2.5D Parallax Photo Effect Photoshop Tutorial

Hello everyone Chris here from Spoon Graphics back with another video tutorial Today's guide is perfect for photography fans and anyone who enjoys working with motion graphics

It's an interesting effect that takes a static photograph and brings it to life with subtle movement, often referred to as 25D, or the parallax effect The effect makes use of Adobe Photoshop to cut out an image, then uses the timeline feature to convert the still picture into a video It works by clipping the image into different areas, then adding subtle movement so that the foreground and background move at different rates to create a slow motion panning effect It works best with images where there's a clear contrast between the subject and its background, so choose a picture that has an obvious outline that you can trace around

Open the image in Photoshop, then select the Pen tool and begin tracing around the main subject Keep the path within a few pixels from the edge to avoid accidentally capturing any slithers of background in the cut out When you've traced the image back to the starting point, close the path then right click and choose Make Selection Enter 05px in the feathering option to eliminate the hard edge, then Copy and Paste the selection onto a new layer

Double click the Background layer to make it a workable layer, then hold the CMD or CTRL key while clicking the thumbnail of the cut out layer to load its selection With the background layer still selected, go to Select > Modify > Expand and enter 10px Next, go to Edit > Fill and make sure the option is set to Content Aware Photoshop will automatically fill the space the best it can to erase the original subject Toggle off the visibility of the cut out layer to see the result

It doesn't have to be perfect, but it will help disguise any areas where the foreground and background become unaligned from their original positions during the animation Turn the visibility of the cut out layer back on, then create a new document Since the final effect is exported into video format, I'm making a 1080p document at 1920×1080 pixels Switch back to the original document and select both layers Drag them into the new video document and position them centrally

Individually select each layer and choose Convert to Smart Object from the right click menu This will allow us to scale the image down and back up without affecting the quality Next, go to the Window menu and select Timeline Make sure the option is set to Create Video Timeline rather than Create Frame Animation, then click the button Click the little drop down arrow for the first layer in the timeline and click the little stopwatch icon to set a keyframe under the Transform option

Press the CMD+T shortcut to Transform, then hold Shift and scale the background to fill the majority of the canvas Move the playhead to the end of the timeline, then click the little keyframe icon to set a new position Transform the background again and scale it up slightly Photoshop will automatically animate the size between the two keyframes for the duration of the timeline Repeat the process with the other layer that contains the main subject

Add a Transform keyframe at the start and end of the timeline and adjust the size of the layer This time scale the subject in the opposite direction, so go from large to small to intensify the parallax effect Scrub the playhead back to the beginning then press the Play icon to see the effect The first time it plays it might be a little jumpy until it renders the timeline, but the second time should play through smoothly The result is a cool subtle animation where the foreground and background move at different rates to create a parallax effect

The final video can be exported by heading to File > Export > Render Video Set the filename and change the preset to YouTube HD 1080p, which should be available if you have Adobe Media Encoder installed as part of Premiere or After Effects from the full Adobe CC suite This parallax effect also works great with landscape images where there's clear definition between the horizon and sky It works exceptionally well if the foreground, middleground and background can be separated and moved independently In this next example I'm creating a clipping of the ridgeline and creating a timeline of the mountains in the foreground against the northern lights in the sky

A subtle scale on the mountains layer against some slight rotation of the sky creates a cool effect when the animation is played through The trick is to adjust the keyframes just enough so they produce some subtle motion You can always move the timeline playhead back over a keyframe and readjust the transformation, or you can switch the keyframes around so the transformation plays in the opposite direction In this next example, I'm creating a cut out of a snowboarder from the background The content aware fill left some unwanted areas, so they were cleaned up with the Clone Stamp tool

This time, I added a couple of extra snow effect layers This exact snow overlay effect product is available to Access All Areas members on my Spoon Graphics website, but the effect itself can be easily created by manually dabbing a bunch of white splodges with a brush and adding some subtle blurring A video timeline was created for all the layers, then each section was animated independently by adjusting the size and position The addition of the snow layers helps intensify the parallax effect and creates more of a cool slow motion video, disguising the fact that it all began as a still image So I hope you have some fun with this parallax effect to bring your own photographs to life

It provides a cool new way to experience your shots in a kind of pseudo video format, as opposed to basic stills in the slideshow If you enjoyed the tutorial or learnt any new tips, a thumbs up to help spread the word would be really appreciated Don't forget to subscribe to the Spoon Graphics YouTube channel if you're new, or you can head over to my Spoon Graphics website to find plenty more tutorials along with free design resources So as always thank you very much for watching and I'll see you in the next one

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