Tag Archives: plotagraph

Plotagraph: watching the ocean at Azulik, Tulum

Today’s plotagraph (see more) was created from a picture I took back in 2014 at Azulik in Tulum, one of the most beautiful places we’ve stayed. We love Tulum in general, and have visited four times in the last ten years or so.

Paula Tulum swing (640px, 30fps)

Click on the image above to see a higher resolution version. As with all plotagraphs, this was created from a single image – here is the original:

Paula Tulum swing

Plotagraph of White Island, New Zealand

Another plotagraph from White Island in New Zealand (see my other plotagraphs). I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot and have many cool adventures, but flying to White Island in a helicopter is right up there with my very best travel experiences. It’s an island off the north coast of New Zealand which is an active volcano. About a quarter of the cone is blown out from a previous eruption which makes it look very dramatic. You fly in and land in the crater, and get to walk around for an hour or so before flying back. It is expensive but well worth it. We went with Frontier Helicopters from Whakatane, which was a fair bit less expensive than flying from Rotorua, which is the other option.

White Island 2 (640px, 30fps)
Click on the image for a larger version

This photo was taken from the front seat of a fast moving helicopter – it was tricky to get a full view of it through the window. Here is the original still image prior to processing with plotagraph

White Island 2

An interesting thing about this image is that my original photo was quite tightly cropped on the right hand side, so I expanded the image slightly using Photoshop’s content aware fill, which is a trick I learned relatively recently.

This is the original image, before expanding it on the right hand side, and before final enhancements in Photoshop:

P1360257I will post more pictures and details about White Island in a future post, but in the mean time you can see a few more photos in this Facebook album.

A portrait plotagraph

I am continuing to explore Plotagraph Pro and push the boundaries of what I can do with it (see my previous plotagraph posts). Up to this point all my source material has been nature photographs – mainly landscapes, a couple of cityscapes, and some wildlife with appropriate natural backgrounds. Today’s source material is a portrait of my lovely partner Paula that I took in Sevilla a few years ago. The main animation on her dress came out quite well I thought. There’s a little animation in her hair too, again just to test what’s possible. It’s hard to see on the smaller image inline, but if you click on that you can view a larger image where you should be able to see it.

Paula Sevilla 2 (640px, 30fps)

Here’s the original image for comparison (as always the plotagraph was:produced from a single static image):

Paula Sevilla cropped copy

And here’s the original original before I cropped it for this exercise, just because I think it’s also a cool photo :). This was taken at the entrance to the beautiful Palacio Villapanés hotel where we stayed in Sevilla, which I would highly recommend!

Paula Sevilla

Plotagraph of Milford Sound after a storm

I am continuing to enjoy playing with plotagraph to create animations from single images. Today’s example is of Milford Sound, New Zealand, after one of the typical heavy storms that you get there, which cause the waterfalls to go crazy! The plotagraph really conveys how the waterfall looked at the time – and the moving clouds add drama.

Click on the image to see a higher resolution version (it looks much better larger!).

Milford Sound Waterfall 3 (640px, 30fps)

Here is a video version, which may play more smoothly depending on your system.

Here is the original static image:

Milford Sound waterfall 3

See all my plotagraph posts.


More plotagraphs

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!

My first plotagraph

I just created my first plotagraph! This is a new type of animated image that is created from a single static photo, using some (expensive) software called Plotagraph Pro. The effect is similar to a Cinemagraph, which uses video as a source to create a partly dynamic and partly static image. I found out about this from Trey Ratcliff, whose workshop I attended in Denver a couple of weeks ago, and he has some nice examples and explanations here.

Sunset storm over Denver (640px, 30fps) (1)

The nice thing about the plotagraph approach is that it works with any photo you’ve taken. This image of the storm in Denver was one that sprang to my mind as something that would look good as a plotagraph – I rather regretted that I hadn’t taken a timelapse of this scene at the time, but I didn’t start early enough and the weather was getting ugly so I was concerned about leaving my equipment out. Now I have a timelapse like effect from the one image! I also think it’s really cool how the software manages to create a continuous loop effect without an obvious start and end point.

I am sure I can refine the image above as I get to know the software better, but wanted to post my first attempt! Update: see my next post for more cool sample plotagraphs.

Here is the original static image, just for comparison: