Seán Duggan shares some tips for picking the best still frame for your cinemagraph. Sean explains what is the best video length of video for a cinemagraph.
- [Voiceover] Our first exploration of the cinemagraph landscape is gonna be a pretty easy one to do that's not gonna take too much time or effort. That's actually the beauty of some of these, they're not too hard to do. Now, before I get into that let me actually just point out a couple of things about the workspace and my Layers panel here. So I am using the Motion workspace, which you can find by going to the Window menu. Down under Workspace you'll see a choice for Motion. The reason I'm using the Motion workspace is that it gives me access to the all-important Timeline panel, which you can see at the bottom of the screen here underneath my video that's open in Photoshop.
So the Timeline panel let's you control video elements as they appear over time throughout the duration of your video project. We'll be working with this quite a lot in this course. If you're new to working with video in Photoshop you can check out my course on Creative Video Compositing in Photoshop. That's gonna cover a lot of the same ground, but it does provide a nice overview of the basics of working with video in Photoshop.
And of course there are many other courses available that you could look up as well. Over in my Layers panel here you'll see that I have a Video Group 1, and inside that is the actual video layer here. And we can tell it's a video layer 'cause it has this little film strip badge on it. Whenever you open a video file into Photoshop it will place it into a Video Group as you see here in the Layers panel. Video groups are very useful when you are arranging clips sequentially, so that is one clip after another, after another, etcetera.
But for the type of project that we're working on here, a cinemagraph, which is really, has more to do with video compositing than it does with kind of traditional video editing, a Video Group is not really that useful. So I'm actually gonna take my Layer here outside of this Video Group by just dragging it up on top of there and moving it out of the group. And then I'll just drag that empty group down to the trashcan since we don't need that. While I'm here I'm gonna double-click on the name for the video layer and I'll just rename it.
And I'll call that VIDEO. The first thing that I wanna do is apply a crop to the video here because I find the highlight here in the bright sky at the very top of the image to be just a little bit distracting. It just kind of draws my eye. So one thing to keep in mind when you're out photographing or when you're composing the scene for a video is to always watch your edges. Watch what's going along on the edges of the frame, 'cause sometimes there may be visual distractions there that are gonna draw the viewers eye away from the main subject.
So in this case, that bright highlight up there is drawing my eye away from the main subject so I wanna get rid of that. I do wanna apply this crop nondestructively, however, in case I change my mind. To apply it nondestructively I need to turn this VIDEO layer into a smart object. I'm going to right-click on the Layer here in the panel and choose Convert to Smart Object. Now I'll get the crop tool. To preserve the original aspect ratio I'll come up here to the options bar for the crop tool and I'll just choose Original Ratio.
And I'll just drag in a little bit on the corners to crop out that really bright highlight there on the sky, click the check mark to apply the crop. Next I need to create a still frame so I can use that in conjunction with the video to create the basic cinemagraph effect. Now, in many videos you might have to scrub through here using the play head to find the perfect frame that you wanna use for the still image.
In this video everything is essentially still except for the river, so it doesn't really matter where we choose the still frame from. So anywhere will do. I'm gonna choose command + A on a Mac or control + A on Windows to select the entire canvas, and then I'm gonna use the shortcut of command + J on a Mac or control + J on Windows to float up a copy of that selected area. You can see it here in the Layers panel. I'll just call that STILL IMAGE. Next I need to decide what part of the video I'm gonna use for the cinemagraph.
Now again, with many videos you might need to choose a very specific range. For this video, it probably doesn't matter because the river is pretty much the same in the entire length of the video, with minor differences here and there of course. But anywhere along here was gonna do. I'm just gonna put the cursor at the two second mark. I do have the visibility turned off of the still image so I can see what's going on there. Let me just move my Timeline panel up a bit. I'm going to drag on the front of the VIDEO layer in the Timeline panel to nudge it up there and then move it over to the side.
And let's move my playhead down here to about three seconds. This is gonna give me roughly about three seconds of video to create the infinite loop effect. Alright, that looks good. I'm gonna grab the end of the video in the Timeline panel and nudge it up to the playhead. And by the way, if you ever get to a point when you're working with video where you see the transparency here it just means that you have modified a layer to where it no longer underneath the playhead.
So right now the playhead is on nothing. I moved it back a little bit here. You can see that we can see stuff there. That can be confusing a lot of times if you're just starting to work with video in Photoshop. Now let's nudge up the STILL IMAGE layer so that way they're both aligned. The next step is gonna be to create the layer mask that will allow us to combine the still image with the motion of the river underneath.
- What is a cinemagraph?
- Shooting video for a cinemagraph
- Choosing video length
- Looping video
- Organizing layers
- Using a layer mask to reveal motion
- Creating multiple motion effects in one image
- Fine-tuning video clips
- Exporting cinemagraphs as animated GIFs or video clips