One of the effects I’ve always wanted to pull off was flying into picture – similar to what was done in the opening credits of HBO’s Carnivale:
Some tarot cards are dropped on a table and then the camera flies into them revealing a full 3D (Well, 2.5D actually) environment. I’ve always admired it because it clearly took an immense amount of preparation and thought, while at the same time being visually stunning.
Anyway, as we’re working hard in getting Holomatrix (a new product you’ll be hearing more about soon) out the door, I needed a break from the daily grind, so I thought I’d try my hand at it. This is what I have so far:
It looks simple, but trust me, this is a lot harder than it looks. The problem comes from the fact that you don’t want the image to have a change in perspective until right when you start to enter it. Otherwise it never looks like a picture – more like a window. It becomes especially obvious if the 3D camera were to pan left or right. You’d really see the perspective change then.
The key is to find the exact point where to switch between a 2D flat layer and the full 3D environment. Using several pre-comps and a lot of expressions (Which I haven’t quite optimized), I’ve been able to pull it off automatically, but it’s going to require a little more research to make it more useful. I’ll let you know when I have it all worked out.
To the left is a link to the same animation without any of the color correction and other effects I used on the 3D environement, so you can see it more clearly. BTW – the grass was entirely generated with After Effects using CC Hair. The actors are, of course, from Crowd Control, our vast libary of Pre-keyed Alpha Stock Footage.