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Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

How to create live images - Cinemagraphs in Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

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Hi there, this video is all about creating Cinemagraphs in Photoshop. You can see the water's moving, but everything else is still. Let's turn the little mask off, you can see, that's the whole image looping around, but with a cool little mask you can make it just happen a tiny little bit. And with a little bit of layer loopiness, it can play forever. We'll do a couple of versions, this one as well, coffee beans, just keep on going forever. Then we'll look at exporting them as a gif, so you can upload them to websites and social media, and have one of those kind of Harry Potter newspaper living image things. Let's learn how to do it now in Photoshop. 

To create our Cinemagraph we're going to go to 'File', 'Open'. In your '13 Video' file let's open up 'Cinemagraph 1'. Now this particular effect works mainly because I found a video that has something moving, water's a good one. It's easy to fake and fudge. And this guy doesn't move too much. He does over the whole course, but I'm just going to use a little snippet at the beginning here where he's not moving very much. If there's a lot of movement, or the camera is actually panning across and moving, it just doesn't work. So static, foreground, background, and just have something moving within it. It can be a waterfall, it could be things being poured out, hair blowing in the wind. If you Google 'top cinemagraph animations' into YouTube, it will give you some ideas of things you could do. 

Now I'm going to run through what you need to do step-by-step. The only reason I remember how to do this is because I've taught it so many times. It is really hard to remember off the top of your head, so what I've done is, in your 'Class Projects', I've created this one called 'Cinemagraph', and I've just done it step-by-step. Even then my notes, it's still quite hard, so there's lots of playing, pausing, don't worry, everyone finds this tough. 

First thing to do is, let's just make sure, under this little cog here, that we've got a loop playback, because that's it, right? We want to create an animated gif that just plays forever. So for this to work we need to find a part of the animation. I'm going to use this part here at the beginning, where he's not moving too much, then we need to trim out the beginning. You have to drag this side up to some degree, and under that again, so you need to drag the left of this layer to the right. All that means is that when I drag this out of it, there's some extra stuff in there, it's kind of hidden, there it is there. So you trim it in, so you can't see it. So that's required, and then it kind of does this little loop here. And eventually I'm happy with it there. I'm going to drag in this side as well, just need a little short snippet to loop. 

Now let's have a look, 'space bar', just to see it looping. I want the water looping, but not him, maybe a bit longer. Problem is there's a bit of movement in there but I'm going to risk it. Trim out the beginning, have to do that, trim at the end, you don't have to do that part, but it was just too long, I want a short little loop. With the layer selected, let's duplicate the layer, copy and paste it. I just hit 'Command C', 'Command V', or 'Ctrl C', 'Ctrl V' on a PC. So there are two layers now. Now for this to work, it can't be in this little group here, so just grab 'Layer 2'. And just drag it out, just drag it anywhere down here. Now they can work on side by side. The left of Layer 2 gets dragged all the way that way, and the right of it gets dragged in so that it aligns with Layer 1. That's a bit you'll never remember. I'll do it again after this a little bit faster. So if you are watching this and following along, watch this, then we'll do it together a little faster, and you can pause, and do your own version. 

Now nothing's going to happen. What we need to do now is fade this out to show through the image underneath. It's going to create the loop. So let's move our playhead anywhere between where these two overlap. So I'm going to start somewhere here. Click on this top layer here, 'Layer 1', twirl it down, and I'm going to start with my Opacity. Turn on the little stopwatch, so here's my first keyframe, you just leave that one, then anywhere between here and here, you'll have to adjust this depending on your animation. So anywhere in here, as long as it's still overlapping, put it in another keyframe, and lowering the opacity over here in your Layers Panel. So basically it's going to play and then start getting more and more see-through. I'll turn this one off. So it's going to get more and more see-through. And because of this trick we did with this last level, this one picks up, basically starts playing here, with that bit snipped off, till eventually it gets to this end part which is actually the beginning here. Which probably doesn't make any sense to you. I always get blank looks in the class. 

So with them both on now, hopefully now we've got a loop. There's a little bit of kind of fading going on. I'm not worried too much about it because he's moving, because I'm going to mask him out, I just want the water. So let's not worry about it too much, we can adjust these later on, but let's do our mask. To create a mask we need to make a still of all of this. So put your playhead where you want the still. So I'm going to have mine just at the beginning here. Then with both of these selected click on these two. There's a cool little shortcut, 'Command-Option-Shift-E', that's on a Mac. 'Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E' on a PC. Gives you a still of all those layers and makes its own little duplicate on top. Or you can flatten it, copy it, then undo it, and paste it back in. 

So you've got this option on the top here. So this is covering everything. If I hit 'Play' now, actually no, there's my animation, there's this fella. He needs to make sure he's kind of at the top, above everything. I'm going to drag him over here so he's covering my video. I'm going to zoom out a little bit. So it's covering everything, we can't see anything. So this is it, we're going to poke a hole through this, with a mask, to show just the water. So with the layer selected, let's go to 'Layer Mask', let's grab our 'Brush Tool', find an appropriate brush size. Then paint a hole here. It's a little hard to do, you're going to have to adjust it. So I don't want too much of this bottle, undo. I don't want too much of his face, undo. Give it a practice, hit 'space bar' now, you can see, it's pretty good actually. And you can see, remember that fuzziness we had? Not to worry about it now because water is quite forgiving.

