September 1, 2009

Panoramas in After Effects

Paul Tuersley's script pt_Panorama (was makePanorama) appeared recently in Recreating a Lexus commercial and now appears in a Video Copilot demo project of an Oval Office. Actually Video Copilot recommended this script over a year ago; see 3D Panorama AE script. Anyway, you can see the weakness of this approach (when close to the AE camera) in the oval molding, but it's mostly likely easier than building a panorama in Photoshop and using a Distort filter in AE.

Alternatives by Russell Brown can be found in his tutorials for Photoshop CS4 Extended at The Russell Brown Show: Spherical Panorama (at AdobeTV) and Advanced Spherical Panorama Stitching Techniques.

Last and not least, see Carl Larsen's a nice 4-part tutorial on Building a Cube World in After Effects, and his Horizon replacement with Mocha for AE v2 at Toolfarm.

Oh, and of course the camera-aware Trapcode Horizon was built for this purpose (video tutorial).

Update: a few more resources that popped up covering the various wrinkles in general subject...
  • Mark Christiansen explains some in After Effects Script of the Week: pt Panorama.
  • The options have improved in Photoshop by CS5.5; see info in Help (1, 2) and various resources from Richard Harrington.
  • Also, AE Scripts released Edge blending, a solution by erLab to build up panoramic projections with 2 or more projectors. This script will create the necessary comps for you render and be able to create this using standard video projectors.

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