Is there a name for this 3-Dish visual effect?

It’s an effect used in the opening credits of Carnivale beginning around :30. It’s a way of making 3-D style effects to still images. It’s becoming increasingly common in documentaries, particularly with paintings and photographs of historical subject matter.

It’s not exactly 3-D, more like multilayering, or as if you cut out bits and pieces of an artwork and made them into a shadowbox. Is there a precise name for it though?

I’m sure there’s an idustry term for it but I don’t know what it is. I’ve noticed it’s increasing popularity as well. It’s a cool effect.

Yeah, that is a remarkable effect. Loved the use of Tarot imagery.
Has anyone seen this?
Is it any good.
Comments in Youtube indicate it has been canceled.

Just a guess, but it looks a lot like what was called ‘paralaxing’ in computer games.

Yes, Carnivale is very good. It reminds me a bit of X-Files and of Lost (early seasons, when I could still believe), and a bit of Deadwood. It is unlike any of these, really, but it creates an atmosphere that is very compelling, which is why it reminds me of my favorite shows. I’d say it’s well worth checking out.

It does, however, falter in the last few eps because of the impending cancellation, so be prepared for that.

I’ve never heard it verbed like that, but generally call this effect “false parallax.”

It’s pretty easy to do - just separate into planes of apparent depths, pick a direction to “dolly” your view in, and use a progressively smaller distance for the far layers as the foreground. Toughest part is painting in background, but you can cut down on this by scaling up the foreground elements a bit.

There’s the old multiplane camera technique, used in traditional animation (and something similar used in games, as Lobsang notes), which looks a bit like it, but which isn’t quite the same thing (in effect, or by how they’re executing it, I’m sure!).

Looks like a moving View-Master image.

In the biz, we call it 2.5 D.

But isn’t that the name for anything that is 2D but represents 3 dimensions? This specifically seems to be false parallax.

Yup. We used to call it 2 1/2 D (two and a half D) animation. The manipulation of 2D images in a 3D space.

Well, in the field of motion graphics (which openings like this fall under), what’s happening is there’s a bunch of 2D imagery (either stills or video/motion), that are mapped onto planes and manipulated in Z-space (X = the left & right dimension; Y = the up & down dimension; and Z = back and forth) using motion graphic software like After Effects, Motion, Nuke, etc.

There’s some overlap into true “3D/CGI” animation here though (not to be confused with stereoscopic 3D). A lot of these sorts of effects can be pulled off in traditional 3D packages such as Maya, 3D Studio Max, Cinema 4D and so on. But it usually all comes together in a motion graphics package like After Effects, because while its roots were focused on animating 2D elements, these software packages now include true Z-space, allowing the motion artist to do some very interesting, dimensional effects otherwise very difficult to pull off in days of yore.

So, to say all that using one term, it seems 2.5-D is now the broadly accepted shorthand term for this technique.

Parallax is a much more specific term in CG denoting the distortion of angles you get from using different virtual lenses and fields of view. A strong parallax would indicate your lens is very wide, giving you exaggerated angles and vanishing points. A weak parallax would indicate a more telephoto appearance, with the relative distances appearing crushed and flat.

Basically it uses software to mimic what would have been a done as a diorama in the past.