Tutorial: Image Compositing

There are a few ways to composite images together - manually or with a product that does compositing.

Products
Some examples are Adobe Premier, Discreet Combustion, Camtasia, or Animation Shop, to name a few. Animation Shop, for those of you not familiar with it, was distributed with Paint Shop Pro for many years until Corel purchased Jasc. Apparently it died a quiet death after that as I have neither seen nor heard of it since.
For the example in this tutorial I used Camtasia Studio 3. OK, let's get started.

You will need two images to work with. One image as the starting image and the second image as the finishing image. I'll be using these two:

Sterilizer_03 (466K) Sterilizer_04 (506K)

In Camtasia Studio 3, all you have to do is pay attention to the left hand side of the UI. There are commands there to do the following:

  1. Start a new project by importing media files. You can select more than one at a time.
  2. Alternatively, you can select Import images from the Task List. The images show up in the Clip Bin (center).
  3. Drag each image to the timeline, at the bottom of the UI. First one, then the other.
  4. In the Task List / Edit, click Transition. The clip bin shows a variety of transitions. Drag the transition that appeals to you and drop it on the arrow between the images in the timeline
  5. In the timeline right click the objects representing the images and transition and specify the duration for each
  6. Save the project
  7. In the toolbar click Product Video as and complete the wizard to export it to the file type you desire
The image transitions are fun to play with. I tried a simple fade at first. Then I noticed the Gradient Wipe and applied it. The transition wipes from the side you specify over the duration you specify. Pretty nice. It does have limitations though. If you look at it a frame at a time, you will see that the wipe has slight banding occuring. Most easily seen in the following images:

Sterilizer_05 (286K) Sterilizer_06 (293K)

All-in-all its a really simple process. I'd never done it before and it took me about 15 minutes to do the job (and most of that was spent tinkering transitions). Can't ask for anything much simpler than that. And the individual frames (above) produced a nice effect on their own.