Time Slice 1.1 Tutorial
Today’s post is a little different because the end product is going to be a still image instead of a video. Time slice photos have gained popularity in the last couple of years. These are photos created from a series of day-to-night or night-to-day photos. The recent introduction to my YouTube videos feature a moving version of time slice and there are a couple more on the Time-Lapse Blog website.
I made all of these time slice photos by meticulously measuring the pixels in each photo and then cutting and pasting them in the appropriate positions using Photoshop. This process worked well but took about an hour for each photo. The new software called Time Slice from Mark Richardson aims to make this process fast and painless. Mark gave me a copy of the 1.1 software for Windows to try for this tutorial. This software is currently available for $29 on his website.
So how did it work? Surprisingly well. The software still has a couple small bugs but it handled the workload much better than I expected. The first thing I do with any new toy is try to break it. My stress test was importing over 700 photos in a day-to-night series I made last year. The resulting image isn’t particularly pretty but it wasn’t meant to be. Check out the inset image to see how each photo in the series was reduced to only a couple pixels in height. Not only did the software turn 1.5 GB of photos into a single photo but it reduced a full day’s work into a few minutes.
When I reduced the amount of photos to under 50, the resulting image looked much better and took about half a minute. I also changed the orientation of the images from horizontal to vertical. I’ll show how this is done in the next section.
How to Use Time Slice
The first screen offers a decimate feature in case you don’t want to use every photo in a series. Let’s say I want to reduce the 700 photos I have to 35 photos. In this case, I’d select “Use 1 in 20 images.” I’ve already reduced my selection to 38 photos for this tutorial, so I’ll stick with “1 in 1.”
Next I select all the photos in the series I want. If you use the decimate feature, make sure you still import all the photos at this stage. The next screen will show you the reduced amount.
Description of Options
Here’s a brief description of each of the settings and what it does:
- Linear – Puts the photos in straight lines across the image.
- Slice angle – Tilts the lines. Default is “0” or horizontal. For vertical, set the degrees to “90.”
- Radial – Creates a pinwheel photo layout.
- Origin X/Y – Sets the middle of the pinwheel.
- Reverse image order – Changes the order from right to left.
- Drop shadow – creates a shadow effect between lines either to the right or left.
- Drop shadow alpha – Adjusts the darkness of the shadow from 0.00 to 1.00.
Examples of a few of these settings can be found at the bottom of this article.
Finding the Radial Start Point
The default radial start point is in the center of the photo, indicated by 0.5 and 0.5. The top left is 0.0, 0.0 and the bottom right is 1.0,1.0. But let’s say you want to start the radial start point on a specific feature such as the top of a building. An easy way to find the exact location is to open a photo from the series in Windows’ Paint program and put the cursor on the place you want to start the pinwheel. At the bottom of Paint will be two sets of numbers. The first is the location of your cursor on the photo (X,Y) and the second is the size of the photo in pixels.
In the San Francisco buildings photo series above, the start point is 583, 203px on a photo that’s 5713 x 2380px. Now I just divide 583 by 5713 for X and 203 by 2380 for Y’s percentage from the top left. When I put the resulting rounded numbers of X=0.10205 and Y=0.08530 into the radial settings, the output file will have a perfectly placed pinwheel starting at the top of the TransAmerica building. I’ve put a photo below in case my description isn’t clear.
Saving Your File
Saving a photo might seem too easy to mention but Time Slice doesn’t offer a default file extension. Instead, you’ll have to add one onto the file name. For example, I named the above photo “pinwheel.jpg” to save it as a jpeg. I’ve tried this successfully with .png and .gif files.
If you try out this software or others like it, feel free to link to your photo in the comments. I’m always interested in feedback about software I feature on this website. Good luck!