Cinemagraph Tutorial

viejo-san-juan-paseo-de-la-princesa-cinemagraph

Cinemagraphs more than a photo, but not quite a video.

The first time I ever see this type of photography was almost a week ago,  I came across two amazing blog, from Jamie Beck and Coco Rocha.  They make this awesome picture that they called “cinemagraph”.

The cinemagraph are simply a .gif file with more artistic feel that the regular .gif you see everywhere.  You need first a good picture that look great as a still photo.  When you have your composition right and everything ready, ask your models to stay as still as possible for you to take a video in the highest resolution that your camera had. Remember to use a Tripod to minimize camera shake.  I use 1080p at 25 fps this will help you to have a better picture quality when you work with the frames.

Now you have your video, open Photoshop CS5 go to file>open and search for the video

In the animation palette select only the frames that you want the movement, one or two second are enough in most case but you make that decision.  When you are happy with the selection go to file>export>Render Video… Then rename the file and hit Render.

Now go to File>import>video frame to layers…  Now the animation palette have the frame and in the layers palette have all the frame in layers that you can mask and edit.  Select the fist frame and in the layer palette only the fist layer would be visible.  This is going to be the still photograph.  Select the second frame and in the layer palette select both the fist layer and the second layer. Mask the second layer to show the part you want to move.

Make the same with all the frames just remember that the layer that are visible are the ones that are going to appear in that specific frame.

You can preview the animation at anytime by pressing the space bar.

To make an smooth transition in the animation the fist frame most be the same as the last frame.  Is easy to make this once you finish all the masking and everything.  Select all frames copy them and paste them after the original frames.  Now in the animation palette menu select Reverse frame and you are done.

Select the time for each frame to show, play with the value until you like the result, mine work with 0.16 sec in each frame .  You can add some adjustment layer on the top to change the colors or give other effect.  Since its going to be a .gif file we are limited with 256 colors thats why its a good idea to give a Duo-tone or cross processing to limit the color and get the most of the gif file.  I use the cross processing effect for my image, once you are done, it’s time to make the gif file.

To save the animation go to File>save for web and device, select gif, make sure the animation loop is set to forever

 

That’s it, you are done.  If you make one please leave a comment with the link, i will love to see them.

Now go out and shoot!

 

Update:

Check Christopher Mathew blog, he also make a tutorial on this and point some things that I pass out and maybe it help your understand thing more clearly.  Thanks Christopher

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293 Comments

  1. Alain says:

    Great tutorial, thank you!

    I was wondering if you or anyone could help me with an issue: I am unable to convert VOB files to a format that will work with Photoshop when doing the cinemagraphs. I tried converting to AVI and to MOV but PS refuses it. Do you know of a good program that could help me tweak all the settings? The one I found was ConverterLite and doesn’t give me much options so I can’t trial and error. Thank you, I’ll post some examples soon!

  2. MelissaCassie says:

    This is really cool, its amazing where technology has brought us. Im gonna give this a try! Im gonna have the best digital photo frame on the block! lol. Does anyone know of any places that do this professionally? Id like to to them to all my photos but don’t have the time.

  3. Stefan says:

    Hi, very nice tutorial, thnaks. Check out my gifs on my tumblr blog http://www.8gifs.com. Stefan

  4. Eva Beckes says:

    Thanks so much for great info, nice review, I will revisit your site next time.

  5. uche says:

    Thanks for the wonderful Tutorial,keep it up..
    Please i will like to find out if these Cinemagraph pictures can actually will printed out like a normal pics
    Thanks

  6. riskybizness1 says:

    Hey! I loved your tutorial, but now I am confused on how to get the GIF onto the website.

    Did you use an image hosting site that allows animated gifs? If I wanted to put it on a website like this one, or a tumblr – how did you do so?

    Thanks so much for your generous help!! You can reply or email here if you have the time :)

  7. Eric says:

    U can only Use 32bit photoshop Versions… on a Mac :(

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      if you have a Mac you can go in finder go to de application folder search for the PhotoShop icon> click it with two finger to open the menu> select “Get Info”> check the open as a 64 bit box, now open PS as the 64bit version.

    • Kelsey says:

      You really can do it with the 64-bit. I made my first cinemagraph tonight with PS 64. You do not need to convert frames to layers until the end at the very bottom right-hand corner of the animation tab is a layer converting tab. That is how I did mine and it worked just as well.

  8. Dheeraj says:

    I could make a cinemagraph but the resolution of the area that I mask is getting disturbed. What should I do?

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      remember that the gif format is a compress file and will lose quality that why I recommend to use the best video quality possible and edit the color with a cros processing in order to hide the quality loss

  9. My first attempt at cinemagraph… hope it’s fine =))) Veeeery subtle: http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee118/wdazzle/foxxy-cine-1.gif Thanks!!

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      Nice that was very subtle I have to carefully look all the picture to notice the movement, the masking is great! its a really good job. keep it up I hope to se more of you work you can add me in google+

  10. Anthony White says:

    I teach classes in Digital Media and decided to recreate this GIF phenomena as a class project. We practiced with just creating animated gifs to get students used to the frame window and how the layers correspond with those frames. I have linked your tutorial as support for when we start creating our Cinemagraphs. Thank you SO much for creating such a wonderful tutorial. The comments section has helped as well. The fact that you actually respond to people’s posts means a whole bunch. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Saludos desde Oregon!