His face, how much of this do I want? So if I paint in a bit more of his face, it's kind of working, except his face is-- because this guy's moving all the time, which is kind of ruining it, so I'm going to, paint it out with white, so his face doesn't move. And that's our effect, friends. Zoom out. It's cool, huh. If he didn't move through the whole thing, I'd be tempted to do it with the stuff running down his face as well, but because he kind of leans forward during the animation, we can't. I'm going to save this one, just going to save it to my desktop. We'll export it as a gif in a second, I just want to show you, once you get into the rhythm or at least work out the steps, instead of explaining it all, I'm just going to run through it reasonably quick This would be the one that you can rewatch. Jump to this bit where it's nice and quick, and me not trying to explain things as we go. 

So I'm going to go to 'File', 'Open', and we're going to do it with '13 Video', 'Cinemagraph 2'. This one here, beans being poured into a bowl. I want this to kind of feel like it's continuously being filled up forever. So which part do I want? I probably want the bit that's-- it's a little bit hard when you can see the bottom of the bowl, I practiced. It's easier when there's no hole, so I just want a chunk, this big. So remember the rule is, drag. You have to drag this left side of it to the right. How much? Up to you. As long as there's some in there, and then how much of a loop, yeah that's long enough. Hit 'space bar' to just check. Yes, that's long enough. 

So now this is where the magic happens, with this selected, copy, paste. Make sure this guy is not in the same group. Drag this one all the way this way. You can go all the way to the beginning. We can go about half way as long as there's a good overlap. Then drag the right hand side in here. Now with this layer selected we need to add a couple of Opacity Keyframes. One, you don't do anything, the other one, you lower the opacity down to 0. Hit 'space bar', and now it should loop forever. That's the bit. You can see, there's a bit of a fade but it's pretty good, right? You might decide that you don't-- like it doesn't need to be anything else than this. Because the blend is actually pretty good. It's a Cinemagraph without having to do the mask. When I practiced this it never came out this good. 

So let's say I do, I want them pouring in but not bouncing around. So remember, select both of these, hold down all the keys and E. 'Command-Option-Shift-E', or 'Ctrl-Alt-Shift-E' on a PC. Drag it to the top, there we go. Make sure it overlaps. And we add a Layer Mask to it. 'Layer Mask', paint bits in. And I just want kind of these parts. Make sure black is your foreground color. I'm going to hit 'space bar'. That's what we're trying to do. I'm going to have to work some of these in, I want you in there. How much of the bottom do I want in? That's kind of it. And that will make a pretty cool Cinemagraph. We'll turn it into an animated gif now. Hopefully it shows after a little bit of practice, you can bang out lots of these Cinemagraphs. Test it on different things, but let's look at exporting now as a gif. 

To export it go up to 'File' and let's go to, you have to use the 'Export', 'Save for Web (Legacy)', you have to use this older version, because it has some special gif tricks in here. Wait for it to load, it's going to be a bit stressful on your machine. Maybe Photoshop doesn't like doing video and animation very much. So you need to pick a Preset. Doesn't really matter as long as it's gif. The higher the numbers the more colors and the nicer it's going to look, but the file size is going to be bigger. You don't need to change anything except for, down here, where it says Looping Options. You want to say loop 'Forever', rather than just play once. Also this is a very big, like this is full HD, it's going to be a super big gif. If this is going out via social media, you probably want it to be a lot small. I'm going to make mine like 20% of the original size. It's about 300 pixels across, and then click on this option that says 'Save'. I'm going to put mine on to my 'Desktop', hit 'Save'. I'm going to replace it because I've already practiced. And then hopefully on my desktop, there is my gif, it is less than half a Megabyte, which is good. And it has a cool looping thing. Awesome, huh? 

Let's do the second option. Let's leave this one, it's full resolution, just so you can see the difference. So 'File', 'Export', 'Save for Web'. It shouldn't be too big, not like a fully animated gif, because there's only a small part that's actually changing colors. So remember, loop 'Forever', make sure it's on 'gif'. Hit 'Save'. I'll stick it on my desktop. Check it, where are you? On a Mac you can just hit 'space bar', and it just plays. You can see the colors are all banded, and stuff. Just because you're only allowed 128 colors on that preset. If you want more colors, say you want it to be as photo realistic as you can, you can go to 'Export', 'Export', 'Save for Web'. Sorry that's 'File', 'Export', 'Save for Web'. And even though the defaults only go up to 128, you can, over here go to 256, you can add some more colors to it. It's going to look nice, it's still going to have banding, there's only 256 colors allowed in a gif, whereas we actually have millions and millions. Normally an RGB, or a typical JPG. Poor old gifs only have a few colors, so if you get banding, there's not much you can do about it. Crank it up to 256 colors. 

The other thing you could do is make this thing monochromatic. Then it would look nice, there'd be less banding and lots of grays, 256 grays. Let's have a look at this one, still a bit of banding. Survivable. Now, remember on my Mac, I can just hit space bar and it starts playing. If you're on our PC, and you can't make it work, even on a Mac you can't make it work, just open up a browser, can be Chrome, it can be Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Explorer. I felt like that's a test of how many browsers I knew. Anyway, so once you've got it, have them so you can kind of see them both. Then just drag it into here, and it should start playing. There he's there. Upload this to social media, and it is a cool thing in Facebook. Same thing in Instagram. Uploading to things like Dribble, even just on your website. gifs just play by themselves, whereas all the mp4s, they need to be asked to be played. 

So that is a Cinemagraph, or called a living picture. It's a pretty cool effect, easy enough to do. The steps are a little bit tough so check out, remember, the Word document that is in your exercise files, and look for the class project called Cinemagraph. I'll see you in the next video.