How To Create a Cinemagraph in Adobe Photoshop

October 4, 2019 0 By Peter Engel


How’s
it going everyone and welcome back to another
Spoon Graphics video tutorial. Today’s topic is Cinemagraphs, which are those cool animated
GIFs you no doubt seen on the web. They’ve exploded in popularity over recent years,
with my old tutorial on my website from 2013 now seeing over 700,000 views. The trouble is, since my original tutorial
was created, Photoshop now has a whole new timeline feature which means you no longer
have to edit videos frame by frame. That old technique still works great for Cinemagraphs
that include reversed footage, but today I’ll show you some new and improved methods of
creating Cinemagraph images. You can make Cinemagraphs from any video footage
as long as there’s a combination of stationary objects and looping elements. Ideally it will
have been filmed using a tripod to eliminate shaking or moving too. Clips of escalators,
subway trains, or some kind of repetitive human action all produce great results, especially
if there’s other areas of the shot that can be frozen to enhance the effect. In this first example I’ll show you how to
make a basic cinemagraph by looping some video footage with similar start and end points,
then freeze the majority of the image to focus the animation on one specific area. This particular
video is a stock clip I bought from videohive, named Girl Looking Towards the Ocean. Begin by dragging the clip into Photoshop,
which will open up the Timeline. In recent versions of Photoshop this will show the video
as a continuous clip, as opposed to a series of individual frames like the old versions. Skim through your video to find a suitable
portion to animate. This particular video hasn’t been shot on a tripod, so you can see
some shaky movement as you scrub along. All this is useless footage, so it can be trimmed
away by dragging the clip edge inwards to shorten it. Drag the playhead back and forth and visualise
how the footage could form a looping motion. Here I’m watching the shape of the dress as
it blows in the wind to find two frames where it appears similar. Drag the edges of the clip to your chosen
playhead position to trim the clip down in size. Click the small Gear icon in the timeling
and ensure the Loop option is checked, then give the footage a test by pressing the play
button. The whole video will play as normal and jump as it reaches the end, but focus
only on the area you wish to animate to see if theres a harsh jump, or whether it blends
smoothly. In my example, the dress is blowing so fast,
simply matching two similar frames generates a seamless loop. Other subjects might require
some blending, which I’ll cover later. To freeze the rest of the footage, press CMD+A
to Select All, then go to Edit>Copy Merged. Paste this selection, then drag the layer
out of the Video Group and to the top of the layer stack. Move the purple layer in the timeline above
the footage then align and trim it so it’s the same length. Add a Layer Mask within the Layers panel,
then set up a round Brush with a black fill. Move the playhead elsewhere along the timeline,
then begin painting over the dress area to allow the underlying video footage to show
through. Move the playhead further along and continue
erasing the static image to allow the whole dress to be visible as it flutters into various
positions. This shows why the background of the video footage must be perfectly still,
otherwise the effect just wouldn’t work. Adjust the brush hardness to softly blend
in any areas that result in a hard edge. In my example, the model moves her arm slightly
during the clip, which means some more careful masking is required. You can switch from erasing to restoring the
Layer Mask by pressing the X key, which switches the foreground and background colours between
black and white. After some clever adjustment of the mask,
the cinemagraph effect is complete. This image can now be saved as an animated GIF, or exported
as a short video file to retain its full quality. Go to File>Export>Save for Web, then change
the image settings to GIF, Selective and Diffusion. Reduce the size of the image at the bottom
of the options screen to bring the file size down, and don’t forget to set it to Loop Forever.
You can see the overall file size in the bottom left corner. Alternatively, you can export the footage
back to an MP4 video file at full size, which you can loop within video editing software.
Go to File>Export>Render Video and hit the Render button. This next example shows how to create a loop
where the footage needs blending. This technique works perfectly for running water or smoke,
like you can see in this free footage that’s named Agua Natural from Coverr.com Drag the video clip into Photoshop to load
it into the timeline. The clip only needs to be a couple of seconds
long, so drag the right edge inwards to shorten it. Drag the left edge inwards slightly to trim
a little off the start. This will be used as part of the blending process. Drag the whole Video Group onto the New Layer
icon in the Layers panel to duplicate it, then move it until it snaps to the end of
the original clip. Extend the left edge back out, then trim the
right edge so it lines up with the edge of the original. This will leave a small section
of footage that ends on the same frame that the original clip starts on. Click the little arrow for this video group
to expand the options, then match the playhead up with the start of the clip and click the
icon to add an Opacity keyframe. Reduce the opacity of the layer to 0% in the
Layers panel, then move the playhead along to near the end of the clip. Click the small diamond shaped icon to add
another keyframe, then bring the opacity back to 100%. Give the footage a test and see if the looping
is noticeable. These clips blend so smoothly it’s impossible to tell where they start and
begin Without looking the at timeline. Press CMA+A to Select All, then go to Edit
>Copy Merged. Paste this clipping, then move it to the top of the layer stack. Align the clip so it’s the same length as
the footage, then add a Layer Mask. Paint the mask with a soft black brush in
the area that should be animated. It’s interesting to play around and see if it looks better
with a small or large part of the image in motion. Cinemagraphs tend to work best with
subtle motion, especially when they result in surreal images like this. So I hope these tips for creating Cinemagraphs
in Adobe Photoshop helped out you. Have some fun creating them using your own camera, stock
video footage or even clips from famous movies. There’s also a range of mobile apps that allow
you to create this effect from camera phone videos, but doing it the manual way in Photoshop
will always give you most control over your results. If you enjoyed this tutorial a thumbs up to
help recommend it to others would be really appreciated. Subscribe if you’re new around
here, otherwise thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one.