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Taking still photography & creating animated footage

Here at Yellow Mouse Studios we like to make use of a number of different approaches for creating animated sequences. We love the idea of mixing different media to create unique styles. One of the styles we enjoy creating is animated characters that appear to be in 'photo-real' environments. To do this we can use filmed footage and composite 3D or 2D characters into the footage, using the latest tracking and compositing techniques, or we can use the technique of creating what looks like filmed footage from actual still photographs.

Fig 1: Still from the opening sequence for our client Publish Monkey's promo video.

By breaking down an image into layers and then re-building it in After Effects, we can play with movement through the parallax of 3D. As the movement is subtle , the viewers brain thinks that it is looking at a filmed piece of footage. Another trick is to add other moving details into the background and foreground which helps sell the feeling of depth.

Fig 2: Still from our animated short 'The Great Easter Egg Hunt!' the full sequence can be seen below.

By adding these constructed moving images into a sequence that is also using filmed footage, you achieve a positive effect in selling the scene to the viewer. Sometimes it makes sense to create the moving images this ways as it can cut down on the production costs, as you do not spend a lot of time filming, or it saves time when a filmed sequence has been lost or is unusable. Thus we can quickly put a constructed sequence together for that moment of screen time.

Fig 3: 3D integrated character into a still from a wedding shoot.

Also a client might not have the budget for 2 or 3 days filming, and with the advancements in 2D and 3D software and animation techniques, this can prove to be a valuable approach to creating options for a client's promotional videos and explainer videos.

We also believe it gives us another skill set to offer our clients in creating unique and affordable promotional materials for their online campaigns.

Here is a animated short using the technique to it's fullest effect that we created recently for Easter, and to help promote a local business initiative which is an annual Easter egg hunt.

Fig 4: The Great Easter Egg Hunt! produced by Yellow Mouse Studios for Easter 2016

Any queries or questions about the technique please get in touch and we will be happy to help.

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