Unedited image from a Fujifilm X-E2 converted to a GIF after Plotograph Pro edits on waterfall
If you read my Flixel review, you learned how to take a video and convert it into a moving image called a cinemagraph. It's cool, but it assumes you shot video, so what if you had a still photo that was ripe for animation like the waterfall shot above? This is where Plotagraph Pro enters the picture.
How it works
Plotagraph Pro allows you to create a mask of what you would like to animate and set the speed and technique used to make it come to life. While masking is never fun, I found the tools to be easy enough to use and generally speaking you don't have to be incredibly precise when the viewing area is just on computer monitors (even for my 32" 4k display).
Using one of your still images, you can use the web or desktop app (which seems to leverage the web app) to mark which portions of your UI you wish to animate. Click on the image above to see what the markup looks like.
From there you can accept the defaults, choose a preset or dial in your own animation values before you click play (or export) to let the magic happen. Here's what that UI looks like:
While you can save your animations in a variety of formats, the highest quality is in video so I've created some that you should VIEW AT FULL SCREEN to see how cool these things can be.
This animation only took about 5 minutes to create as the masking was pretty easy. The biggest mistake I made the first go around was getting too close to the rocks or the edge of the water. Cleaning up my mistakes after the first animation was easy and I was pleased with the results.
Feeling confident, I tried to do the waterfall using the automated masking tool and this one was completed in less than a minute. I loved the results, so I moved on to something a little harder.
This image took a little more time to mask, but only 5 minutes. However, I admit this one could still use some more work. With that said, after a little trial and error I had this one looking like you see here in about 15 minutes - not bad!
In minutes I was able to take two unedited photos (waterfall and lake) and bring them to life - that's pretty cool especially for sharing with your friends. What's more, if you keep the videos small enough then they'll auto play on Instagram or Facebook so you can have high quality video without requiring your viewers to hit play.
While I did this product a disservice by only showing you examples that animate water, I think you can see how easily it can bring your images to life. While I'm not a fan of its subscription model for pricing, I have arranged a discount. You can limit your cost by only signing up for a month, and you can even CLICK HERE for a FREE DEMO if you just want to check it out!
It should also be noted that you can download your videos, images, etc... so YOU CAN KEEP YOUR CONTENT if you cancel your subscription. Yes, you'll lose access to the software to edit your files, but there's no risk to trying it out. Go play with it for a few months on some of your favorite images and see what you think - I think you'll enjoy it! I thought it was a blast to use so I highly recommend it!
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- Flixel review - turn videos into moving photos (special offer)
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