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Lee Maisel

popular 3-D look for photographs in documentaries

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How is it done? I'm referring to the effect where a photo is shown, and the camera seems to be dollying in various directions, and the person is in the foreground and the background of the photo seems like it's farther back? It seems that these were original photos, but how are they getting them to "pop out" ?

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The two main techniques used to achieve these effects are Multiplane Compositing and Camera Mapping (projection mapping).

 

Multiplane compositing uses multiple elements layered on top of one another at various depths to achieve the effect. The process of multiplane compositing is quite old - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiplane_camera, and is still used a lot in modern digital compositing.

 

The second technique is typically referred to as Camera Mapping or Projection Mapping (there are a few other variants of the name around). This has become a fairly popular technique in recent years. The idea behind it is to project the image filmed by the camera onto 3D geometry that represents the scene, a second camera can then film the scene using a different focal length, camera move or angle. It's kind of hard to describe - imagine filming a scene then taking the footage from that scene and running it through a projector that is setup in exactly the same position as the camera used to film the footage, the projected image should line up with the scene.

 

http://www.geocities.com/kevman.geo/l65_tut1.html

http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/dvds/cst02.html

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There is another way. First, crop out of the photograph the objects you want in the foreground. You then need to fill in (or paint in) what was cropped out of the background. Using a compositing program, you create the "camera" move with your foreground and background elements at different distances to the camera. The distance between the foreground and background creates a parallax which is the visual illusion conceit you're talking about. If you don't have compositing software that allows for 3D camera moves, you can still do it by having your foreground and background elements move at different speeds - i.e. background moving slower than the foreground. Adding a little bit of blur to the background element also helps with the illusion of depth.

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There is another way. First, crop out of the photograph the objects you want in the foreground. You then need to fill in (or paint in) what was cropped out of the background. Using a compositing program, you create the "camera" move with your foreground and background elements at different distances to the camera. The distance between the foreground and background creates a parallax which is the visual illusion conceit you're talking about. If you don't have compositing software that allows for 3D camera moves, you can still do it by having your foreground and background elements move at different speeds - i.e. background moving slower than the foreground. Adding a little bit of blur to the background element also helps with the illusion of depth.

 

there's a good article in AC about the film The Kid Stays in the Picture, and the use of photo mapping. Not sure about the issue, but I'm sure you can track it down in the archives.

 

Bobby Shore

DP

LA/Montreal

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I think that Lee may be asking about how these effects are done with old photos and such. Ken Burns?

 

Since if you remove a foreground image from a picture, there is some background missing. The artist would have to interpolate something new to put in there, for the time that the foreground image moves and uncovers this "new territory". As long it matches the rest of the background, and/or doesn't stay on the screen too long, nobody will notice it.

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That's exactly what I'm explaining.

 

And what you were explaining is known as multiplane compositing. :P Although yours was a much better explanation of the process as it relates to the question being asked - where multiple layers can be derived from a single photograph.

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And what you were explaining is known as multiplane compositing. :P Although yours was a much better explanation of the process as it relates to the question being asked - where multiple layers can be derived from a single photograph.

 

 

Thanks very much! That's what I was asking about!

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I know this reply is little bit too late. I'm adding it anyhow.

 

Using Photoshop, duplicate the picture (layer). Crop the person on one picture; that will serve as your foreground. Use spot healing tool to remove the person on the other picture which will serve as your background. Save both as PSD which includes the alpha layers. Go to After Effects and import those PSD files. Use them as 3D layers and play with the 3D camera.

 

Hope this helps.

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