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Bringing Photographs to Life with 3D Layering in After Effects
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Released May 6, 2013
Laura Hawk

Pluralsight

Laura Hawk
In this series of After Effects tutorials, we will learn how to create a 3D fly-through effect in After Effects with assets created from images that we break down in Photoshop.

We begin in Photoshop with the images and start to dissect the photos to get the parts we need for building our shot. We learn a few masking and painting techniques to fill in the gaps for some of the areas that are covered up in the photos. Then, we dive into After Effects and start building our scene by laying the ground, sky, and tree layers.

After we've added and built the assets we need, we start to layer on the atmosphere effects. We create dust and fog particle systems using Trapcode's Particular plug-in. We also add a few lens effects to make the whole shot feel more realistic.

We finish off the tutorial with two lessons on sound design to make your entire video a truly immersive experience. This training is perfect for the intermediate After Effects user who wants to learn how to create a motion design project using realistic looking assets and sound to bring it to life. By the end of this training, you'll have created your own scary forest scene complete with a seamless camera transition from one composition to the next. You'll have also learned some of the basics for creating a project that uses sound in After Effects.
Introduction and project overview
1

Introduction and project overview

 
01:28
Isolating the ground in Photoshop
2

Isolating the ground in Photoshop

 
12:25
Placing the trees on their own layers and erasing the backgrounds
3

Placing the trees on their own layers and erasing the backgrounds

 
13:07
Masking the area around the figures and placing them on individual layers
4

Masking the area around the figures and placing them on individual layers

 
11:25
Creating a character using parts of multiple characters
5

Creating a character using parts of multiple characters

 
17:49
Preparing the images and border for the cards
6

Preparing the images and border for the cards

 
08:56
Setting up the After Effects project and importing the assets
7

Setting up the After Effects project and importing the assets

 
06:19
Placing the ground layers and sky
8

Placing the ground layers and sky

 
09:17
Adding a Camera and Null Object
9

Adding a Camera and Null Object

 
09:30
Positioning the trees in Z-Space
10

Positioning the trees in Z-Space

 
15:35
Placing the people and setting keyframes for their movements
11

Placing the people and setting keyframes for their movements

 
14:35
Animating the man's face using Liquify
12

Animating the man's face using Liquify

 
09:02
Refining the Camera movement
13

Refining the Camera movement

 
08:38
Adding a lens flare to mimic a light source
14

Adding a lens flare to mimic a light source

 
13:10
Using the bird video
15

Using the bird video

 
12:16
Creating dust particles with Particular
16

Creating dust particles with Particular

 
11:46
Making dynamic fog using an image and Particular
17

Making dynamic fog using an image and Particular

 
15:40
Changing the mood of the scene with an adjustment layer and adding a vignette
18

Changing the mood of the scene with an adjustment layer and adding a vignette

 
06:43
Creating a new composition for the cards
19

Creating a new composition for the cards

 
05:00
Setting up two lights for the card composition
20

Setting up two lights for the card composition

 
05:42
Placing the cards in the scene
21

Placing the cards in the scene

 
11:45
Animating the card's positions
22

Animating the card's positions

 
11:11
Refining the card animation
23

Refining the card animation

 
12:06
Creating the transition from our cards comp to the forest comp
24

Creating the transition from our cards comp to the forest comp

 
16:02
Changing the color of the main card using the Tritone effect
25

Changing the color of the main card using the Tritone effect

 
03:30
Adding dust particles to the card comp
26

Adding dust particles to the card comp

 
07:26
Creating a PNG sequence
27

Creating a PNG sequence

 
06:08
Adding lens effect to the shot to add realism
28

Adding lens effect to the shot to add realism

 
15:15
Designing the ambient sound for our scene
29

Designing the ambient sound for our scene

 
10:38
Adding punctuating sounds for our scene
30

Adding punctuating sounds for our scene

 
16:18