So having done my first plotagraph earlier, I’ve been playing around some more to try different types of picture and see what works well and what doesn’t. I still haven’t decided whether it’s a short term novelty or something that will last, but it’s certainly a fun tool to play around with and you can produce some very impressive effects with it. Read my previous post for more info, but each of the animations here was produced from a single still image.

Some of the obvious things to try to animate include clouds, fire, rivers and waterfalls, and I have some initial examples of each of these, some good and some not so good, to give an idea of scenarios that work well and not so well.

Here is a more cheerful and sunny cloud example than my previous apocalyptic one! This is Cushman Lake near Telluride. I was able to make the reflected clouds in the lake match the movement of the clouds in the sky. This was pretty quick and easy to do, and I think it came out nicely – I find it quite tranquil and soothing.

Cushman Lake summer (640px, 30fps)

The next example is a fun fire one – this is me and Paula at a New Year’s Eve bonfire in Reykjavik. I think that the flame, smoke and sparks are all handled pretty well.

Pete Paula bonfire (640px, 30fps)

Next a water example which I think works pretty well, featuring a mother duck and her eight ducklings. This fairly subtle but I again find it quite soothing.

Ducks (640px, 30fps)

Here’s one of a heron fishing which also works pretty well. When herons are fishing like this they do stand absolutely still, so this is relatively lifelike!

Heron (640px, 30fps)

Lastly, a wildlife in the river one that doesn’t work so well – this is a bear in Waterton Canyon, just outside Denver. Here there are rocks visible beneath the surface of the water, so the flow doesn’t look so natural. Perhaps this is just stating the obvious, but something to watch out for if you’re looking for an image that will make a good plotagraph.

Bear (640px, 30fps)

Now onto waterfalls. This first one I really like – it’s Bear Creek Falls in Telluride. It was some work to get the masking areas right, where there is motion, but they were well enough defined that I think the effect is good. You get the nice smooth water effect from the long exposure of the original photo, plus a nice flow effect – I think it would be hard to get this combination by other means.

Bear Creek Falls (640px, 30fps)

This next one is also at Bear Creek Falls and is pretty nice, but not quite as good I don’t think. There are a couple of spots where there’s more rock and less water where the flow looks a little off, and it was a bit harder to get the edge of the water defined. But still not too bad.

Bear Creek Falls sunstar (640px, 30fps)

The last waterfall example is Sjellalandsfoss in Iceland. This image has really proved quite tricky to get a nice result with. This is my third attempt and it has improved on the first two. But in a lot of places here it is hard to define a clear boundary to the flowing water. In several places there is a mixture of water and rock, and it’s easy to get an effect where you have a mixture of falling water and rock which doesn’t look good. Then in the lower half of the main fall there’s a lot of solid white and it’s hard to convey motion there.

Sjellalndsfoss (640px, 30fps)

Anyway, hopefully this gives you an idea of some of the sorts of scene that you can animate with Plotagraph. It’s definitely a fun thing to play with!

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