There are all sorts of tools out there for making cinemagraphs and “plotagraphs” by animating certain parts of your still photos, but you don’t need any of them. This short tutorial shows you how to create these animations using Adobe Photoshop.
This video was uploaded by Cristi Kerekes (AKA Eye Stocker) a couple of years ago, but it’s been making the rounds online today, and for good reason: it’s a straightforward, concise tutorial that shows you how to add smooth motion to any still photo, as long as the motion you’re trying to create is linear.
In the video, Kerekes uses a photograph of a mountain peeking out of the clouds, and the final product looks like this:
Attempting to explaining the steps in text will can sound a bit confusing confusing, but it’s extremely easy to understand (and replicate) when you watch Kerekes do it. Basically, he’s selecting the portion of the image he would like to animate, shifting it over as far as he wants it to move, and then using multiple duplicates of that selection in the video timeline to create a smooth motion effect that fades in and out to prevent any obvious jumps in the loop.
At the end, he adds one more layer and perfects his selection by masking in any parts of the photo he animated by mistake.
Of course, you could do the opposite of this by shooting a video and freezing part of it. For the particular example Kerekes uses, you could also shoot a time-lapse, assuming the clouds were moving. But if you’re just looking to have some fun with stills you’ve already shot, this is a quick and easy way to animate a section of your photo and create a looping GIF.
Check out the full video above, then visit Kerekes’ YouTube channel to see what he’s been up to since 2017. There are plenty more photo editing tutorials, effects tutorials, and gear reviews on there that are worth checking out.