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You’ve seen “3D” motion done before – but this time we have a little tutorial on how it can be done and this time it is with Canon Rebel T2i/550D (reviews) still photos.


Redrock Micro

First, the 3D video from stills

Desert Motion from XNcreative on Vimeo.


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Second, the tutorial from Jeff Farmer at Xncreative

“We had recently taken some landscape photos at various locations across the western United States. As usual, the photos never do justice to actually being there; smelling the desert air, feeling the breeze in your face. So, when I got back to the studio, I thought it would be fun to breath a little life into some of the shots and recapture a bit of their original grandeur. Adding motion was the first thing that popped into my head.

Canyon Original from Jeff Farmer XNcreative.com

I took the individual photos and cut them up in Photoshop CS4 Extended. There are multiple options for isolating various elements, but for this project, I chose to do so by simply using a hard erase tool. I like to then come in and clean-up the edges with a softer erase tool. This can be very tedious and time-consuming, but it allows me to make sure I’m eliminating what I want and maintaining the kind of edges I want. These various elements are then separated onto their own layers, foreground, background, etc.

Spider Rock Cutout

Spider Rock Cutout

Where certain elements are going to be moved, new information has to be created to take its place on the original background, either with the clone tool or by cutting and pasting other parts of the scene. You could use editing options like ‘Content aware” in CS5, but again, I prefer to do all of this manually. (If you knew in advance what you were planning, you could actually take several photos in front of and behind the various elements, such as a tree. When I took the pictures used in this test footage, I had no intentions of doing this.)

Canyon Cutout

Canyon Cutout

The individual layers were then imported into Apple’s Motion and animated in the timeline with set key frames. Foreground elements were set to move faster than background ones. Some elements were also given a slight motion and/or gaussian blur, depending on their speed or the depth of field I was wanting to achieve. (On most landscape shots, however, the depth of field is usually very wide, unless a boulder or branch happens to be very close to the camera.)

Resampled Canyon

Resampled Canyon

Each shot required running through several trial runs before the motion felt right. I’m still not quite happy with the time ramping of the final shot, but just haven’t had time to tweak it.

Motion Set Up

Motion Set Up

The final piece was edited in Final Cut Pro.”

(cover photo credit: snap from the video)

Zeiss Cinema Lenses