Motion Magic in Under 5 Minutes: How to Animate a Photo in 3D

In this episode, I’ll show you how to create
a 3D animated photo effect. I’m Mark Spencer from
Welcome to Motion Magic where you’ll learn visual effects and motion graphics in under
5 minutes. Here I am in Motion with an empty project.
In the File Browser, I have a layered Photoshop document. I’ll drag it to the group in the
Layers list, keep the mouse button held down until the drop-down menu appears, and choose
Import All Layers. Then in the Canvas I’ll click on a blue
bounding box handle, hold down the Shift and Option keys, and drag to scale up the group
of layers proportionally around the center point. In the Layers list, let’s turn off each
of the layers. The Background layer is the original photograph, which we don’t need,
so I’ll leave it off. I created the other layers by cutting them out from the original
photo in an imaging editing application and then I cloned in some extra pixels on the
edges. To create the animation, I first need to center
the anchor points of each layer so they’ll scale correctly. So, from the View pop-up
menu I’ll enable the Rulers, then drag out vertical and horizontal guides to locate the
center of the Canvas. Then I’ll select a layer, right click in
the Canvas to switch to the Anchor Point tool, and move the anchor point to the center. I’ll repeat that process for the other three
layers. Note that if snapping gets in the way, you
can hold down the Command key to disable it. When I’m done, I’ll use the View button
to turn off the guides and the rulers. Next, I’ll add a camera by clicking the
camera icon in the Toolbar, and clicking Switch to 3D. Notice if I orbit the camera by dragging up
here, that the layers are all on the same plane. I’ll double click the orbit tool
to reset the camera. Now I can use the Heads Up Display to spread
the layers out in Z-space and scale them up. I’ll start with the Sky layer. One approach
would be to move the sky back by dragging right on the first Move tile, then dragging
right on the Scale tile to scale it back up to fill the frame. But there’s a better
way; I’ll press Command-Z to undo those last two changes. Instead, I’ll hold the Command key down
while dragging right on the first Move tile. Adding the Command key scales the layer at
the same time as it moves it back in Z-space – so it looks like it’s hardly changing
at all – but if I now orbit the camera, we can see it’s pushed back in space. I’ll reset the camera, then select both
the Sky and Rock layers and Command-drag them both back in Z-space. Then I’ll add the Trees
layer to the selection and move all three layers back. If I orbit the camera now, we
see that the 4 layers are spread out in Z-space – yet they appear unchanged when viewed from
the original camera position. I’ll reset the camera. Finally, I’ll animate the camera by selecting
it and using the Behaviors menu to select Camera>Dolly. I’ll move the playhead to the end of the
project to view the final framing, then use the Heads-Up-Display to adjust the dolly amount.
The dolly reveals a gap in the layers so I’ll select the Car on grass layer and move it
up. I’ll select the Camera, then click the Behaviors
shortcut again and add the Camera>Sweep behavior. The default End amount is too much
so I’ll bring in down in the Heads-Up-Display. Let’s play that back. The camera moves forward
and also pans, and because the layers are spread out in Z-space, we get a nice subtle
parallax effect that you would see in a real 3D scene. Click the Subscribe button below. If you have
an idea, comment or suggestion, leave those below as well. Go to for
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