Watch this still photo brought to life. Read the PicDrift breakdown below to see how it was made.
PHOTO CREDIT/Instagram: @joshwideawake
PicDrift Artist Breakdown:
The one thing that stands out in this animation is the big reveal through the clouds. But, in the original photo, there were no clouds in the front plane. So, we came up with the idea to add some custom clouds in the front plane for the camera to pass through, creating a much bigger parallax effect, and overall better animation.
The fact that there were no clouds in front, made the Photoshop part of the job much easier. Cutting the photo into separate layers was pretty straight forward, with five layers in total - the rock with a man on top; the front clouds; the mountain top; the back clouds, and the sky.
After importing all the layers into After Effects and creating a 3D scene, I needed that extra layer of clouds for the camera to fly through. I found an image of the cloud similar to the clouds in the photo, and implemented it in the 3D scene. But, after I animated the camera move, one cloud just wasn't enough, it was too flat. So, I used a third party 3D particle generator plug-in, to create a custom particle using a cloud image. After some tweaking in the plug-in settings with rotation, scale, transparency, and the number of particles, I created a much more believable 3D cloud for the camera to pass-through.
I also added some motion in the other cloud layers, making them look like they are affected by the wind. To finish it off, I added some air particles and a lens flare acting as the sun.