The Power of a Plotagraph
Have you discovered a Plotagraph yet ? You know one of those strangely still yet moving images that may have appeared on one of your social media feeds.
Well I have seen a few Plotagraphs pop up of late, usually of a spectacular ocean scene or waterfall where parts of the image are animated and 'flow' on a loop. They they really make you stop and stare at an image for longer. In the past I have done some quick investigations into how they are produced, but it seemed to be an expensive desktop app was required and a long learning curve being added to my To Do list.
I've also experimented with Cinemagraphs around 4 years ago, which produce a similar result from the opposite direction. Cinemagraphs work from a video recording and you then isolate an element to freeze it as the rest of the recording continues. Plotagraph by comparison, magically works from a still image and creates an animation effect to the areas you want to show 'moving'. Cinemagraphs are by their nature more realistic as they are recorded from actual video, yet planning and prepping such a video is a more deliberate and time consuming practice.
So step in the Plotagraph mobile app!
This app has got me hooked with it's low cost, easy use and ability to learn and experiment in downtime. I discovered it during a half price sale and via the iOS App Store and quickly understood how to use it.
Effectively as the opposite to a Cinemagraph, you select the elements of a still image which you wish to have animated and then add control points through masking and anchors to keep still elements in place. How the software manages to create this animation effect from a single JPG is a magical mystery.
My first few attempts with the app were flawed and I needed to reference the user guides and manuals to really understand the different controls. After that it was a case of experimenting and of course selecting the correct kinds of images.
Drone photography looking straight down on flowing water is a really great choice of image to work with. You need an element in the image which naturally 'flows' and which is a key part of the image to really make an impact. Once I shared some of these via Instagram stories I got a great reaction and lots of messages about how to achieve this effect.
The end results of my first few experiments are below to see and I really love them. I've shared one which has a mistake I've spotted just to show the potential need for paying a lot of attention to detail.
I'd definitely recommend getting the app and experimenting on whichever mobile platform you use and follow Plotagraph on the links below to see more of their examples.