Parallax Animation

I’m starting to get to grips with these new programs. Whilst Joel, my tutor, focuses on adobe suite, I find his instructions translate well over to Final Cut Pro, which I’m using on my Mac.

The task was simple enough, to create a parallax animation using the ken burns effect. I had only used parallax in terms of background and scrolling before, so whilst the concept wasn’t new to me, the methodology was.

I started by sketching out a rough idea of what I wanted my frame to contain. I settled with a mountainous forest scene at night. I planned to have different levels of mountains, a canoeist, a beautiful night sky and some other subjects. On my sketch, I wrote down what order the layers in and jotted down some notes on how I wanted the individual layers to move in relation to each other.

From Paper to Digital

To get from my sketch pad to a parallax animation, I first found the images I wanted to use on the internet. I used a mixture of royalty-free images and images I could find no copyright for.

For the sky, I used the Hubble Deep Field image. This was taken back in 2004 when scientists instructed the famous telescope to stare at the darkest spot in the sky to see what was there. This is the resulting image. It always gives me a sense of awe and wonder so I was keen to use it.

I found the other images, cut them away from their respective backgrounds and layered them up in photoshop. This would give me a good sense of size and what order the layers need to be in once imported into FCP.

Once sizes and layers were figured out, it was time to import and animate. It took me several minutes of resizing, moving around and cropping before everything was right for me to begin animating.

Accessing the Ken Burns effect was a little trickier than expected and initially, every time I applied the effect it would resize the layer. I persevered and eventually got the hang of applying the effect. I had fun experimenting with the effect to see what would happen.

After settling on the animations and making sure nothing was being too blown out or moving too much, I exported to google drive and watched it on my phone. The one thing I noticed was how dark everything seemed. This is probably in part to the colour I added to the mountains and decreasing the light in the trees to match the darkness of the sky. It was much to dark to be viewed on my phone however, and so I opened the file back up on my computer and ran the exposure up a little.

In the end, I’m really happy with the result. It makes you focus on the sky as everything else begins to shrink away and the sky gradually grows bigger. It’s a serene scene, putting one within touching distance of the cosmos and nature. The surreal colour of the mountains gives the scene a dream like quality and the sole boat on the lake makes one feel at peace.