Animate (Old) Still Images

Paris Plotagraph

Paris and the Seine

As a Social Media Manager I’m always on the lookout for new tools and software to create surprising graphics or videos that would get my followers hooked while scrolling through their social news feeds.

A relatively new tool I came across last week is Plotagraph, a software that can animate any single JPG and export the result as GIF or MP4. Naturally, I first signed up for the free membership to give it a try, which limits my tool set immensely (no brush, no feathering). Still, the results I can achieve just by setting a few animation and stabilizer points are rather convincing of the power of the tool.

Additionally, Plotagraph is very easy to use. I just had a look at a few edited stills in the software’s tutorial section and understood immediately how to use animation points. No need to watch complex videos or read endless tutorials before I was able to “breathe new life” into some of my old favorites.

Click on the photos below to see what kind of subtle movements you can create with this software.

Plotagraph is available for iPhone and iPad, as well as Mac, Windows and Linux. Waiting for Android!

The software developers also provide Plotagraph fans with a new social platform, which helps photographers exhibit and share their animation work. Now you might think that sharing on any other existing social network might do the trick — and it will — but Plotagraph’s developers were clever by gamifying their tool. The more followers a Plotagraph user gains, the more features they can unlock inside the program…

Did you try Plotagraph yet? Do you use the basic or paid version? Please share your image examples with me. I’m looking forward to getting inspired! :)

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RollWorld: Spin It, Warp It, Scroll It, Zoom It — Create Tiny Planets And Abstract Art On Your Mobile Device

It seems like ages ago when I read some first tutorials on how to create “tiny planets” thanks to advanced photo editing tools, good graphic skills and a lot of patience. I tried once. It took hours. Now I have RollWorld!

The App for iPhone and iPad is so much simpler; it’s intuitive, offers different distortion settings, comes for free and allows you to create your own mini world in under a minute (ok, under 5 minutes if you play with all your options). Let me give you some examples before listing a few tips:

Tiny world of Paris edited in Rollworld

Planet building in RollWorld (Paris)

Tiny world of Auckland edited in Rollworld

Tunnel building in RollWorld (Auckland)

Tiny world of Maisons-Laffitte edited in Rollworld

In between planet and tunnel building in RollWorld (Maisons-Laffitte)

RollWorld tips:

  • the App works on both photos and videos (videos require a one time in-App purchase)
  • even if you start with 1 photo only, the App can make a video of your morph (tap the + icon at the bottom of your image)
  • loading an image will bring you by default a tiny planet — play with all sliders to spin, warp, scroll, spiral and zoom your creation to your liking
  • play with the spiraling effect to create abstract art (droste effect)
  • for better results, straighten your horizon in Snapseed before opening the image in RollWorld
  • apparently, the iPad version offers more settings than the iPhone version (to be confirmed)
  • you can reverse your last edit by tapping the bottom left arrow
  • you can save your creation to your camera roll or directly publish to a big choice of social networks by tapping the top right arrow
  • you can change the default saving settings from 1024x1024px to 4000x4000px

My final example is a sunset photo which I processed 3 times with the RollWorld sprialing effect. Admittedly, this doesn’t even come close to a tiny planet, but colourful creative compositions are maybe just what you were after!

rollworld art

Spiraling effect in Rollworld:
Top left: source image
Top right: 1st processing result
Bottom left: 2nd processing result
Bottom right: 3rd processing result

I truly enjoyed playing around with RollWorld. Give it a spin yourself and let me see your creations. You got nothing to lose with this free App!

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Snapseed 2.0: Does Google Plan To Pit The App Against Instagram?

I have been using Snapseed, Google’s free mobile photo editing App, exclusively over the past months before sharing my photos on Instagram. So when I read this morning that my favorite App has been completely revamped, I wasn’t even aware that it was a “much-needed overhaul”. Admittedly, it lacked some professional “Photoshop features”, but guess what, some of us like when things are kept simple (though not as simple as the Instagram editing tools).

