4 Ways To Create Eye-Catching Social Media Posts With VFX

4 Ways To Create Eye-Catching Social Media Posts With VFX

October 14, 2020
Ben Thompson

Social media is a tool that all VFX artists and filmmakers should wield to showcase their work to the masses.

For a VFX artist, there’s no better avenue to showcase your work to the world than social media.

LinkedIn is a particularly great place to share VFX breakdowns, side-projects, or tutorials, but with the continually growing influence of TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, knowing how to create engaging content for social media can elevate your personal brand as a VFX artist, and potentially open up possibilities for your career in the future.

Here are four ways you can surprise and entertain your followers with share-worthy VFX content!

1. Create a Cinemagraph

A subtle but mesmerizing technique that can be used on social media is to create a cinemagraph by introducing motion into a still image. It can be something as simple as masking around buildings to add a moving sky, or layering in multiple VFX elements to add depth to the image.

It’s also an ideal way to highlight a product if you’re in advertising!
Aside from deciding where you want your visual point of interest to be, you’ll also want to ensure that your video works as a seamless loop. This ensures when you upload it to Facebook or Instagram and the video repeats, viewers won’t experience a jarring frame jump.

In summary, to create a cinemagraph, you can follow these three basic steps:

1. Drag a video element and a still photo onto your timeline, or duplicate a single video clip and place a frame hold on the duplicated video track to create a still image.
2. Mask and feather out the areas you want to keep still on the top layer.
3. Adjust your in and out points to create a smooth loop.

For the easiest way to create cinemagraphs, be sure to check out our VFX elements that can instantly add life to any still image. Since our VFX assets have transparent alpha channels built in, in a single click you can add lens flares, dust particles, snow, free smoke plumes, atmospheric fog, and much more.  

You can also add 3D camera movements to your composition to make the image feel more like a video, and really draw the viewer’s gaze.

Another way you can animate a still image is by creating a 3D projection of a 2D still image and keyframing 3D camera movement to give a really interesting 3D parallax effect, which we’ve already shown how to do on our blog!

2. Make a 3D Pop-Out Effect

You’ve probably seen this effect before, and while it can be a little more advanced than simply creating a cinemagraph, it’s sure to make anyone scrolling your feed immediately stop and take notice.  

3D Pop-Out animations can be so disruptive to social media users’ normal scrolling routines (in a good way), and that makes them a perfect tool for creating visual engagement.
The only caveat when you bake a social media post frame into the video is the recent option for “Dark Mode” in a lot of apps like Instagram. Although most users probably still use the standard mode that has a white background behind the post text, a white background on your video’s post text may stand out in a feed with Dark Mode enabled.

An alternative way you could use this 3D pop-out effect is to simply use widescreen bars, and then you can have your 3D element extend “beyond the window” by simply masking out an object from your video and letting it naturally move out into the widescreen region.

You can see a great example of this below!

3. Use Match Cuts and Unique Transitions

TikTok has become a perfect platform for so many outrageous yet simple visual tricks, with a lot of them being done in-camera.

If you want to make videos that immediately call for a double-take, match cuts and unique transitions are always a great choice.
In the video above, Matthew Paquette mentions several important tips to keep in mind when producing videos like this one.

First, if you’re shooting everything on your phone, set your settings to manual (if possible), or be mindful of any camera changes or color shifts. If you’re trying to stitch multiple clips together, you’re going to want to make sure they’re as consistent as possible.

Second, you can re-time your clips to ensure they match up at the right moment where they need to be synchronized.

Lastly, be mindful of your first and last frames. If you’re wanting to create an endless loop like in the video, you’ll want to find a way to make it transition seamlessly from the end to the beginning of repeated video.

4. Use CamTrackAR

For social content shot on mobile, CamTrackAR is an outstanding app for capturing real-time tracking data from your phone that can be imported into a VFX program for compositing elements later.  

CamTrackAR is incredibly useful for building social VFX content, because it drastically reduces the time it takes to produce motion tracking data. As soon as you film your content with the CamTrackAR app, you’ve got your tracking data ready for export (along with the video itself).

Check out this great video below for a glimpse into what’s possible simply using CamTrackAR and some 3D models in post.
There are a limitless number of techniques you can use to make simple, exciting visual effects for social media. If you’re a VFX artist, you’ve got a major skill that can make your social content stand out, and usually it doesn’t take much effort to bring something amazing to your followers.

Some of the best social VFX videos are simply optical illusions using effective transitions or masks, but they’re so much more unique than the standard fare across a social feed, and will definitely catch the audience’s attention!

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