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How to Create Cinemagraphs in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro X

Danny Greer

GIFs have been given new life with the popularity of the cinemagraph. Here are two quick ways to create cinemagraphs, either in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro X.

Don’t get left behind. Cinemagraphs are a hot new visual tool and they’re perfect for catching the attention of your target audience. Here’s everything you need to know to create a cinemagraph in Final Cut Pro X and Photoshop.

What Is a Cinemagraph?

Wikipedia defines a cinemagraph as a “still photograph in which a minor and repeated movement occurs.”

Cinemagraphs are essentially GIFs that are frozen, but with one area of the image showcasing movement. These “moving photographs” make images dynamic and add visual interest and a creative touch.

Take a look at this example from Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg, the NYC-based visual artists who helped popularize this photographic technique.
How to Create Cinemagraphs in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro X: Cinemagraph Example
Image from Cinemagraphs.com.

How to Make a Cinemagraph

So at this point you’re surely wondering — how do I create my own cinemagraph?

Cinemagraphs are created from a short snippet of video or a series of consecutive still images. By masking the part of the image you want frozen, you can reveal the area in the image where you’d like the motion to occur.

You can create a cinemagraph using the Animation tools in Photoshop. This blog post by Spoon Graphics walks you through the steps of creating a cinemagraph effect in PS.

If you’re more comfortable in a video editing application, the following video tutorial by Peter Wiggins from FCP.co will show you how to create a cinemagraph in Final Cut Pro and Motion.

If you’d like to learn more about working in FCPX, spend a few minutes exploring the Final Cut Pro X section of the PremiumBeat blog. We’ve compiled plenty of tips, tricks, and techniques with your workflow in mind.

Have any of your own cinemagraphs that you’d like to share? Do so in the comments below!