Here’s how to create a freeze frame cutout of your subject while zooming into the next scene.

Top image via Cinecom.net.

The 3D parallax zoom technique is a somewhat unorthodox transition to try out on your next project. It seemingly cuts out the silhouette of your actor or subject while zooming past them into the next location or scene. This video tutorial by Cinecom demonstrates a quick, energetic way to keep the audience engaged. All you’ll need is Premiere Pro and Photoshop.

So first things first, find the right frame you want to freeze and hit Export Frame (below your preview clip on the right) and save it accordingly. Then, open up the picture in Photoshop. Once you have unlocked the layer, duplicate the layer twice. (Name the layers so you know what you’re dealing with and don’t get confused.) First, focus on the background; use the Lasso Tool and draw a quick selection around your subject. Then go to Edit  > Fill and select Content-Aware. This should take the subject way completely.

How to Create a 3D Parallax Zoom in Premiere Pro — Content Aware

Focusing on the subject, use the Magnetic Lasso Tool and trace your subject’s outline. Once you have your actors and objects completely masked out, each layer is separate, which is exactly what you want. Save this work as a Photoshop file, then open up Premiere Pro. Import the Photoshop file into your Premiere project, and then Premiere will ask you how you want to import the files. Click Individual Layers. Add the picture to your timeline (each layer) at the moment you froze the clip.

How to Create a 3D Parallax Zoom in Premiere Pro — Import Photoshop

Now that you’re in Premiere, go to Video Effects > Distort > Transform, and drag the effect to your background layer. Create a keyframe at a recommended scale of 103 then skip five or six frames over and set it to 300. This will bring the background forward at a rapid pace.

How to Create a 3D Parallax Zoom in Premiere Pro — Keyframe

For the next layer, follow the same process. Set your keyframes, but this time we’re also going to animate the position and rotation of the actor. You can play around with how much you want the actor to rotate or move. Since the actor’s image will be moving out of frame, you can move them to the side or up or down — whichever pushes them out of frame.

How to Create a 3D Parallax Zoom in Premiere Pro — Animate Position

To add a bit of motion blur, go to the transform effect, and deselect “Use Composition’s Shutter Angle.” Then we’re going to set the shutter angle to 270 (180 is a normal setting, but in this example, we want it to be very powerful).

How to Create a 3D Parallax Zoom in Premiere Pro — Motion Blur

Now, add the next scene’s first clip to your timeline, and apply the transform effect to said clip. Once you’ve done this, set your keyframes, but this time start the clip at scale around 20, then your next keyframe (five frames over or so) will be at 100. Next, you’ll align this clip with the beginning of the animation in the previous clip we just worked on. Hit Alt and move the clip five frames to the left. Apply a default dissolve to your last clip so that both will dissolve into each other.


Do you have tips for creative transitions? Let us know in the comments.