Cinegraphs – The Moving Still Image

A Cinegraph, or Cinemagraph, is a still image with some constituent parts that are moving.

Personally I think the concept is quite unique. It’s not the same as an animated GIF, the somewhat tacky pre-cursor of video on the web, where the whole image moves – usually as 3-5 second sequences in loops. Nor is it the same as video. It is a kind of moving still, where the photographer / artist (we can’t call him the film-maker) decides which parts of the image will move and which parts will be static.

This creates an interesting tension between objects whose movements are shown, and objects which were clearly moving but whose movement is frozen in time.

Testing Image #1: The Tiniest Movement Throws It Off


You can find some great examples of the power of Cinegraphs if you look anywhere online, but for now here is my first evening of work on the concept.

It’s a steep learning curve that combines frame-based image masking and editing, stills extraction, and a good degree of artistic direction when done well.

Don’t believe the multitude of tutorials online that tell you it’s really easy and super quick to do. Well it may be – but not to do one well! Try it yourself…

The artistic direction of the two photos below is next to none, but these were just testing images.

Have you seen Cinegraphs on the web? What do you think? Powerful, quirky, or gimmicky?

Testing Image #2