Moving Photographs – How to Make a Parallax of Your Image

Have you seen an image that seems to be half still photo and half video? As you look at the image you notice movement, say an arm in the photograph starts to move subtly or perhaps objects are suspended and animate. This technique is called Parallax, photo animation that basically brings your photo to life. Implementing this technique into your website can really add interest and uniqueness.

The process starts with an interesting, high resolution image. Say, for example, an image of someone swimming underwater in the ocean or someone feeding birds as they swoon around them. After you get the perfect shot, you take that image and separate the different layers and then add graceful slow movement. In the swimming underwater example, you would separate the swimmer and any underwater creatures from the ocean background, forming three layers. Then movement is added to the swimmer and perhaps a few sea creatures; the animation is short and subtle, approximately 5-10 seconds in length.

The layers can also be adjusted to further increase the visual impact. You can resize some of the elements so they appear in the foreground as well as the background. You can also duplicate and colorize elements to match your website’s color scheme.

The parallax technique is really useful when you don’t have live video footage but you do have great still images. The slow motion, 3D pan effect, brings your still image photos to life. Check out our home page, our about us page and blog header for examples of images we had created using this technique. We started with a really great image taken by the professional photographer we use at our agency, Jim McGuire Photography and Video. We then hired PicDrift to animate our image. We supplied the PicDrift designers with graphics to match our brand and they were able to animate and suspend them in air, while parallaxing the image to create the final effect; the outcome was very 3D!

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