Stunning Slow-Motion Shots Created Using Only Still Photographs

It may be hard to believe, but all the amazing slow-motion clips you see in the video above were created using individual still photographs. Joe Fellows of London-based film production company Make Productions gathered photographs of wildlife and people from the WWF archives, and then Photoshopped and animated the images using parallax.

Fellows says the technique was done by using Photoshop to extract specific portions of each photograph, which are then animated using Adobe After Effects. Since the final result is intended to look like slow motion, there didn’t need to be too much movement (making the project a bit easier).

There was no 3D mapping used — everything was done with layers. Small sections of each animal were extracted and placed in their own layers (e.g. the ears, teeth, whiskers, head, body) on top of the background layer containing the original photo, which had to be cloned over in all the missing areas.

The layers are then “parented to one another” and moved either in their position or by using the Puppet Tool in After Effects

It’s a pretty neat trick for bringing single images to life.

(via Vimeo via SLR Lounge)

  • Jacob

    Cool Technique! I would change the title, unless you consider people of other cultures “wildlife.”

  • Michael Zhang

    Good point :) Changed

  • Mick O

    It is a neat trick that goes back a while. But, I have always wondered what it said about the original photos — e.g. were they “not stunning enough and needed a little something extra” I know that’s not the explicit intent, but in some cases in other uses it seems to be. Oh well.. no more attention left for me to continue this comment. :)

  • Bartek Nowakowski

    This is the kind of projects you do in introductory After Effects classes.

  • Tom Bryan

    some instances are gorgeous but for the most part it just makes me wish I was watching REAL super slow-mo footage of these animals.

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    How animatronic.

  • Don’t be a douch

    ya’ll some na-saying fools

  • Donovan Styre

    Reminds me more of motion comics more than slow-motion video. With comics, the image is an illustration being made into an animation which looks fine, but with photos it looks…off. Moving with the light and shadows unchanging, and the subject and scene moving at different speeds kinda puts this in the uncanny valley for me.

  • Zach

    Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing…

  • Jared Monkman

    I love it! I think it’s a great idea, and the music goes really great with it!

  • Jay McIntyre

    it would be far easier to produce this with a PhantomFlex. Anyone got $150K I can borrow?

    well done!

  • Tom Bryan

    you spelt douche wrong

  • Gus

    Its wonderful what they have been able to do. For a charity who can’t splash money around, its a sensible and creative way of using an existing archive to make something new and that moves. Sure the technique isn’t perfect and it would be great to see real slo-mo, but a nice little work around for far less money, well done.

  • Hugo Cuellar Rodriguez

    Teach us master.

  • Attila Volgyi

    Yours is a good observation.

    Let me add one more: I really miss credit to the photographers whose work was used. I see they are from the WWF archives but still some very real people were the ones taking great efforts to go there and take these photos. Their work deserves to be mentioned too.

  • Abdulaziz Ali

    This is what a really fancy kit could get you xD

  • jennifer

    Can anyone point me to a guide on how to animate a flat or still image? This is really cool and I’d love to learn how to do it.