In this tutorial we're going to look at how to loop a still image to make it look like you're moving across a vast distance without animating a camera.

What we will do here is to bring in our layers to the timeline, make them 3D and then use the built in effect in After Effects called 'offset' to simulate moving across a desert without having to use a camera.

Working with large resolution footage or images is very heavy on your render times and RAM which can significantly slow down your workflow, particularly if you're only creating a linear movement as shown in this video. You can always use footage to do something very similar to this but you won't always have the exact footage you need, the finances to shoot something yourself or be able to buy stock footage.

This video covers how to use the offset effect to tile your image so that it appears to be moving. It is recommended that you pick (or create) an image that can be easily tiled as you would when creating textures for 3D models in a 3D program such as 3DS MAX. We will also line up several copies of our layer so we can expand the area we can see as well as create some nice depth to our scene. The background image is put in place then scaled to help sell this effect to appear as though it is getting closer. Finally, we will add a wiggle expression to our vehicle to make it look as though it is bouncing while moving over our ground.

As an additional topic in this tutorial, at the end of the video the offset tool is shown as well as discussed in different situations. The example shown is how to create custom displacement maps by masking a white solid, applying the offset tool and then bringing that composition into our main one to create a simple HUD outline that has some wave distortion similar to that of a hologram effect. For more on displacement maps, please see my previous tutorial here: vimeo.com/17733326

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