ICM 504: Module 2 Project - Cinemagraphs

ICM 504: Module 2 Project - Cinemagraphs

The Project

After doing some reading and researching on the subjects of animated storytelling and animated Cinemagraphs, we were tasked with creating three Cinemagraphs of our own:

  1. One of them should be made with Photoshop.
  2. One of them should be made with After Effects.
  3. The third one can be using your choice of program and technique.

The Animations

#1 - Storm's Coming

Using Adobe Photoshop CC, I created a Cinemagraph of a thunder storm. I searched CreativeCommons.org for the phrase "lightning video", and chose Temponaut Timelapse's "Free Footage: Short Lapse Lightning - HD Footage Clip - Gewitter - Free Video". Following Professor Golden's tutorial video, I created a still image layer, masked out the buildings, then proceeded to trim and clean up the Cinemagraph time lapse. I also added duplicate video layer above the original layer, and adjusted the opacity to go from 0% - 100% towards the end of the first video's time range (in order to create for a cleaner, smoother transition and loop).

ICM 504: Module 2 - Macbook Pro Booting Animated GIF

† Free Footage: Short Lapse Lightning - HD Footage Clip - Gewitter - Free Video credit to Temponaut Timelapse.

#2 - Cry Me a Waterfall

Using Adobe After Effects, I created a Cinemagraph loosely based off of this photo manipulation (I love slimesunday's art). I searched CreativeCommons.org for the phrase "waterfall video", and chose Pigment Ajan's "Green Screen Waterfall". DeviantArt is a site for all kinds of artists, and I usually turn to the stock artists here for references. I searched for "female stock", and came across this image (by Reine-Haru) first. I then saw the "Princess Stock 2" photo (which is the one I used) under "More from Reine-Haru", and ended up downloading both. However, I ultimately decided to use the Princess Stock—I'm not exactly sure why, but I'm just more drawn to that one.
For the process, I ended up making a separate copy of just the eye (with a slight shadow underneath to be cast on the waterfall—which is why I created a separate layer instead of using a mask) and placed the stock image on the bottom, the waterfall in position on the middle layer, and the eye copy on top. After Effects has a green-screen lighting feature under Effect > Keying > Keylight (thank you Chron for this quick tutorial on how to use green screens in After Effects!), which made the process of creating this Cinemagraph much easier. There was a lot of of tweaking opacities and easing out in order to make the waterfall loop seamlessly in the middle, but I have to ultimately thank MotionRevolver for this tutorial, as it provided the most guidance.

ICM 504: Module 2 - Cry Me a Waterfall Cinemagraph

† Princess Stock 2 credit to © Reine-Haru.
† Green Screen Waterfall credit to Pigment Ajans - Visual Effects.

#3 - Idle Hands

For this Cinemagraph, I recorded myself typing at my iMac desktop with my Nikon D3100 DSLR camera. The concept behind this was that I wanted to record myself at my computer, but I chose to portray an "idle" frame as opposed to capturing my hands typing or the mouse moving. There is an old saying that "idle hands do the devil's work", which translates roughly to "people with nothing to do are more likely to get into trouble or commit a crime". I had a more tame portrayal in mind, since idle hands sitting on a keyboard can tend to indicate one is wasting time or daydreaming. X Ambassadors' The Devil You Know is one of my favorite songs, and I decided to incorporate into the composition to further emphasize the "devil's control over my hands and my computer". I also chose the fonts that I did to express varying levels of "sinister intention". (I used three lines to not over-complicate the Cinemagraph and to not clutter one portion of the screen in comparison to the others).
The most common form of indicating "computer possession" is either a phantom moving of the mouse on the screen or having text appear mysteriously. For this possession, I decided to use a double-whammy of having the ghost-devil type in two different applications (Notepad and Microsoft Word), on different lines, all at the same time. There was a lot of cutting of video footage, overlapping it, and utilizing layer masks to get everything to play out all at once. I also slowed down some of the individual text lines since I typed at different speeds. However, I enjoyed that not every line was written at the exact same speed or in the exact same manner, as it adds character and personality to the ghost-devil—and may hint that there may be more than one possessing the computer...

ICM 504: Module 2 - Idle Hands

Have any pesky ghosts that need to be exorcised? Be sure to call your friendly, local bio exorcist, BETELGEUSE, BETELGEUSE, BETELGEU—*hack*

Related Reading: