Photos are a powerful way for us to communicate. They help you tell your story in your newsletter, magazines, emails, and, of course, on your social media accounts. In fact, adding an image to your social media posts increases your engagement significantly—photo posts get 93% more engagements on Facebook than posts without an image. But if you are seeking a truly unique image for your post, you need to try animated photos.
What is an animated photo? Well, I’m sure you have probably seen one online in the last several months.
Basically, you take a still photo and add motion to the image. It’s not that this concept is entirely new—people have been using Photoshop to make animated images for a while now—but with the help of a few software options, this technique is much easier to replicate.
Let me first introduce you to PhotoMirage by Corel—yes, I said Corel (I guess Adobe’s subscription formula for their creative suite provided a space for Corel to still exist). What I like about PhotoMirage is that you can download it to your computer, that is if you have a PC. As far as I can tell, they do not have a product for Mac.
The benefit of downloading this software to a computer is the ability to work on a larger screen. Once you get started on these programs you will understand what I mean—they require a lot of detail work to make them look good.
Once installed, just drag your image into the program and get started. I decided to try the effect on this image I took at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland a few years ago. The process, though simple, is tedious. To make it realistic, I needed to mask the cliffs so they didn’t move and then apply movement to the ocean and the clouds.
Despite watching a few of the tutorials, it did take some trial and error to make it look the way I wanted it to. At first, everything was moving, including the cliffs despite having masked them off, but after several adjustments, I was finally able to get something that was acceptable in only 30 minutes.
The downfall to PhotoMirage is that you have to purchase it. I downloaded the 15-day free trial, which allowed me to test it out. I will say that I really enjoyed using it, but I’m not sure it is worth the $69.99 price tag. For more information, visit www.photomirage.io/en/.
— Russell Lahodny, IOM (@RussellLahodny) July 26, 2018
The other option that I have been playing with is an app called Plotaverse.
To the best I can tell, it offers desktop versions for both PC and Mac, but I have been utilizing their app for my iPhone. The app works almost exactly the same as PhotoMirage—you can mask off areas, add anchor points, and set the rest of your image in motion.
My frustration with the app on my phone is that I had to zoom in to do the things I needed to do. While zoomed in, I kept accidentally adding anchor points to the image instead of moving around the image. Once I learned that using two fingers on the screen allowed me to move the image, things got better. Also, some of the menu items like the “Select” tool on the bottom of the screen that allow you to erase things you have done are not visible on the main screen if you hold it in portrait orientation.
The key benefit of this app is you can download it for free and it appears you can use it in a basic mode without subscribing. If you do decide to subscribe, the fee is $4.99 per month, up to $35.99 for a pre-paid yearly membership.
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Russell Lahodny is vice president of W.A.C.E. and vice president of local chamber relations at the California Chamber.