Great Examples of Motion Photography / Parallax 2.5D Animation

Science fiction films sometimes show photo prints as being animated, as if animated photography is a technology in the distant future. Photographers like Alexey Zakharov, Lukas Renlund, and Pete R. prove that this idea is actually closer than you might think. ‘Motion photography’ is not a futuristic technology, but something photographers can already achieve with Parallax animation, also called the 2.5D effect.

Alexey Zakharov, who we’ve featured before, gives a good example of this technique applied to an image of an urban tree in autumn shot by Julien Coquentin. Combined with music, the resulting animation has a type of poetry that’s halfway between a photo and a short film (hence, the 2.5D effect).

To create animated photos, you basically layer single frame photos to make the image seem three-dimensional. It’s similar to cartoon animation, only applied to photography.

That is somewhat of an oversimplification, though, so for more technical information, check out this tutorial and/or this tutorial.

When you apply this technique to several photos from the same trip, you end up with a quasi-film of your trip. It’s not quite a slideshow or a time-lapse, but an art form of its own.

In his motion photos of AfrikaBurn (the South African version of Burning Man), Lukas Renlund truly captures the bizarre atmosphere of the event. The slight movement gives his photos an eeriness that regular videos and still photos could not as easily produce.

Lukas is part of a company called Not So Fast | Media, located in Cape Town, South Africa and Copenhagen, Denmark, which specializes in ‘moving content’. By this, they mean “content that not only illustrates clear messages, but also speaks to people.” For them, using motion photography to bridge the gap between video and still imagery is one of the best ways to achieve this goal.

Inspired by Lukas’s motion photos of AfrikaBurn, tech entrepreneur Pete R. decided to try out the parallax technique on his vacation photos from Australia, which were all taken with his RX100. He called the final video ‘Desert of Australia – A Motion Photographic Journey,’ playing with the double meaning of journey as a literal trip and as a process of learning and experience. “This is my first attempt at doing this so any constructive feedback is welcome!” he says.

After all, 2.5D animation is its own craft that requires plenty of practice. Try it out and show us the results!

Leave a Reply

4 Comments on "Great Examples of Motion Photography / Parallax 2.5D Animation"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Pete R.

Thank you for featuring my “Desert of Australia” video, Stephanie. Really appreciate it coming from you guys. 🙂

Fabio Nodari

Great!! I didn’t know about this Parallax 2.5D Animation.. I have to try it…

JD Malave

A friend of mine makes work similar to this. Many have probably already seen his work. This is an example of his talent.

His name is Tobias Stretch.

Yon G AmezĂșa

Skater Animation 2,5D

Back To Top