You may have heard of these hybrid creatures. You might have even seen them. No, we’re not talking about dragons (and watching Game of Thrones doesn’t mean you’ve actually seen one!) We’re talking about cinemagraphs. This cool format combines the magic of stills and motion to create an eye-catching effect that is neither a video, nor a photo. And the best part? Cinemagraphs look super attractive in an online portfolio. They are sure to instantly intrigue your readers to your online portfolio, and make sure they spend more time browsing your pages.
So if you want to grab your website visitors’ attention, or maybe offer your clients a neat extra (that others don’t have), it’s in your best interest to know how to make a cinemagraph. Luckily, we wrote an article just about that!
Quoting the creators of the medium, “a cinemagraph is a living moment in an otherwise still photograph. It exists in the world in between a photograph and video to bring to life the image and make it last forever.“ In short: a cinemagraph is a picture where only one or a very few elements are moving – while the rest is still.
In terms of format, a cinemagraph is in fact an infinitely looping animation, which goes by the popular name… GIF. But if the latter is associated with expressive gestures and low-quality graphics, cinemagraphs are quite the opposite. First, the motion is absolutely minimal, and thus extremely intriguing and eye-catching. Secondly, they are your best ally to show a sense of atmosphere on your site. And last (but not least), they are highly aesthetic and produce a feeling of poetry.
Before anything else, a cinemagraph is a can’t-miss attention grabber. And, boy, do photography websites like these! There are several creative ways to use them on your website:
Step 1: Think it through
A good cinemagraph starts with amazing (and well thought out) footage. Think of a scene or an atmosphere you’d like to captivate people with, and work out all the details. Determine what would be the element(s) in motion in your cinemagraph. It can be the light of burning candle, a model’s lock of hair, pouring a glass of champagne, steam rising up from a cup of coffee… The options are endless. Find the one that “moves” you (and your potential clients) the most.
One more thing to plan for: the movement you’d like to isolate needs to be more or less repetitive. Why? So that the looping sequence will be glitch-free when one sequence ends and the following loop starts.
Step 2: Shoot
No need for special equipment – almost any quality recording device can do the job, even a smartphone. But an advanced one 🙂 A tripod, on the other hand, is an absolute must. The footage has to be as still as possible. The only motion we want to record is the one that you planned for.
While you’re at it, make sure that the background of the moving element is completely still. For example, if you’re filming water pouring into a glass, make sure there is no movement behind the flowing water. Otherwise, it will be really hard to isolate one movement from another, and the final cinemagraph will have glitches.
Step 3: Edit
And….. action! The exciting part starts with importing the final footage to an image editing program. We’re actually creating a GIF file, so the best tool that is hopefully within your reach will be Photoshop. Assuming that words like “layer” and “mask” make you feel at home, here is the complete set of instructions on how to make a cinemagraph in Photoshop:
Now, clip 1 will slowly disappear and “fade out” into clip 2, so that the transition between them will be as smooth as possible. Check out the impact of the Opacity trick in the example here below:
Now that your cinemagraph is ready, you can very easily import it on your website. Wix allows you to add as many cinemagraphs as you wish in your gallery, all for free! All you have to do, is follow this simple procedure:
1 – Create your Wix account, it only takes a second – if you don’t have one already.
2 – Pick the templates that you wish, among the dozens specifically designed for photographers.
3 – Click “My Uploads” (icon of a cloud) on the left side of the Editor.
4 – Click “Images”.
5 – Click “Upload Images”.
6 – Select the file of your cinemagraph (maximum of 15MB).
7- Press the “Add to Page” button to insert the cinemagraph and impress your visitors.
That’s it, your cinemagraph is ready to amaze your clients!
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