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      thanks to you and i would like to see some of those class project, I know its going to be really creative for the student that are not a photographer and would create some interesting things.

  11. Here says:

    Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve truly loved browsing your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing on your rss feed and I am hoping you write again soon!

  12. Fatima Carmena says:

    Hola Fernando

    Estoy teniendo problemas para que el gif se reproduzca en mi word press.

    ¿Consejos para subirlo? Se reproduce como foto y no como gif animado.

    Muchas gracias

  13. Hi! Nice tutorial!. Here i leave you an interesting link about a new project I’m starting in 2012 about cinemagraphs. I hope you enjoy it!
    http://www.artefoto.net/blog/
    Un abrazo!

  14. peter says:

    i cant get this working, i dont understand your way of explaining it, i m not good with photoshop, so the mask thing, i dont know how..

  15. HappyMan says:

    Good Job!! These amazing motion pictures are so awesome!! Let me would like to make my own:)

  16. Ronan Ezekiel says:

    Gran tutorial! Voy a tener que probar esto! Gracias por compartir tus conocimientos!

  17. Kasia says:

    Are you still there? I am amazed by this pictures (cinemagrphs) I would love to make my own. But I have one problem…just at the begining…I can not open a video file in photoshop. I use CS3 version, and the movie is AVI file.

  18. Julio says:

    http://bit.ly/uTGRsu My submission. A lot of the submissions coming in are awesome. Mine is simple.

  19. PsPBuRnOuT says:

    Awesome stuff loving it :D

    TCN

    Peace

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      yeah i like both especially the second one. i love the shallow depth of field and the loop its amazing. the quality its stunning

  20. JG says:

    I made one for Halloween. Thanks for the tutorial! http://twitpic.com/79h7hf

  21. Master says:

    Thanks for wonderful tutorial.

    Went a little rough:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fin_master/6298253856/

    I’m not satisfied with the colors. The 256 limit with gif’s is killing me.

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      i like it :) I think a littler bit slower on the blood to make more dramatic and for the color the limit suck but try to give a cross processing or any other color limiting effect in post

  22. Hallynna says:

    hI:) I got PS cs5 extended version…but Portable; does it means i can’t do cinemagraph? And if so, i have a Movie to a GIFWMV “program” (i can make gif from a movie); <- can this solve my problem, about making cinemagraph? (in case i can't in my PS portable)*

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      I don’t know if the portable version can make the cinemagraph, the other program that you have can help you but remember that a cinemagraph is not only a gif from a video its the isolate movement between a still image

      • Hallynna says:

        (ok; no matter i’m convinced the portable can’t do cinematograph, just clear me about the file format we must import to PS: AVI?WMV?… -I believe Export is better as MOV; & what about the import file to PS? Watever i can do or not with my PS portable, i hope it’s possible with AE<-my last hope:)

  23. Thanks for the info. Much appreciated!
    Here’s my result in case anyone is interested:
    http://metaworknet.deviantart.com/#/d4c3u7e

    Have fun!

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      nice masking the only suggestion I have is to play a littler more with the time of the frame to slow down the movement of the hair and to let more time still between the loop

  24. PoodleDog says:

    Thank you very much for your inspiring images, and help. I was having memory problems on the save, but your sizing gave solutions.

  25. Patbeck says:

    http://patbeck.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/the_legend_of_1900_girl_by_patbeck.gif

    This is my first cinemagraph, about the girl of the movie “the legend of 1900″

    Thanks for the tutorial.

  26. Let me recommend free online service.
    Creating GIF animations
    http://toolson.net/GifAnimation

    Resizing GIF without losing animation
    http://toolson.net/GifResizer

    Creating animation from WEBcam
    http://toolson.net/WebcamAvatar

  27. basso says:

    Hi, this is a great post! Thanks..

  28. Johnay says:

    When i go to Import> Video frames to layers it tells me it cannot work in the 64bit Photoshop only the 32bit and please use that version instead. Help? :/

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      if you have a Mac yo can go in finder go to de application folder search for the PhotoShop icon> click it with two finger to open the menu> select “Get Info”> check the open as a 32 bit box, now open PS as the 32bit version. if you have Windows you need to download de 32bit version

  29. Fernando J Baez says:

    Do you have windows OS or Mac OS?

    • Johnay says:

      Same problem along with Marti! and I use Mac OS X lion to be precise.

      • Fernando J Baez says:

        in finder go to de application folder search for the PhotoShop icon> click it with two finger to open the menu> select “Get Info”> check the open as a 32 bit box, now open PS as the 32bit version

  30. Vijay says:

    Simple and perfect tutorial.Works very good !!

  31. hessel says:

    I’m wondering why others’ cinemagraphs work in tumblr but mine doesn’t. i tried uploading mine in photobucket and it works but in tumblr it doesn’t.

