Cinemagraph 101: Create cool animations on your phone

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A cinemagraph is a blend of a still photograph and a minor, repeated movement, forming an animation or video clip. It usually exists in the form of an animated GIF or in other video formats.

In a cinemagraph, only a section of the image has any movement. So, you can have the still photograph of a face in which an eye blinks repeatedly. Another example would be a still photograph of a dark room in which a light bulb flashes on and off in an endless loop.

A Sample Cinemagraph

To illustrate, here is an example:
cinemagraph by dolce and gabbana

The above image shows that beautiful blend of a small, repeated animation imposed on a still photograph.

How to Create One on your smartphone

It is no easy feat to create these cool animations using standard PC software, but the good news is that it is much easier to do on a mobile device. Here are two you can try your hands on:

  1. Motion Stills. This mobile app is made by Google and is a very simple one to use. It is very basic and also has video stabilization, which is a nifty addition. Motion Stills is free and available for both Android smartphones and iPhone. Download Android. Download iOS.
  2. PICOO Camera is another free app you can create animated images with. It is not as basic or as simple to use as Motion Stills, but if you require more controls over your finished work, it is a good choice. It is also available for both Android and iOS devices. Download Android. Download iOS.
  3. MaskArt lets you convert your existing videos into a cinemagraph. Select the video you want to use, highlight the area you want to animate and the other areas will become a still image. Easy does it. Like the others, it is free, but only available for iPhone. Download iOS.

Some smartphone manufacturers are beginning to play with the idea of building the ability to create these animated images directly into their devices, so you don’t need to download and install any 3rd party app to get creative.

Have you been creating any cinemagraphs? What apps have you been using? What fantastic animations have you created? Do share in the comments section.

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