Tilt shift or miniatures technique for After Effects. The illusion works better with footage looking down on a scene from a reasonable distance and height, shadows and strong light add to the effect. A locked off shot around 2 to 3 minutes duration provides enough source for a 10 to 20 second sequence. Special thanks to the After Effects list and in particular the following people for their tips and techniques.

  • Stonewall Ballard
  • David Johnson
  • Brian Maffitt
  • Trish Meyer

Step 1
Import video footage to After Effects and create a new composition using the imported footage.

Step 2
Select the video footage and go to Layer -> Time -> Time Stretch and set the Stretch Factor to around 12% to achieve a time lapse look.

Step 3
Select the Rectangle Tool (Q) and set the Fill to Linear Gradient.

Step 4
With the Recatangle Tool still selected drag over the video to create a Shape Layer with a gradient fill. Switch to the Selection Tool (V) and reposition so the fill is from top to bottom.

Step 5
Turn off the Shape Layer so the video is visible and apply the Lens Blur effect to the video with the following settings. The Blur Focal Distance and Iris Radius should be adjusted to suit individual footage.

  • Depth Map Layer -> Shape Layer
  • Blur Focal Distance -> 100
  • Iris Radius -> 25
  • Repeating Edge Pixels -> On

Step 6
Apply Curves and bump slightly to heighten the minitures illusion.