Cinemagraphs: making Monday mornings move

I first got into this delicious animation technique working with a talented photographer, Chris Davies at Bupa. Cinemagraphs showcases some of the best – isolated animated whisps on a pin sharp image. I think the first glimpse of cinema graphs had a high art / fashion feel, mesmerising and very beautiful. As the web trend galvanised so did the cross over between high art and the 90s vibe for a quick snapshot emotion. Gif love was further liked this year, when Twitter made it easier to search their library of animations.


In trend talks, email usually gets brow beaten down by the plethora of choice and bleeding edge techniques available to web design. Strangely, this year was email’s chance to take a trend and really make it centre stage. The great thing about the humble animated gif is just how much further designers can go with messaging (look at Moo’s fun type-led emails). And the support is strong across email clients – just Outlook 2007 / 10 show only the first frame.


Working at for most of last year, there was plenty of scope to get playful with this method. I got to grips with using video footage to make into cinemagraph gifs, and a little extra tuition from the rather good, David Maunder on the design team. The usual Monday morning business email (a notoriously tricky one to excite up) performed exceptionally well (= lots of hotel bookings) with simple looped animation set high up at London Eye. The technique is simple to grasp, convert video footage to frame animation in Photoshop. The skill is finding footage that has enough action but from a static vantage point… so a neat loop can be created seamlessly. Also to keep on the good side of spam filters footage shouldn’t be too high on frame rate and if there’s a ton of colours, they’ll need to be stripped back to help with file size.


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