Sometimes you come up with a great idea for a conceptual piece of art, and other times that idea comes after looking back on old images. One of the most fun ways to both reuse old images and spawn new works is to take those images and animate them. Animations from still images are also a fantastic way to repost your images online as fresh and new content. This guide will teach you how to creatively animate a portrait still photograph using the application Pixaloop.
For this guide, I will be using the following image:
I really like that this image is already embracing a fantastic and whimsical nature. The colors and composition of this image immediately made me think “What if I pushed this to 11?”. So, that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Let’s jump right into how I took this still image and flipped it on its head.
Creating an interesting overlay
The first step here, as always, is going to be creating a new Pixaloop project. Just open the application and press the orange “+” sign to start a new creation. This is what your phone screen should look like once you have:
Great, let’s get to the fun part. The first step here is going to be to add an overlay. Something that adds to the whimsical nature, but isn’t too over the top. Don’t worry, we’ll get over the top soon. Make your way to the “Overlay” menu on the Pixaloop toolbar. I found that my favorite of the overlays was those titled “speckles”. These are great because they add subtlety while still overall brightening the image. A brighter image is going to be more suited to that magical and fantastical look that I have in mind.
I found that the filter titled “SP05”, or “Speckles 5”, shown above, at maximum strength, was perfect here. Play around with them all at different levels, there are tonnes of incredible combinations and effects that you can use. Let’s move on and fix the one part of the image that I don’t see fitting in the fantasy dreamland I’m envisioning: the sky.
Replacing the sky with an animated magical version
One of the coolest parts of Pixaloops is the ability to interact with different natural elements within images. In this image, the sky is rather lackluster compared to the extreme I want to push it to. To amend this, I’m going to be replacing the sky with a colorful, rainbow dominated, version. To do this, simply navigate to the “sky replacement” menu, and find the selection of different rainbow skies. I chose this sky:
The main reason I chose this sky was that it was the one that best fits with the image. The rainbow automatically aligned itself with my metallic window. The colors of the sky match the tones of the dress and the street really well. Overall, choosing the right sky for your image really depends on what you think fits the best.
Lastly, sometimes sky replacements won’t be perfect automatically. As you can see in the image above, the rainbow is cutting through the metal beam in the sky. This looks very strange, but thankfully you can edit the mask with the eraser and brush tools. These are found in the eraser submenu on the bottom right of the screen, next to the play button. Simply press the eraser, and draw to erase. Once you are erasing, you can easily switch to the brush tool to add more to your mask or add areas you accidentally erased back into the mask. Now, let’s move onto the finishing touches for this animation.
Finishing touches to our Fantasy Portrait
At this point, you could call this project complete. I, however, really wanted to capture that whimsical fairy-adjacent feeling that this image originally brought out in me, To do this, I started with some light global adjustments to the animation, as seen here:
These slight changes in brightness, contrast, saturation, and temperature don’t look like a lot, but they are. By adding some brightness while decreasing the saturation, I’ve added a flat white light to the image. The contrast and temperature changes complement this, making the image feel more divine, in a sense.
Next, I’m going to add a visual filter to this image. This is simply going to make the camera breathe a little bit so that when the image is viewed the sky isn’t awkwardly the only moving part of the image. This is the camera motion that I chose to use:
Lastly, it is time to add a filter to the image. While my light adjustments earlier did add some of the look I wanted, adding a filter can do a whole lot more. These filters can be applied as subtly or heavily as you choose, but for something like this image, which is already over the top, I don’t mind continuing the theme of pushing it a bit too far. The filter I used here is “ES12”, or the 12th Essential filter in the filter tool menu:
And… That’s it! Now, let’s take a look at this final animation in all its magical glory!: