Adding cinemagraphs to doll pictures

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:

Cinemagraph/Subtle GIF Tutorial

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)

Camellia sleeps

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.

Please see the Credits page for a list of credits of the dolls and other items in these posts.

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