Prolost Burns (updated to 1.6) from Stu Maschwitz is a newer $3 “Custom Effect” for After Effects CS6+ that automates the process of creating slidehows, montages, and “Ken Burns”-type motion control animation.
Later, Dan Ebberts & Orrin Zucker released LayerMonkey, an AE script that “arranges and animates your comp's layers in time and space. It also creates a parented camera and generates a master control layer that makes timing and global adjustments a piece of cake.”
A key tool often used to making slideshows in AE is the Sequence Layers keyframe assistant, to automatically arrange layers in a sequence. You can see how to you this assistant in a 2006 Andrew Kramer tutorial, 12. Elegant Slideshows, which shows how to automatically resize images in Photoshop, and batch and sequence layers with effects quickly in After Effects.
After Effects Apprentice, a book and series of video courses by Chris and Trish Meyer, also expands on notions of layer control (PDF) and layer trimming quite nicely. It's essential to know how Anchor Points work, and not get confused about the language people use to describe using the Pan Behind Tool. If you're not sure, see Layer anchor points in After Effects Help.
A newer tutorial by James Lazzaroni (contact him @InfuzedMedia) is modernized and quite pleasant, Adobe After Effects CS6 – Creative Slideshow Tutorial!
Create A Rockin’ Automated Slideshow, by Lloyd Alvarez has been a popular After Effects tutorial for several years, made easy with Lloyd's After Effects scripts Audio2Markers, PhotoOrientationFixer, and Fit2Frame:
“We've all been faced with this dilemma… You return from vacation with 2000 photos and dread having to edit them, especially since every photo is a prized capture that the world HAS to see. This is where the Turbo Slideshow comes in. With the aid of a couple of scripts, you can have all 2000 synced to music in a matter of minutes… and speaking of a matter of minutes… that is all it will take to see all the photos! It's a win win situation for everyone.”
Here's Lloyd; be sure to watch the entire presentation:
How to Automate a Stop Motion Photo Slideshow by Emanuele Fiorito shows “how to work some expressions to create your own preset that you can apply to achieve a stop motion effect for hundreds of photos.” For a similar look using video, see Create A Simple Stop Motion Style For Your Video Clips by Adam Everett Miller.
There's been many more tutorials and templates built, some just trying to replicate Apple Keynote. The best expand creatively beyond stale slideshows into 3D vistas past even the motion control paradigm. Here's a few other resources:
- Baker Tut's After Effects Tutorial: Slide Transition
- Flux VFX is offering 10 Reflected Photo Slide Shows in a free After Effects template.
- See the Simple gallery in 3D not using the cylinder effect– Tutorial After Effects by “The Great Zimm.”
- Flying Image Gallery – After Effects Tutorial on particles, from CG Swot, and a roundup, Animate a Photo Mosaic in After Effects.
- ImageFlow FX from CoreMelt (Mac-only) bills itself as instant montage animations, and has several slideshow-type filters.
- There useful ideas in Multiplane script and demos from Paul Tuersley, and Really quick dynamic slideshow in after Effects.
- In a very loose definition of slideshows, FxFactory offers free Mac-only plug-ins, including CoverFlux (like iTunes CoverFlow). By the way, if you're on Windows an easy way to do the Cover Flow effect is with an After Effect project by Paul Tuersley. You just have to animate some sliders. See also a free project from Alex “dinners” and a tutorial by Mattrunks, Effet Coverflow 3D automatique sur After Effects, which includes the project in English.
- Still playing loose, see Animate a Photo Mosaic in After Effects, a few resources for Card Dance and beyond.
- Pan & scan techniques have been best described by Chris and Trish Meyer. For good results, see their article on pan & scan at Artbeats and More Motion, Less Control (on adding a human touch) at PVC. They've described using the Pan Behind Tool in Anchor Point animation for flawless control for years, so if you see odd behavior, there's a solution. For examples of taking the effect to the next level with camera mapping & multiplane animation, see another article by Trish & Chris at Artbeats, Bob Donlon's example in Son of Ken Burns, a Richard Harrington video in 'Motion Control' with After Effects. Multiplane film cameras were explained well by Walt Disney in this video from 1957:
Adobe had a tutorial for Premiere, Dynamic Slide Shows, which is useful for the most part for showing the Automate To Sequence command and setting up the “Ken Burns effect,” but undersells Premiere a bit by ignoring drifting issues with changing position and scale. Drifting is avoided by using the Anchor Point property instead of Position (in both AE and Premiere).
[Feature image by mynetx]