Post Production

Slideshows in After Effects

plus Premiere & Lightroom

Despite the clunkiness of Adobe features for creating slideshows (or because of it), there's still a steady stream of interest. Traditional slideshows can be easily built with audio in Lightroom and Encore DVD, and with only a little more work you can pull them off in After Effects and Premiere, and go beyond into creative motion graphics.

Easy Slide Show, by Michel Pensas, is a new AE script that creates a slide show from a folder of images quickly with controls for slide size, axis of scroll, speed, image name display, and reflection. Here's the demo:



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:

  • ImageFlow FX from CoreMelt (Mac-only) bills itself as instant montage animations, and has several slideshow-type filters.

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).

Here's a similar quick tip from GeniusDV, Automated Slideshow in Adobe Premiere, and Building Slideshows – Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 from Medill School:


Finally, perhaps the easiest way to make a slideshow with Adobe software is with Lightroom, which seems to have borrowed a few ideas — like Fit to Audio — from Encore DVD (now at end-of-life). Here's Julianne Kost:


[Feature image by mynetx]

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Rich Young is a long-time After Effects user from the San Francisco Bay Area. His After Effects and Premiere Pro round-ups provide viewers with an easy-to-digest summary of developments. He also supplies info and links…