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How to Make Living Still Images With Looping Photo Animator for After Effects

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You have probably noticed some cool animated photos on Instagram and Twitter lately. Photos with minimal animated movement are usually called cinemagraphs, generally. Photos with more dramatic morphing-like movement are often referred to as plotagraphs or photomorphs. In this tutorial you will learn how to make a plotagraph in Adobe After Effects using the Living Stills Looping Photo Animator template from Envato Market.

What You Need

The Living Stills template template isn’t free, but at $29 it is a cost-effective to Plotagraph Pro—subscription-based, at the time of publication around $300 a year.

How to Make a Plotagaph in After Effects

Creating nice animations with this template takes some practice. The right type of photograph also helps. I find that it works best on water, clouds, smoke, and fire. But particularly water and clouds.

Top Tips for Getting the Best Results

  • Don't apply a mask to your image. Instead, let the control points act as a mask on your image.
  • Use plenty of control points. To duplicate a control points, select one, then push Control-D (-D).
  • Really exaggerate the movement with the control points. I found that I got the best results when I moved the points quite far. Not moving them far enough will make the animation too minimal to see.
  • Use an animation length between 100 to 200 frames.
  • Don't be afraid to experiment with your photos. Most of the animations I did took around 2-3 attempts each, before I settled on the right look.
  • Once you are done, upload your video to Youtube, then use the video link on Imgur: Video to GIF.

Mentioned in This Tutorial

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