Vienna Photo Walk by Trey Ratcliff

Yesterday, as I mentioned before, I joined the Vienna Photo Walk by Trey Ratcliff, in Viena of course :). It was quite fun and interesting evening, and I had the opportunity to meet some great people (and have a look at a lot of photography gear :)).

For those who would still like to join a photowalk like this, there are still two more in the next month, and you can find the info about them here: 80stays.treyratcliff.com

A lot of random photos :)

And here is a big bunch of photos I took yesterday. As you may clearly see, this are not photos of Vienna, but are of the photo walk and the people in the photo-walk. As I can go to Vienna anytime (it’s really close for me), i decided not to focus on the city at all. There are also a lot of photos of Trey, but that a given as he was the center of the photo walk :)

I have been sharing a lot of plotagraphs recently (not only here, but mostly on my Instagram account) and some long time ago I shared also cinemagraphs here. Since the results are quite similar, I would try to explain what the difference between these two approaches to animated photographs are. Let’s first look at plotagraphs.

Plotagraph

With a plotagraph, you start with a single photo. You take this photo, and by moving parts of it, you create an animation. This can be done in Photoshop, using actions, in video editing programs such as Adobe Premier and similar. But probably the simplest way is to use Plotagraphy Pro service. Like this you will end up with a clip, or a gif. There just the areas you animated will move, with all others being static.

The beauty here is, that at anytime you can go back to your older photos and just add movement to them. This can be done to any photo, even the ones you did not plan to animate at the time of taking them. Like this, if you have already an archive of photos, you can create new animated variations at will.

Cinemagraph

With a cinemagraph, you start with a video. On this video, you choose which areas are moving, and what is a static image. This can be done in Photoshop, or one of the many available applications (it’s more popular in mobile apps). So in the end, you will have the clip repeating in a part of the image, with all the rest just being from a single frame.

This is one of my older cinemagraphs. (sorry for the lower resolution, I just could not find the original file :/)

Cinemagraphs are harder to do, as you can’t just go back to your old photos and decide to animate them in this way. You already need a video, that was taken very stable (preferably from a tripod) and that has a nice loopable movement in it.

Even if the results are similar, the way they are done is quite different. They work better for different situations, and the results will also wary a lot.

About this site

Here and there I get questions what I used to make this blog, and what plug-ins I use, so here is a list for those curious :)

And thats almost all I use, there are few smaller one time things here and there, but nothing of much interest :)

Danube at the Apollo bridge

I prefer a more subtle animation in my plotagraphs. Not everything has to move. So also for this shot, I only animated the water, giving a bit of scattering to the reflection. And for those unfamiliar, this is the Apollo bridge in Bratislava, during a very nice soft sunset.

(if you are on a mobile or use and old web browser, you may only see a static image)

Plotagraph category

You may have noticed that there is a plotagraph category shown over all the posts that include a plotagraph. And if you want to see all of them, scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you can find a Photos by location dropdown menu.

Just choose it and select Plotagraph under Articles.

Enjoying the Dubai fountain

dubai fountain plotagraph pro screenshotPlotagraphs look great with clouds, but one can animate much more with it. On this photo, of the Dubai fountain in Dubai, I animated the fountain and the surrounding water. It’s subtle, but it does make the photo stand out a bit. Don’t you think?

And for those curious, I’m including a screenshot of the final edit in Plotagraph pro, so you can see all the animation points I needed to add to the photo, to get it from static to this animation.

(if you are on a mobile or use an older web browser, you may only see a static image)

I posted many posts recently edited with the Plotagraph Pro, and today I wills share with you my thoughts on it, and if it’s something you may consider purchasing.

Plotagraph Pro

Plotagraph ProSo what is Plotagraph Pro? It’s software, that allows you to animate your images, adding repeating movement into them. It’s more of a service, than software, as it completely works online. Plotagraph Pro can be accessed through your browser, or dedicated program (that also just shows the browser version), and while all editing is done locally, all calculations for the results are done on the companies servers. So everything you do is stored there. You first upload the photos, and then download the results as gifs or video files.

More information and examples on their official site here www.plotagraphpro.com

Ease of use & interface

Plotagraph ProPlotagraph Pro is focused whole on a single result, so the interface is quite simple. On the left side you have all the tools you need to start animating (and in a logical order) on the other side you have finishing touches, like brightness/contrast, crop, watermark and similar. Most of the editing is just switching between the brush and animation points anyway.

Plotagraph ProAll tools have their shortcuts, but to tell the truth, I can’t get over that Space is not pan, but it starts the animation. It’s just so learned from Photoshop, that I keep on triggering it each time I want to pan (and I can’t find the pan shortcut, just the switch to the hand tool :/)

One can get started really quickly. There is a tutorial video on first start (or from the menu) and that explains all the basics. Or you can check out my guide here. There is a bit of a learning curve between the first animation and the first good looking animation, but with a bit of experimenting it’s not so hard getting there.

Speed

Plotagraph ProIn editing process, the software reacts quickly, just the masks take a few seconds to redraw. As I mentioned, the rendering is done on the server. So when you hit play, it takes mostly around 10-20 seconds for the preview to start (at the highest quality). It is faster if you lower the preview quality of course.

When you want to export a result, it goes into a separate rendering list. Here it can take quite longer for your result to be ready. Depends a lot what format you want, how long the duration is and whats the resolution. Still, most of my exports were ready within few minutes.

Results

Here are few results I got from using Plotagraph Pro. It works wonderfully on clouds and water, or any similar organically occurring structures.

(if you are on mobile or use an older browser, you may only see static photos here)

Pricing

Plotagraph ProThis is the biggest gripe everyone has with Plotagraph Pro, because as it’s a service, you can’t just buy it outright. When they first offered it, they only had a full year price (297 USD), and that discouraged even me from giving it a try. But after few months they introduced also quarterly (79 USD) and later also a monthly pricing (29 USD), so now it’s much easier and cheaper to just pay for a month, to try it out.

Is this for you?

That’s a hard question to answer. It can create some were beautiful results with little work. The repeating videos look great shared, like I do here, or for instance on Instagram. On the other hand, it’s not really cheap, and you have to keep the subscription if you want to continue to use it.

But I would suggest giving it a try. The monthly subscription is affordable enough to try it out, to see if you find use for it.

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