Of course I still tapped the update button in my App Store. Curiosity 1, Anja 0. To my relief, not THAT many things had changed. Sure, the interface looks completely different; I’m not certain though if the term “modern” really nails it. I noticed that I need one more tap than before to get to my wanted settings and filters. Oh well… But behind the new packaging, not everything had changed radically.

Added features:

  • A slider for highlights in the “Tune Image” section (neat addition to the shadow slider)
  • A feature to transform the image perspective (horizontally and vertically)
  • A brush to add a different exposure, saturation, color temperature or dodge & burn effect to specific parts of the photo
  • A spot repair feature, which sadly neither offers to choose the exact pixels you want to repair, nor the pixels you want to interpolate
  • A few new filter sets (Noir, Glamour Glow and Tonal Contrast)
  • An image stack feature to re-edit the same image lateron
  • A copy feature, allowing you to copy edits from one image to another

Deleted features:

  • The Grunge filter set (not that I am going to miss them)
  • All style presets under “Vignette”, which is truly a shame as they often helped me to see at a glance how much outer and inner brightness I was looking for

I am glad that not more features have been erased, and the new ones have been added in a way that won’t disturb my current workflow, which gives me time to actually go through all new features in the coming days to test them more on various photos.

On a first side note though, the new transform and brush tools look pretty neat and could soon become part of my image editing routine. Here is a first before and after comparison, after playing with “Transform” and “Brush” for around 10 minutes.

Louvre Paris GoPro

Original GoPro photo without any edit. This one looks a bit dull and could need some straight lines.

Louvre Paris with Snapseed

Edited with Snapseed 2.0: The new “Transform” tool interpolated pixels from the Louvre building and the fountain in the foreground (that’s a terrific job!). No need to crop, and the photo looks even more fish-eye than the GoPro original, which I personally love. I changed the saturation and color temperature of single image parts with the new “Brush” tool to make them look more like taken during sunset (which actually was the case).

I certainly think today’s changes put Google a big step ahead of Instagram (with regards to photo editing), and I am glad to see that the App stayed free, without paid “pro options”.

Are you a Snapseed fan too? What are your thoughts?
Which other mobile editing App appears on your primary smartphone or tablet screen?

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Do Photo Filters Have An Impact On You?

sunset-rarotonga

Original

I recently came across the article “Top 5 Instagram Filters”. It wasn’t the first text I read about the impact of Instagram filters on the amount of photo likes and comments. But I admit I hadn’t paid attention to that so far simply because I don’t make use of Instagram filters or any editing software promising you the ultimate grunge or vintage look.*

However, the article got me thinking. The next time I visited Instagram I noticed I tend to swipe past images which seem to look completely over edited. Can there be too much HDR? I think so!

How about you? Would you say that photo filters have an impact on you? Do you prefer more or less drama, bleached or glowy look? Does a certain style cause you to like or comment on a photo for sure? Are you a #NoFilter ambassador? Or do you consider the image theme or caption as most important motivator to engage with the photographer?

It clearly boils down to personal taste I guess. As someone being on Instagram on a daily basis I would refrain from saying there is a best or worst filter. It’s interesting though how Social Media Analysts seem to spot a pattern.

Here are a few edits to keep you thinking. Any favorites?

edit02-colder-vibrance

Temperature filter

edit02-grunge

Grunge filter

edit02-warmer-vibrance-glow

Vibrant glow filter

fisherman-rarotonga

Original

filter02-cooler-vibrant-vignette

Temperature filter

filter05-glow-vignette

Glow filter

filter09-vintage-vignette

Vintage filter

*Don’t get me wrong; I do edit most of my photos. I might adjust the brightness, contrast, or saturation. I just don’t apply a pre-fabricated set of filters. 

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Update: People kindly answered also on Facebook and Google+. My Facebook profile isn’t public, however, I was told there “the more drama, the more likely I’ll like a photo”. And here you can have a look at what’s been said on my Google+ profile as well. Many thanks to everyone who joined the discussion! 

https://plus.google.com/104153902127852608256/posts/MJ8EKkS3TxZ