How To Make Cinemagraphs


The amazing combination of photo and video strikes a chord in the minds of everyone who has seen it. A live photo will make you stand out among the masses of gray images because cinemagraphs are not common. There's one reason for that. Everyone thinks it's complicated: you have to spend a lot of time and money on a professional. This is an ordinary GIF file that is created from a pre-shot video or a series of still images. You can create cinemagraphs using various applications or watching cinemagraphs tutorials. But we'll tell you how to make cinemagraphs yourself and quickly.

What tools do you need?

To answer the question "How to make cinemagraphs?” you have to narrow the scope. As it was already explained, the basic principle: you take a part of the screen image and "freeze" or "animate" it. Below we will consider a few applications, but almost all of them work according to the principle: highlight what you want to stop or draw motion arrows to what you want to animate. It helps to create cinemagraphs on the Instagram program Photoshop. There is quite a long algorithm for action. This method can be classified as complicated (and for some, even very complicated).

Android users face a problem - many popular programs work only on IOS. That's why we'll name a couple of applications for both operating systems. If you want to make cinemagraphs via computer, use Photoshop, VSDC video editor or Adobe After Effects. In fact, we would advise working through a computer - it's much more convenient, and you can see all the bugs right away. You get much better quality content than when working with gadgets with a small touch screen. These applications are as follows:

  • Plotograph

This is one of the most popular animator apps. It is used by almost all media personalities. The program runs on the IOS platform and is paid for. More so, the application is really comfortable and of high quality. It works according to the algorithm I have already described - highlight what will move.

  • Cinemagraph

The mechanism of operation is exactly the same as that of Plotograph. But you can download it for free. However, there will be a watermark on the result of the processing. You will have to pay to remove it.

How to make your own cinemagraph

It is a more detailed tutorial for each of the above applications to make cinemagraphs.



The application works on the principle of animating a part of a photo using vectors.

  1. Launch the program on your PC or open the application on your iPhone. Upload the necessary photos to be processed. Also, think in advance which subject needs to be in motion, you or some subject. Everyone is rather captivated by the works of nature. For example: murmuring mountain stream, the stormy waters of the ocean or the flying sedge of cranes.
  2. Choose the direction and vector of movement of the necessary objects. For this, you need to use the built-in arrows. Make them as short as possible to get a realistic effect.
  3. Set the point limitation in the place where you want to end the movement of objects in the future cinemagraph.
  4. Use a special button in the form of a "triangle" at the bottom of the application window to make sure everything goes according to plan and you get the desired effect.
  5. Save the live photo after you finish editing. Live photos are saved in the ".mp4" video format.  They will also be displayed as video on Instagram but will be replayed an infinite number of times.
  6. If you created it on your computer, then transfer it to your phone to upload it to Instagram.



Learn how to make cinemagraphs on your smartphone. As mentioned above, a better result is obtained when you convert video. Because the opposite principle works here - you don't bring the photo to life but, on the contrary, freeze individual fragments in the video. Therefore, the realism is much higher.

First, think about what you want to end up with. What parts of the video will remain still, and what parts won't. It is best to leave the frame moving water. It can be a flowing river or a falling waterfall. Also, mirror image suits well for mirror animation, or several characters in the frame, some of which will freeze in place, and the rest will continue to live.

Well, the instruction by steps is written below:

  1. You should download the application to your phone. Open it and take a look at the functionality of the app.
  2. Go to the Cinematograph and select an object that will be stationary. Press the circular button at the bottom that starts the capture and hold the focus on the object.
  3. Sketch the area that will become movable. At the very top of the application, there are buttons that allow you to change the size of the area to be shaded and to change the transparency of those areas.
  4. Click on the ready button (tick) and wait while the video is processed and turns into a live photo.
  5. When the processing is finished, you can send the cinemagraph to Instagram to any other place, for example, by mail or other social networks. You can view the live photo on any device because it is in mp video format

How to create a cinemagraph in Adobe Photoshop

How to create a cinemagraph in Adobe Photoshop

Step 1

First, we need to select the video from which we are going to choose the basis. Ideally, when the video for cinemagraphs was shot using a tripod. Otherwise, you will not be able to select the same fragments, as the objects will be without statics.

Step 2

You will need to select a fragment from the video which will be used as a base for the cinematography. It is better to pick a part in which the motion of the object is smooth. The animation is best in the following ways: moving water or smoke, fire, wavy hair animation in the wind.

Step 3

The selected piece should be cut out in any of the video editors available to you. You can use the simplest video editor called “VirtualDub”. It requires no installation and is easy to use. You can always find this program with a search engine.

Processing a video in Photoshop
Step 4

Import the video for cinemagraph into Photoshop.
File - Import - Video frames into layers.
Each frame is imported into a new layer.

Step 5

More often, the effect for cinemagraph is created by using a layer mask. Merge all the layers into a group except the first (the lowest) frame. To do that, select the necessary layers and press Ctrl+G. Applying the command Layers - Layer Mask - Hide All without deselecting the group.

Step 6

Select the part of the photo, which will move, with the borders taking into account the movement of the object. Then fill the selection with white color on the mask layer.

Step 7

Our cinemagraph is almost done. Open the animation window. Look at your sequence of frames. Almost all of them have a transparent background. Select the first layer in the Layers panel to get rid of it and click the "Unify Layer Visibility" icon. In the dialog box that appears, choose "Sync".

Step 8

Let's save the resulting cinemagraph. File - Save for Web and Devices.

Bottom line

In order to create a cinemagraph, you need to take a good quality photo, which looks great, just like a photo. Next, you need to record a video capturing the same composition. This is the hardest part because you need to capture the elements that will play in the cinemagraph while keeping the rest of the video stationary. The video must be recorded in the highest resolution your camcorder can support. Remember to use a tripod to minimize camera shake. In fact, you may have already figured out how easy to create cinemagraphs with photoshop. Once your footage is assembled, it's time to create a live photo. And for that, you can use our article!


How to make cinemagraphs on Android?

One of the best Android apps, which wasn’t mentioned, to make cinemagraphs is Fotodanz. Its simplicity allows you to film images and video directly from the app. After that, you can easily use your finger to select the areas of the video you'd like to animate. As easy as that.

How much is Cinemagraph pro?

The cost is 199 dollars. Available for both Mac and iOS, this tool allows you to upload video and choose which element you would like to keep in motion. The program also comes with great options for photo processing and a whole slew of filters.

What is the best cinemagraph app?

It is impossible to single out one best app. Because someone understands how to create cinemagraphs in Photoshop, someone is comfortable with the interface of Platograph, and another one prefers the functions of the Cinematography. It all depends on the person's preferences but we have tried to tell you about the best ones.

What is the best cinemagraphs video tutorial for beginners?

You can find a great cinemagraphs tutorial on the official Adobe page at It clearly and concisely describes how to make a cinemagraph in Photoshop with video accompaniment. 

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