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Video Tutorial: 2D to 3D in Adobe After Effects

Mikey Borup

In this Premiumbeat exclusive video tutorial you’ll learn how to use a displacement map in Adobe After Effects to give your still pictures a 3D effect.

Adobe After Effects

Add life to your two dimensional still pictures by giving them a simulated 3D look. There are multiple ways to achieve this in After Effects…and in the following video tutorial we’ll show you how it’s done with a displacement map. The 2D to 3D animation is surprisingly simple.

This video tutorial covers:

  • Using the puppet tool
  • Using the displacement map effect
  • Creating a 3D depth map

This is just one of the many scenarios in which using a displacement map might be helpful – so it’s a useful After Effects feature to know.

Don’t want to watch the video? Follow along with the step-by-step tutorial below. Click any image for larger view. 

1 Drag your picture into a new composition and duplicate.
2 Use the brush tool to paint the background to black and the foreground to white on the top picture.
3 Blur and precompose the top picture.
4 Add a displacement map and set the map layer to the depth comp.
5 Set the picture layer to 3D and rotate left to right over the y-axis for 3 seconds. Set keyframes to horizontal and vertical displacement.
6 Precompose both layers and change the composition to 1280 x 720.
7 Use the puppet tool to keyframe a smile.

If you have any questions regarding this tutorial or if you have any quick tips for using the displacement map in After Effects, please comment below!