I’m slowly learning to add motion to Camellia’s adventures through cinemagraphs, so I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.
Basically, a cinemagraph is a fancy animated GIF. You create a stack of photos where just one element changes, and then merge them together into an animated GIF. Here’s what a real one looks like (not mine! :))
The best way to create one is take take both photos and HD videos of something that actually moves, make each photo a layer in Photoshop, and then save them as an animated GIF. Here’s a good explanation of the process:
I’m brand new to photoshop, so I didn’t create a mask. I just duplicated the entire photo for each layer. Next time, I’ll try it with a mask.
The big issues in using this method for doll photography is that nothing in the doll environment moves on it’s own. For my two cinemagraphs, I used a public stock video and either pasted still elements into it (like Camellia’s feet in the waves)
Or pasted a video element into a still picture (like the moving palm fronds while Camellia is sleeping)
In theory, I like the second effect better, with two huge caveats. First, the videos you can get for free online are not HD, which means that the element you’re adding in are just tiny. Those little palm fronds in the corner are roughly half of a full screen low density video. Probably, I need to go take my own videos in order to capture them in HD, I just haven’t had much opportunity to get to the beach or be around palm fronds recently 🙂
The second issue is that, even though the process of creating an animation is the same for both methods, the feet in the waves works fine as an image, while the moving palm fronds only works on some sites. I’m not really sure why that is, but I’m hoping that, by the time we get to Camellia’s next adventure, I’ll have that piece figured out.
One note on Camellia’s outfit. I don’t normally photograph dolls in their underwear, but I couldn’t figure out what else she’d be wearing after only a few weeks on the island. I’d toyed at first with having her wash up with no clothes, since that both made sense in the plot and also gave her a poignant sense of vulnerability in the shots with the panther. But, that somehow threw her into a whole odd underworld of naked dolls, which I really did not want her wandering around in. Camellia is *so* not that kind of girl. So, I left her in her underwear until she can find something warmer to put on, which should happen by the next episode when she spots a boat on the horizon.
On Friday, I’ll take you on a tour around Camellia’s little island.
Camellia’s story is adventurous enough that it demanded movement – not of Camellia, who is animated even when still, but of her surroundings. She needs a world where the sea churns, and the trees sway.
My first foray into video was very simplistic. I found some videos online, and I added still images to them. I suspect I’m not going to evolve much past that for awhile, although I may try to capture my own videos or to try to animate a small part of the environment.
One switch I want to make is in the prominence of still over video. Because it was simpler, I add a photo to a video – so that it became all part of a video. What I really want is to add moving elements to photos. That sounds like semantics, but it’s not really. I’m not trying to make a film – I really just want to put together a series of photos to tell a story. So, I’ll have to figure out how to change the prominence so that the photos become the main thing and the movement becomes just a piece of them.
For the tools, I got Cyberlink Power Director, which was simple enough that I could approximate what I wanted without bursting into tears. Actually, it seemed pretty simple to do a fledgling job. I suspect making a polished video is more difficult. The videos came off of video sharing sites – Pexels and Pixabay. The storm at sea came complete with the pounding background music, and then I added the ocean sound to the beach clips.
I didn’t end up finding the video I really wanted for the last piece. I wanted something that continued to pan right so that you slowly saw her feet, knees, and then the raven appear. But, what I found stopped panning at the beach, so I had to make do with more static images.
I had fun doing the video, I hope you enjoyed it too.
As an aside, each of the dolls seems to require a different kind of medium. Daisy is straightforward – she’ll take any mix of real and photoshop (although she favors the real). Lily doesn’t take to photoshop at all – she needs all of the final elements present in the actual shot, and she happily coexists with bits of paper and cut out photos. Camellia requires motion. And, as you’ll see next week, Rosie doesn’t need to be photographed in anything resembling the real world.
Camellia’s adventure calls for video, so I’m going to give it a try. We’ll find out on Monday whether I can do it.
In the meantime, here I am in (on web cam footage) in my garage workshop. You can’t see into the lighted cube, but Camellia is in there, in, out, and under her boat.
That’s my dog, Sydney, getting in on the action.
See you next week!