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      what size is your cinemagraph, I have an issue with big file that the preview don’t works, if you click your cinemagraph and open it in a new window the cinemagraph works?

  32. Aurelia says:

    Hi fernando. First thanks for the tutorial.
    I don’t know if other people had the same problem as mine, but when i press the space bar, the animation shows a still photograph (the first one in layers but my layers are ok and done with the fusion masks) and of course when I export it as a .gif it doesn’t move. I think I’ve forgotten to do something… but what ?!
    Maybe you can help me… I’m so excited in making my first cinemagraph… :)

  33. Angela says:

    I read a lot of your posts and this is my first time posting a reply. I just wanted to say thanks for your writing.

  34. Hello, when I reach the “Now go to File>import>video” my photoshop tells me that I have to use the x32 bit version on my mac instead of x64.

    Is there a turnaround for this?

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      go to the finder search for the application folder> search for the PS app icon, click it with two finger> menu “get Info”> theres a check mark that said run as 32 bit> now open de app and you have the 32bit version if you want to return to the 64bit just uncheck that option

  35. sary says:

    I feel I am going to look for the theme which is utilised inside your weblog. It really is extremely neat and attractive at the exact same time.

  36. Marlene says:

    Thank you for this tutorial!! I had looked at others that were not nearly as good as yours. You did a great job of explaining. However, I can not get my gif to work. It works in PS, but when I try to open it, it won’t move. What am I doing wrong? Also, can I send a gif in an email and have it move?
    Thanks again – much appreciated!!
    Marlene

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      thanks :) how are you saving it? and yes it should work in the email, I think Facebook its one of the few site that don’t allow it

  37. christi says:

    great tutorial! can’t wait to start my project! just need a cloudy day and some wind! do you think it will work?

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      Absolutely, you can do it any day not just in a cloudy one but depend on the situation and subject a cloudy day would help with the light

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      hahahaha I do that every night, just relax in the bed with a laptop to help me fall sleep. the only thing I would suggest its slowing down the motion to mimic the speed we do it on real life and masking more of the bed because you can see some movement and the main purpose of the cinemagraph its to freeze everything except the movement you want to isolate.

  38. ahalai says:

    Thanks for your tutorial, Fernando! I made a russian translation of your tutorial. If you don’t mind, I posted it on my blog. http://blog.ahalai.ru/post/9828965462/cinemagraph-tutorial-perevod-ozhivshie-kartinki

    And a gif cinemagraph I made with help of your tutorial – http://blog.ahalai.ru/post/9782554270/rain
    Spasibo bolshoe! =)

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      Thanks for the translation and I like the 3 additional things that you write I will try it out. Now in the cinemagraph you made, the masking its perfect, and this is a personal feeling but i would like to see it maybe a litter more slower, to make it more magical. thats the thing I love most of the cinemagraph the sudden and isolate movement in a completely still image (that my way of thinking and I’m not saying what is right or wrong, just what I like)

  39. Pete Thorne says:

    Thanks for making this tutorial, i’ve been inspired to make a video to help others learn, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJBsXEfQm-Y

  40. jon says:

    thanks for the tutorial Fernando! I’m trying to make one of my own but when I try to Import Video Frames to Layers I get an Error message that tells me it “is not available in the 64 bit version of Photoshop. Please use the 32 bit version instead.”. I’m using CS5. How do change it to 32 bit version?? Thanks for the help!

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      If you use MAC go to the finder>application locate the CS5 icon, press with two finger to open the menu and select “Get Info” and check mark the option that said open as a 32 bit version. Now you can use the 32 bit version, to return to the 64 bit just uncheck that option, in windows i don’t know how to do it sorry

  41. Denver Falldorf says:

    lollll

  42. angela says:

    Hey, its great article, thanks.
    But i have a some problem. When i open my video, select time which i want, i click file-export-render video [it's open a window, i rename], ok, and its work, and next i have a problem from windows with adobe photoshop cs5 [...] and photoshop closing :( what’s a problem?

  43. nika says:

    I think this article is excellent. Great advice. I think others will agree.

  44. Joana says:

    Hello Fernando!

    Congrats on this great tutorial! I just have one question: I don’t have a camera that shoots video (mine is a Canon 400D); is it very different and difficult to do a cinemagraph with photos instead of video? I would love some tips from you!

    Thanks in advance.

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      you have to had all of the picture in the same PSD file as layer (layer 0 should be the first picture and so on) open your animation pallete on the windows menu and copy the layes to the frame and you are ready to work on your cinemagraph

  45. Manoj says:

    I am in love with this idea. Thank you for the great explanation. Here is my first try out. Will be glad to know what you think: http://bit.ly/rhHt4V

  46. xavierpr14 says:

    Puerto Rico! Im so happy. I was looking for tutorials on this technique and found this wonderful page. Very nice. keep it up!

  47. Tim says:

    Hi Fernando, I am having problems opening my video in PS….I shot it with a Canon T1i, in .MOV format, but PS will not open it and saying that it’s not the correct format type…my PS is CS5 12.0 . any help would be great!

    • Fernando J Baez says:

      Try selecting the scene you want to use with a video editor software and then import that video in to layers in CS5

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