Photo Animation

What immediately comes to mind when you think about animation styles? Maybe your favorite cartoon character? Or perhaps a classic animated movie? But what about that gut-buster of a GIF you came across online the other day? Sure, one type of animation includes making original artwork and then moving it through a story. However, photo animation allows you to animate more simply, using photographed images rather than those made with a pencil or pen.

Photo animation defined

Photo animation uses one or more photographs to create an animated scene. The effect is achieved by inserting movement into a still image following the same principles as a flip book, only in a digital format. In short, photo animation combines a series of still images to create a sense of motion over time.

Within a single image, photo animation takes place by animating a specific portion of the picture. Manipulating a still image so that only certain parts move can add a little flare to a simple element. A waving hand or a talking mouth can transform a static picture into an engaging visual.

Photo animation tricks

Multiple effects fit into what’s possible when using photo animation. That allows you to manipulate images in a variety of ways based on the goal of your video production project.

  • Squashing and stretching: Whether applying this effect to an entire image or just a portion of it, you can create the impression of actual animation in an otherwise static image. This effect combines the audio of your video with static images, simulating “talking” without animating the entire picture.
  • Morphing: Requiring two or more images to work, this effect creates an animated transformation that turns one still picture into something else.
  • Puppet effect: A more intricate effect, the puppet effect got its name from its specific animation technique. To achieve this effect, an animator “pins” your image in specific spots (or nodes) that function as their manipulation points. The look, as you might have guessed, is super similar to watching a marionette manipulated by puppet strings. Each pin moves independently of the others, creating the ability to simulate subtle movements or a slow-motion effect.
  • Panning: With the advent of 360 video, virtual tours and panning through a panoramic space have seen a meteoric rise. If unable to achieve the effect with actual video, you can string together photographs, using this animation technique to walk your audience through static content in a defined way.

Creating the narrative

Additional photo animation effects, including adding text, can do more than just insert movement into your image. They can align the pictures to the overall narrative of the piece.

Including text creates dialogue between characters without having to show live video of a conversation or record a voice-over. It’s an easy solution that keeps audiences engaged with the medium without being too distracting. Since photo animations are often short, it’s important to use the right combination of effects to deliver a clear message with your content.

Going to the third dimension

While uses for photo animation may feel limited to social applications, knowledgeable and experienced animators can create more elaborate versions. Containing audio and telling a longer story, these photo animations can even move into 3D. The animation team at ECG aren’t just masters of traditional methods of photo animation, they can also pull an image apart to create both 2D and 3D effects. By manipulating and combining a series of photos, our team can create a 3D space to use as a background for other keyed footage.

With a variety of options to use in a photo animation project, partnering with the right team of animation experts makes the difference between producing a high-quality piece of content and one that may lack smooth transitions. Contact ECG Productions today to learn how they can help you realize your next video production project.