Misc. Resources

Specified Mini-Lesson

GIMP#19 Hold Still, Kate!: Turn an animated GIF into a Cinemgraph (Gimp 2.8)

Cinemagraphs are very popular these days. Still photographs with just a tiny bit of movement may show a lovely young woman with her hair or dress blowing gently in the breeze, or a still in a bar where just the bourbon pours into the glass. There are various techniques to make these, most of which depend on a fixed camera and a simple image, but with a little work, we can take many animated GIFs and make cinemagraphs. Stay tuned for more mini-lessons on how to make these eye-catching images. In the meantime, open your mind to the possibilities of freezing part of an image and letting another part move. Staying with the royal theme for a moment, the following two cinemagraphs come from the same animated GIF, but give very different impressions of what is happening. I made these using the same techniques as in this mini-lesson, although the camera was fixed so that made it easier.

Pro-Tips to take away:
  • If the camera moves, you need to find a fixed point close to the moving part of the cinemagraph and move any layers so that the fixed point is in the same place. Vertical and horizontal guides help.
  • It is far easier when the part of the image you want to move does not overlap moving parts of the image you want to freeze. There are techniques for that, but they are much harder.
  • Selectively turn on and off the layers to be sure you have the right portion of the image selected.
  • Use Filter - Animation - Playback to see how the revised image works.
  • If you have to move layers, you will need to crop (or allow Gimp to crop) the parts that have moved out of frame.

Rough transcript (also used for closed captions):
Hello, this is Ben Langhinrichs of Genii Software with a mini-lesson on making cinemagraphs with Gimp 2.8. In this picture, we have Kate Middleton and you can see that it jiggle some because of the way the camera was held. What we're going to do is make most of it freeze solid.

In order to do that, we're going to make sure that all the images, all the different layers are positioned at the same height so that when we carve out parts of the image, they work together. We're going to use the vertical guide and the horizontal guide and find something in the picture that we can find in every one of the images. In this case, I'm going to do the tip of her nose. Then, I can turn on each one of the subsequent layers and, and then I'm going to move the layer until the nose is positioned just in the same place.

It may not look like I'm moving it a lot, but even a little bit shows up in a cinemagraph. Once I get all of these made, and all are positioned properly, then what I'm going to do is select the area which I want to move. In this case, I just want her blinking and I don't want anything else moving in the image. I'm going to basically look at her eyes and put a selection around them. Then I'm going to change the selection to Add mode so that as I go to each layer and I see that any part goes over the line, I'm going to add that part.

When I'm done I'm going to invert it (invert the selection) and then go to everything except the background layer and I just Edit - Clear (delete). I delete each one of those. So what I've done there is use the background layer as the only one that's going to show except for her eyes. Now when you play it, all that's going to happen is that she's going to blink. That's the basic technique.

When I save this, I've moved those layers so I may have to crop the layers. I could have done it myself earlier. Make sure to save it as an animated GIF, which it was originally.

Now, so that's the original, and if we open it up we can see that the cinemagraph version with her eyes moving looks the same except only her eyes move. So, that's how you can make a cinemagraph in Gimp 2.8. Thank you.

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