Create a Photo Montage with After Effects

Layers Magazine by Steve Holmes

A Photo Speaks a Thousand Words

Lots of programs and plug-ins create cool photo montages easily and quickly—handy for such things as photo DVDs and slideshows. But what if you don’t have those programs or plug-ins, or you want something a little more creative (yet still as easy to replicate and reuse) using a software program you already own? A few tricks and techniques in After Effects will have you up and running in no time at all.

In After Effects, double-click in the Project panel to bring up the Import File dialog, then locate and import the images you wish to use. For our project, I’m importing three folders of photos of yours truly training in the Italian Alps before a big race in Spain and one paper-texture image I downloaded from iStockphoto to use as a background. Note: Though not imperative, ensuring your snapshot images are all the same pixel size will make this project a breeze to complete at the end.

Select your chosen background texture image (ours is called “Paper 1280.psd”) and drag it onto the Create a New Composition icon at the bottom of the Project panel. This creates and opens a new Composition at the size of your image—ours is 1280 pixels square with a Duration of 10:00 (Composition>Composition Settings). Now, choose any one of your snapshot images and drag it into the Timeline above the texture image. Press S on the keyboard to reveal its Scale property, and adjust it down to 20% (or close to the visual). read more...

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