Photography

How to WOW Your Friends by Animating Your Vacation Photos

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Wouldn’t it be cool if we could make our vacation pictures come to life?  Well, the great news is that you can with the help of the Plotagraph app.  This is quickly becoming one of our favorite photo apps because it allows you to take a good picture and make it really fantastic by adding some animation to the image.

To demonstrate how Plotagraph works, let’s start with a simple image I took while at the White Sands National Monument last year.  The picture has a pretty sky, and the lighting is great, but other than that the photo is just your ordinary vacation photo.

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With the Plotagraph app, we can really spice this photo up and really WOW our family and friends.  In this example, I am going to animate that pretty sky.  The clouds in the sky will move, but the rest of the image will remain stationary.

Step 1:  Import the Picture

To begin, just open the Plotagraph app on your phone, and import the image you would like to enhance, as I have shown below.

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Press the “+” icon to import an image.

Step 2:  Add Animation

Once you have imported your image, you can then begin to add motion to your image.  On the bottom toolbar, select the “animate” icon to begin adding animation.  With that selected, take your finger and swipe in one direction to add animation lines (as I have done in the image below).  These animation arrows will indicate the direction and the length of movement in your image, once animated.

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Press the “animate” icon to start adding animation.  Swipe your finger to add the animation arrows in that direction.

Step 3:  Stop Animation of Stationary Areas

Even though we have our animation arrows added, we still aren’t quite done.  If we were to play our animation at this time, we would see the entire image move with the animation.  That would be a mess, so we don’t want that.  The next step is to make sure that only the parts of our picture we want to move actually move.  There are a few ways in which we can do this.

The first way to prevent sections of our image from moving is to cover those sections with a movement mask.  This will prevent any section covered by the mask from moving, while allowing the parts of our image we want to move (the sky in our example) to animate.

To add a mask to the sections of your image you don’t want to move, simply select the “mask” icon on the bottom toolbar.  This will display the movement mask paint brush.  You can adjust the size of the paint brush using the slider on the left-hand side of the screen.  Simply paint over the sections of your photo that you don’t want to move, while leaving the sections of your photo that you want animated untouched.  In our example, we painted everything except for the sky.

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You can add a movement mask to the sections of your image you don’t want to move by selecting the “mask” icon.

If you accidentally cover parts of your picture that you do want to animate with a movement mask, you can go back and remove the mask from those areas by using the eraser tool.  To use the eraser tool, simply select the “eraser” icon from the bottom toolbar.  Once selected, simply brush the areas you would like to remove the mask from with the eraser (as shown below).  As with the mask tool, you can use the slider on the left to adjust the size of the eraser.

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You can remove the movement mask from areas of your image by using the “eraser” tool.

Another way that you can prevent movement of certain sections of your photo is to add anchors to those parts of the photo.  These anchors will anchor the sections of your photo that you want to remain still in place.  To add anchors to your photo, select the “anchor” icon on the bottom toolbar.  With that selected, simply place your finger on the image in the areas you would like to anchor in place (as I have shown below).  If you are going to use the anchor tool, make sure you have your anchors in the right places.

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Another way to prevent the movement of certain sections of your photo is to anchor them in place using the “anchor” tool.

Step 4:  Test the Animation and Adjust

Now that you have added the animation to your image, and you have stopped the movement of the areas you would like to remain stationary, the next step is to test your animation.  To test the animation, simply press the play button on the bottom toolbar, as shown below.

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The “play” button can be used to test your animation.

After testing your animation, you can go back and make any adjustments that are necessary.  If you would like to remove some of your animation arrows, or change their directions, you can do this with the select tool.  Simply choose the “select” tool from the bottom toolbar and then use it to adjust the animation arrows.  If you wish to delete an animation arrow, you can press the “delete” button that appears on the left-hand side of the screen with an animation arrow selected.

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The “select” tool can be used to change the direction of animation arrows, or even to delete them.

You can also use the crop tool, which is accessible by choosing the “crop” icon on the bottom toolbar, to adjust the width and height of your overall image.  If you would like to focus on just a certain portion of your image, you can crop out any unwanted areas using this tool.

Step 5:  Set the Animation Speed

Now that you have your animation all set, the next step is to set the speed of the animation.  For instance, in our example we have to decide if we want the clouds to be moving really fast, or really slow.  To set the animation speed, select the “speed” icon on the bottom toolbar.  Once selected, use the slider to set the frames per second of your animation.  The higher the value, the faster the animation will be.

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The “speed” tool can be used to set the speed of your animation.

Step 6:  Share Your Animation

The last step is to share your new, fully animated, images with your family and friends.  Plotagraph makes it very easy to share your animations to a variety of different places.  Choose between message, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and more.

To share your animations, choose the “share” icon on the bottom toolbar.  This will bring up a new screen that will ask you to choose how you would like to share your animation.  Once you have selected the option you want, press “Save to Camera Roll” to save your image.  You can then go into Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or your phone’s messenger app to share your new animation.  It’s that easy!

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Plotagraph allows you to share your animations a variety of different ways.

The Final Product

Now that you have learned how to animate your vacation photos using Plotagraph, let’s take a look at how our example turned out.  You can view the animation that we made to the clouds in my image below.  Pretty cool, ha?

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