Recently we were asked to produce a series of 2.5D Parallax slow motion videos, one of those videos was to create a slow motion animation of a breaking wave.
For those not familiar with the fancy term ‘2.5D Parallax’ this is where you take a still image or photograph and make it look like it is actually animated live footage. This is typically done by creating multiple layers and placing them into a 3D space. Using distortion effects to animate the layers, along with camera movement and depth of field tricks you get the effect of a real slow motion video straight from a still image.
Usually I’m reluctant to animate still images of fast moving water due to the over complex nature of water itself, especially with breaking waves. After seeing the subject image, I had an idea on how we could make this work, and duly accepted the challenge of creating the 2.5D parallax effect.
The remarkable part of this is, I didn’t have to cut out the image, or break it into multiple parts to give the illusion of 3D space. It all came down to the trusty Puppet Pin tool in Adobe After Effects and the way we managed to incorporate it into the scene.
After animating the wave, and finishing it off with a slow camera movement, a touch of blur for more depth and some colour correction, it certainly looked the part.
Our client was really impressed with the final out come, which led to me producing this tutorial (my very first tutorial!) to give people the chance to try it out for themselves and learn a very quick but neat trick in After Effects.