The GIF image format is one of the staples of the Internet, allowing for animations to be shared with other people who aren’t standing in the same room as you. It’s one of the oldest image formats to have become mainstream, but it’s still used regularly even today and creative people are pioneering new uses for GIFs, such as the cinemagraph.
A cinemagraph is a GIF that is mostly a still image with one small section being animated. Due to the interplay between stillness and motion, a unique effect is created where it seems like you’re watching a clip from a movie. Hence the term, cinemagraph.
Unless you’re artistically gifted, you’ve probably never tried making an animated GIF of your own, let alone a cinamegraph. Here are a few tools that make the entire process quite easy – and best of all, you can download them all for FREE on your Android.
GifBoom [No Longer Available]
If you or your friends toy around on the iPhone, you may have heard of Cinemagram. Well, GifBoom is an Android app that fulfills the same niche: a social network built on the animated GIF creations of its users. Not only can you create animated GIFs easily using this tool, you’ll be able to post them for all to see AND you can follow other users to see what they make and what they like.
Creating a GIF is super easy: you press the button, the app records for 30 seconds, and then you get to choose which frames you want to appear in the final GIF. In post-production, you can add text or filters to beautify your animation, speed up the animation, or rotate the orientation before posting it. Obviously, all of this requires you to have a camera on your Android device.
You can think of it like Twitter with camera-made GIFs. There’s a fairly active community on GifBoom, so it’s not like you’ll be joining a desert wasteland. Try making a few GIFs and following users that interest you. If that sounds like your gig, you’ll love GifBoom.
GIF Camera is another app like GifBoom above. Using your Android’s camera, you can record moments and save them as animated GIFs for all to see. My personal opinion is that GifBoom might be prettier and more appealing to the hipster crowd, but GIF Camera is much simpler and easier to operate.
The camera recording in GIF Camera is based on total number of frames, which you can set in the options. Once you record, you can select which frames to remove from the final animation, then speed up or slow down how quickly the animation plays. You can even reverse it if you’d like. When you’re done, the GIF saves locally to your device.
From there, you can share it with others through Facebook, Sina Weibo, SMS, or you can send it to whatever other communication apps are installed on your phone. Unlike GifBoom and Cinemagrams, GIF Camera isn’t a social networking tool. However, they do maintain a “Funny GIFs” feature where you can browse through funny GIFs when you’re bored.
If you specifically want to create cinemagraphs, then Fotodanz is the app that you want. Using your camera, you can record a short clip and then select which area you want to animate. The resulting GIF will be one where everything is a still frame except for the selected area. Bam. Now that’s a cinemagraph made easy.
There isn’t much more to say regarding the process. It’s extremely simple, straightforward, and there are hints and tips along the way that will explain everything you need to know. Once you’re done, you can set a filter over the animation to make it appear more professional (or at least less amateur).
You won’t find a social network surrounding Fotodanz, but you can share your newly created cinemagraphs through Facebook, Twitter, SMS, or email with one tap of a button. If you don’t want to share, that’s okay, too; the cinemagraphs are saved locally.
While Fotodanz is completely free to use, it limits you to 5 basic filters (Sepia, Black and White, Normal, Cold, and Hot) and places a “Captured by Fotodanz” watermark on your resulting GIFs. You can remove the watermark for $0.99 or you can remove the watermark and unlock premium filters for $1.99.
Before writing this article, I’ve never actually created an animated GIF before. The new fad with cinemagraphs, in particular, has kept me perplexed and wondering how it’s all done. Well, with these Android apps, I can now create GIFs and cinemagraphs of my own in under a minute – and so can you.
If you know of any similar apps, please let me know and share them with us in the comments. It’s always nice to have a greater variety of choice available.
Image Credit: Guy With Camera Via Shutterstock