Matthew Counts

Cinemagraphs: a Tutorial

Visual graphics artist Kevin Burg and photographer Jamie Beck teamed up to create this new form of art that mixes photography and video called Cinemagraphs. The result is a photo with moving elements that are looped giving the effect of an action captured a few moments in time.

I found them to be both awe inspiring and a little creepy but I’m going to show you how to make your own in a bit. First, let’s look at a few examples of Kevin and Jamie’s work:

Okay so after seeing a few of these examples you might be wondering how to do one of your own. Well it’s surprisingly easy, just a little time consuming.

Step 1: Shoot a short video

First you’ll need to find a subject to take a short video of. You’ll want to keep in mind that most of the frame will be static with only one or two elements moving in the final result. Also, you’ll probably want to stick with something that’s only a few seconds in length.

Step 2: Open in Photoshop

Open the movie clip in Photoshop. You might have to convert to mp4 format if your clip isn’t opening in Photoshop properly. When the clip is open go to Window > Animation Panel and you will see all the frames from the clip. Now you want to make a new document and copy all the frames you wish to use as a new layers in the new document.

Step 3: Isolate the motion

Now go through each later (except the bottom layer) and remove everything you don’t want to move in the frame. This can be done with the various selection tools such as the lasso or the color selection etc. Then delete the selection.

Step 4: Create the Animation

Open the animation panel and click on the frame mode button (bottom right). your document will now show in the first frame. Hide all the layers except the bottom one so it’s at the start of the animation. Then click the duplicate frame button to copy the first frame and make the layer that corresponds to the next frame in animate visible while keeping the rest of the layers hidden. Continue this until you have one frame for each layer.

Step 5: Save!

Go to file > save for web and devices and select GIF 128-bit Dithered. Now you have your own Cinemagraph!

Check out these links for more information and examples: