Saturday 22 March 2014

Animating Still Photos

When I think of an animated GIF, I immediately think of a mini-video: either an extract from an actual video looping over and over, or something like a cartoon where several frames are presented one after another to give the illusion of movement. Recently, I discovered that people had found the means to add movement to a still photograph with stunning results. The image to the left started out as a simple photograph of a ballerina but with some imaging software, the author managed to transform the static sheer outfit into a flowing gossamer of fabric. I have to shake my head when I realise this was merely a photo. The enhancement from the addition of this simple movement turns a beautiful photograph into an eye-catching one.

In perusing the techniques and the technology, I have run across mentions of software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects and visual phenomenon such as parallax (how the eye perceives depth in 2D). Below, as a starting point, I found some video tutorials which explain how one can animate a still photograph. However, before you or I jump into this with the enthusiasm of a novice, I have been given to understand that the professionals who produce the most stunning results can spend an entire day creating a single animated still. Obviously this isn't something you do quickly and I'm now imagining this isn't a skill you develop overnight. As well as a good eye, I see in the tutorials you also have to have a steady hand. For the moment at least, I think I'll stick to blogging about this and leave the work up to the experts. Some of us are born to create and some of us are born to admire.

Just an aside. In looking at the various instruction videos, I realise that the final result is not always a single still photo. The word "cinemagraph" seems to be used to describe a technique where you take a video of something which is, for the most part, still. You use the first frame as the still photo then you superimpose some of the subsequent action over top of the still. This gives the impression of a still photograph with some movement. This is different from actually starting with a still photo then adding movement by superimposing modified parts of the original photo over top of the still. The results may appear to be the same, but how you arrived at the results is different.

The Creators Project - Nov 14/2013
How To Turn Your Photos Into Animated Clips By Laura Feinstein
Through a process known as the parallax effect, in which single frame photos are layered to create the illusion of third-dimensionality (3D), UK-based motion graphics artist and director Joe Fellows is able to turn a static shot into a multidimensional image. As part of our ongoing fall photo series, today we introduce you to Fellows, whose recent work involved creating the 2.5D animations for Ad Hoc Films and the World Wildlife Fund, employing the technique to bring hundreds of the WWF's archival photos to life. Using imaging software to layer stills, also known as The Kid Stays In The Picture effect after its namesake film, Fellows transforms a simple ping pong photo into a 2.5D animation. Watch above for a step-by-step tutorial on how to apply the parallax to your own shots.

Published on Nov 14, 2013 by The Creators Project
How To Animate a Photo | The 2.5D Effect
Learn how to create motion in still photographs, a technique made popular in the film The Kid Stays In The Picture. In the tutorial above, Joe Fellows shows us how he's able to bring photos to life using the parallax effect with Photoshop and After Effects.

Published on Jan 20, 2013 by Make Productions
By manipulating still photos from the WWF archive we created these stunning slow motion shots. We have created a stand alone film by combining the 'parallax' shots from 2 existing films produced by AD Hoc Films for WWF.

Published on Dec 8, 2013 by Alex Ruther
Kid stays in the picture
An effect using 2D components to create 3D media

Published on Nov 12, 2013 by The Creators Project
Bringing Life To Still Images | Meet Yorgo Alexopoulos
The hypnotic visual journey of Yorgo Alexopoulos' multimedia artworks centers around The Kid Stays In The Picture technique which involves breaking up 2D images into planes and reconstructing them to appear 3D. By mixing traditional and digital media, find out how Alexopoulos is changing the way visual art is being created and experienced.

Shutterstock - Apr 24/2013
After Effects Tutorial: Making Still Images Come to Life by Chad Ackerman
Whether or not you're a Photoshop master, there are things you can do to bring your still images to life you may not be aware of — because these techniques are performed in After Effects. With this tutorial, you'll learn how to animate certain types of still photos, plus a few different ways to pull it off.


The Creators Project
Founded by a revolutionary partnership between Intel and VICE, The Creators Project celebrates visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology in innovative ways to push the boundaries of creative expression.

We seek to inspire new and emerging artists by showcasing the infinite possibilities presented by the advancement of modern technology. The Creators Project is proud to have showcased more than 500 artists from all around the world.

Google image search: animated still photograph

Wikipedia: Shutterstock
Shutterstock, founded in 2003 by Jon Oringer, is a stock photography agency headquartered in New York City, New York, United States. Shutterstock maintains a library of 30 million royalty-free stock photos, vector graphics, and illustrations,[2] and 1 million video clips for license. Shutterstock licenses images and video clips on behalf of photographers, designers, illustrators, and videographers, adding 20,000 new images a day from 55,000 contributors in 150 countries, as of 2014.

Wikipedia: Parallax
Parallax is a displacement or difference in the apparent position of an object viewed along two different lines of sight, and is measured by the angle or semi-angle of inclination between those two lines.

Wikipedia: Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems.

Wikipedia: Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects is a digital motion graphics, visual effects and compositing app developed by Adobe Systems used in the post-production process of filmmaking and television production.

My blog: Cinemagraph: The Work of Kevin Burg and Jamie Beck - Mar 23/2014
Two New York artists have created an amalgamation of of photography, video, and animated GIF.

My blog: Animated GIFs - Mar 19/2014
The graphics image file GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) has been with us since 1987. The file format was enhanced to include various images or frames within the same file so as to produce animation.


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