have total freedom of where to move your foreground object. Using a camera and z-space is good if you want realistic motion. However, I think it's fun to bend reality a little bit with this effect, free yourself up, and just animate the parallax manually yourself. This way you can have exaggerated depth, and other cool effects. I guess if you only want a slight distortion, Walter's method is fine. If you really want to play with parallax, freeing yourself up by having a clean background matte can be really fun.

Benjamin Ausmith
Post-Production Assistant
Monadnock Media, inc.


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