We’re a little bit obsessed with cinemagraphs, as Katy mentioned in her 2018 trend forecast. They’re the “It” girl of advertising imagery right now because they cut through the constant barrage of marketing messages in a quaint, old-fashioned and incredibly powerful way: They require a viewer to pause and focus their attention on a single image.
(Image Credit: cinemagraph.com)
If you haven’t seen a cinemagraph yet, it’s a gif that’s made to look like a beautifully composed photograph, with one or—at most—a couple of subtly moving elements. The combination of perfectly still and moving parts can create an eerie or whimsical effect, depending on how they’re arranged.
In a crowded, frenetic advertising setting, the stillness of a cinemagraph draws the eye and makes the viewer wonder, “What’s odd about this?” On the other hand, in a collection of still photos—for example, on Instagram—the subtle movement jumps out at the viewer. Savvy advertisers like Brooks Brothers have capitalized on the novelty of the cinemagraph to create winning Instagram campaigns.
(Image Credit: Tripwire Magazine)
Now that we’ve waxed poetic about the cinemagraph, a bit of technical info. Design team Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg invented the form in 2011 and have used it extensively in the fashion, lifestyle and travel categories. A cinemagraph is created by taking a still photo, and then recording the same composition as a video, with only the selected element moving. The two parts—still photo and video—are then layered to create the eerie effect.
Take a look at this tutorial by Adobe Creative Cloud, and then start experimenting with your own haunting, quirky, atmospheric images!