Twitter might have jumped on the .gif bandwagon a little late, the social-network only recently updated itself to included the animated-images earlier this week, but sharing the animated photos has been a popular trend for the past few years. With that in mind we wanted to expand into Cinemagraphs, the artistic younger-sibling of .gifs that are a little more difficult to create at times, though often much more creative.
Cinemagraphs all share one unique trait, they are always what appears to be a standard image, but hidden away somewhere on the photo something is moving. Sometimes this movement is obvious, but more often than not it’s a subtle motion that surprises the viewer once its recognized. Truly wonderful cinemagraphs have been created over the years, some hilarious, others calming and beautiful, but most took some intricate software to create, and it was not easily done on mobile devices.
With .gif sharing at an all-time high, we hit the market and tested out a few dozen Cinemagraph creators available on the internet and on different app stores. Flixel’s family of apps were universally enjoyed by all of the editors involved in the testing. We started with mobile apps, as they tend to be the most popular, in this case that is the Cinemagraph+ app.
The UI couldn’t be simpler, take a video and “draw” a mask over the section of an image that you would like to keep in motion, anything outside of the mask will remain still. You can adjust start and stop times, add looping effects and other details straight from the mobile app as well.
Looking outside of standard social-media, Flixel lets you create a profile and share with other creative-types that have downloaded the app and have also uploaded their own images. Of course the main draw is the ability to upload straight to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr but it’s a great place to get inspiration, see terrific images and store your creations.
Using the app there is one key component to all of your shots, steadiness. The slightest wobble of the camera will show when you mask over objects, so if you are hoping to create stunning works of art, you’ll need a tripod or to have the camera on a flat-motionless surface while shooting. You can choose from 30 built-in filters to add to your image, and you can even export everything as an MPG file if you like.
When it comes to mobile-creation and editing, nothing was easier than Cinemagraph+, it is the best option on the market and a perfect step in creating your work on the go.
If you are looking for something a little bit more robust, possibly for a website or to use commercially, than Cinemagraph Pro for Mac is the way to go.
This is absolutely for professional use, as indicated by the price. At $99 (currently) the app isn’t cheap, but the results speak for themselves. It is also one of the few digital-services that you can just pick-up and get to work-on right away, without needing a short-course on graphic-design (though that would help).

High-bit rates, 4K-ready, a stunning and simple UI all make Cinemagraph+ Pro the premiere utility for creating Cinemagraphs. Dozens of tools and filters await you in the app, and you can accurately and precisely mask even the tiniest of details. As I said before the app is engineered for professional use, but it’s so simple to operate, that anyone wishing to start creating the images should be able to jump right in.
In 2014 the app was the winner of the Apple Design Award, one of the highest achievements any developer that’s working on iOS or OS X can achieve. “Winning the ADA is another major milestone for our company,” says Flixel’s co-founder and CEO Philippe LeBlanc. “The continued success of Cinemagraph Pro further supports our vision of a future where living photography will be present everywhere.” Flixel gained a strong following after Tyra Banks utilized Flixel’s technology on America’s Next Top Model.
Cinemagraph Pro includes support for HD (1080) and UHD (4K) resolution video output, simple masking tools, image adjustments, seamless looping options and other intuitive features and controls. Creators can upload and share their living photos in high resolution to Flixel’s community as well as to a variety of social networks. Flixel also offers its audience the ability to embed living photos onto websites which is perfect option to make a portfolio standout online.
The market is still fairly new, but Flixel has easily become one of the crowning achievements in the medium, and should be your baseline when shopping around.
more info: itunes/cinemagraph+, itunes/cinemagraphpro