After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

In real world of film making tilt-shift effect is normally added by using special tilt-shift lenses. But when it comes to low budget film making Adobe After Effects software comes in handy. In this tutorial we will see how to digitally manipulate the tilt shift effect to turn an ordinary scene into that of a miniature model.


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Step 1

Drag/add your footage to comp area. Create a new solid layer and name it to ‘top’. Add ramp effect to it with the values as shown in the screenshot.

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

Step 2

Duplicate the ‘top’ layer and rename it to down. Place it below the ‘top’ layer. Swap the ramp colors for the ‘down’ layer.

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

Step 3

Set the blend mode of ‘top’ layer to Lighten. Now for the layer bottom, add this simple expression to the start point of the Ramp effect (By selecting the layer Press E to show effect parameters. Then hold down ALT key and click the stop watch).

thisComp.layer(“top”).effect(“Ramp”)(“End of Ramp”)

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

This will allow you to do easily change the point of focus in the scene without messing with top/bottom effect parameters.

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

Step 4

Next select both the ‘top’ and the ‘bottom’ layer and pre-compose them (name it gradient). Layer-> Pre-Compose. Place the pre-composed gradient layer below the footage layer. Add lens blur effect to the footage layer. Set the values as shown in the screenshot. Adjust the iris radius depending upon your footage.

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

Step 5

To the same layer add Hue/Saturation effect. Increase the saturation a little bit.

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

Step 6

Now add brightness and contrast effect to the same layer. Adjust the value the get good colorful output. Do not to increase the contrast too much. This may led to overall increase in color details. Add curves if you can`t get the desired effect along with brightness and contrast effect, but not necessary. S curve will do the work

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

Step 7

Now to give it a stop-motion animation effect, lower the frame rate.

After Effects Tutorial: Miniature Wonderland

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