A cinemegraph of a black bear: it's a still photograph, except for a black bear rubbing its back against a tree trunk, which loops


Due: 10/30

Tag: sk9

For this assignment, I’d like you to create your very own cinemagraph — it can be a landscape, or a portrait, or a movie scene, or whatever else you’d like to try. Scroll down for lots of examples of cinemagraphs below, including some of each of those listed.


Cinemagraph How To

Beginner Lynda.com tutorial on using the Slice tool in Photoshop to create cinemagraphs (3 minutes, 22 seconds)

Intermediate level Lynda.com tutorial with fuller discussion of creating cinemagraphs in Photoshop (1h, 24 min for the total course, but all you really need is part 1 “Basic Cinemagraph Effect,” which is about 30 minutes)





Alternate Route: a simple GIF

If you decide to make a GIF instead of a cinemagraph, the GIF that keeps on GIFfing is the best one-stop resource.

EDIT: Even if you make a GIF, I want you to do so in Photoshop using similar methods to those described in the courses on cinemagraphs to the left. Don’t just load a video clip into a gif-maker and move along — I want you to understand how to make and edit your own GIFs. Additionally, if you’re making a GIF I want you to think carefully about what you accomplish with it. Why do you want a looping GIF instead of a video clip?

Using VLC to download videos from YouTube or Vimeo

I had you install VLC for the movie montage assignment because it’s the best way to grab screenshots as you watch movies. It’s also an excellent tool for downloading videos from YouTube or Vimeo.

The video to the right walks you through one method for doing so, but it looks a bit different on my laptop (either because it’s a year old video or because it’s on PC or just because there are multiple methods of performing this task and he does it differently from how I do, not sure which) so I’ll also describe my process:

  • Find a streaming video you want to turn into a GIF or a cinemagraph, then copy the link for the video and open VLC.
  • “Open Network” (instead of opening a file) and paste the link to the video in the URL text box.
  • Go to Media Information (Window > Media Information) and copy the URL in the Location box.
  • Paste the new URL into your browser and it will load the video itself.
  • File > Save as… or right-click and Save as… and save the file onto your local machine.

That’s it!

I first saw cinemagraph portraits in the work of Romain Laurent. I think I first saw them in articles at This is Colossal: “Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent,” “New Absurd Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent,” and “New Animated Portraits by Romain Laurent Explore Quirky Isolated Movements.”

Head Like an Orange is a Tumblr full of these sorts of landscape cinemagraphs.

If We Don’t, Remember Me is a Tumblr of animated movie stills, at least some of them commissioned by television networks like AMC for promotional purposes.

Other resources

Flixel is a specialized software created specifically for making cinemagraphs, mostly for marketing and other commercial reasons. The Flixel blog has lots of useful tips for cinemagraphs, not only for their specific app, including general tips for creating them with an iPhone.

This NC photographer offers special “senior portrait cinemagraphs.”

I link to Flixel and the portrait photog mostly just by way of indicating that if you get interested in making these, there are potential uses and outlets for them.

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