If you haven’t been living under a photographic rock lately, you’ll probably have heard about Plotagraph. It’s a new system which allows you to give some motion to a still. It’s an evolution of the cinemagraph. A hybrid of still image and video. While Plotagraph has had a mixed reception, the concept is still a popular one.
Unlike Plotagraph, cinemagraphs are made from a video clip, not just a single still image. So, there’s a little more work involved in their creation. But, with the help of this video from PhotoshopCAFE, Colin Smith walks us through the entire process. The best part about it is that it can all done within Photoshop.
I’ve had a go at making cinemagraphs before, to learn and understand the process. I used Adobe After Effects for mine, and hadn’t really considered using Photoshop. After Effects exists for projects just like this. It contains many tools to help simplify the process. At the same time, though, it can be more cumbersome to work with, especially if you’re already comfortable with Photoshop.
Whichever software you use, the basic process is roughly the same.
- Shoot a video clip from a stable platform like a tripod. While recording, keep in mind which parts of the image you want to remain still.
- Bring the clip into your software of choice.
- Create a still image based on the frames in the video. In Colin’s example, the model blinks and her chest moves as she breaths. Sensor noise and compression artifacts also introduce slight motion. A still image can be compiled from multiple video frames.
- Add the video sequence back on top of the image, masking out the parts you want to remain still. This lets your animation play on top of the still image.
- Export out as a video file or animated gif.
From here you can upload to your website, YouTube, Facebook or wherever.
Watching Colin’s video, the process does look much faster and simpler in Photoshop than it is in After Effects. It also works in versions of Photoshop as far back as CS6, although the UI might be slightly different.
I might have to revisit these myself.
Have you made any cinemagraphs? Have you thought about giving it a try? Let us know in the comments and show off some of yours.