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Burning Question: What is a Cinemagraph and How Do I Create One?

Burning Question: What is a Cinemagraph and How Do I Create One? Image credit: Bessi

A cinemagraph is a format that combines photos and video. It’s a still photograph where a small area of the image has repeated or looped movement occurring to draw your attention. Cinemagraphs can be published as movies or an animated GIF or in other video formats. I find them to be a great way to liven up still photos in documentaries and they’ve become common in online advertisements. And, of course, in animated GIFs.

Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg were early cinemagraph creators. They were featured in Huffington post in 2011 in an article about Cinemagraphs. Read: So Long Animated GIFs, Hello Cinemagraph also talks about Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg in an article from 2018, and it is a technique that isn’t going away anytime soon! Read: The Mesmerizing Art of Cinemagraphs and How to Make Your Own

We’ve found several tutorials for software including After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro X, and Davinci Resolve. First, a nice example for some inspiration.

Best Cinemagraphs of January 2020 | Flixel


Discovering the subtlety of cinemagraphs.

Adobe published an article in November 2019 about making cinemagraphs. They cover using Premiere Pro, Particle systems in After Effects, and more.

Read the Article

How to Create a Cinemagraph in 7 Easy Steps

Another from November 2019, this article from HubSpot explains the process in Photoshop.

Read the Article

How to Create Cinemagraphs in Photoshop

PHLEARN shows you how to create a Cinemagraph in Photoshop and in camera.

Cinemagraph Tutorial in After Effects

Phil Ebiner of Video School Online shows how to create Cinemagraphs, and he uses things like using time remapping and masks.

Make your PHOTOS come to LIFE – Cinemagraphs in Premiere Pro has a fun tutorial on making your own Cinemagraphs in Premiere Pro. He explains how to make a loopable GIF.

How to make your pictures COME TO LIFE using a CINEMAGRAPH

Peter McKinnon explains making a Cinemagraph in the Photoshop timeline.

Creating A Holiday Cinemagraph in FCPX from Ripple Training

Mark and Steve from Ripple Training show you how to create a Holiday Cinemagraph using a particle preset effect in Motion. Then teach you how to create the final composite using Masks and Blend Modes in Final Cut Pro X.

HOW TO: Create Cinemagraphs (aka Moving Pictures) for Instagram | Davinci Resolve 15

Waa Productions shows you how to do it in DaVinci Resolve.

How to make a Cinemagraph with Photoshop and After Effects

This tutorial from Kert Gardner is, in fact, really old but it was at the forefront of the effect. He mentions the 2011 Huff Post article above in his video description.

Cinemagraph Inspiration

Just for fun and inspiration, here are some examples of Cinemagraphs that people have done. You’ll find a lot of inspiration on Instagram, too, if you follow #Cinemagraph.

Creating stunning cinemagraphs from the ISS with Final Cut Pro X and Flixel

Some of my favorites are Armand Dijcks work with the International Space Station. He uses Final Cut Pro X’s Optical Flow tool to create these incredible time-lapse cinemagraphs.

See his examples and read his interview

Best Cinemagraphs Compilation

Beautiful Cinemagraphs

Best Cinemagraphs of January 2019 | Flixel

Flixel is an app that builds cinemagraphs and because of that, they have a lot of inspirational cinemagraphs at their site.

Featured image credit: Bessi

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