In this quick tutorial, I’m going to show you one of the best ways to quickly edit performance photography for immediate sharing. Today, capturing eyeballs on any number of social media platforms is hard. You might have great work, but if it doesn’t immediately burrow into the mind of the viewer, that viewer might already have scrolled past it, never to see that photograph or creative project again. Thankfully, just as the time a viewer spends on each image dwindles, there are fast editing techniques we can use to make up for the lack of time someone might spend with each post on their feed.
Today, we are going to be focusing on performance photography. Here is the image that this tutorial is going to use as an example:
Although this is an image of a vocalist, this style of edit can be used on basically any head shot, although the look I’m going to go for is a 90’s inspired VCR analog one, taking hints from film filters and graphics. Currently, the image is very digital in its rendering, so if you want to see some ways in which you can push for that older film aesthetic without actually shooting film, follow along as well!
For this animation I’m going to be using Pixaloop. It’s really fast to work with, and as a mobile phone application it can be used on images seconds after I take them on my camera. The first part of the process is going to be the animation, and then I’m going to move on to texturing and working on the color of the image, so let’s jump right in!
Animating your performance photography with Pixaloop app
The first step to animating your photography with Pixaloop is going to be opening the image in the animate menu, like this:
The animate menu is the first on the menu part after you create a new project in Pixaloop. There are several features within the menu which allow you to control the path, style, and looping of the animation. Since we are going with a non polygonal path, we can use the regular path tool to make our path. We are also going to use the anchor tool to place some anchors where we want less motion to occur. These are the steps I took to create the base animation:
As you can see, I really didn’t want the head to move in the final animation, at least not on these paths. To make sure that didn’t happen after using anchor points and paths, I used the freeze tool, like so:
Then, I made sure that the speed of the animation was relatively slow. I didn’t want this to look like a hyper fast stream, so I kept it minimal. This is where my speed was set to:
As a final step in the animate menu, I made sure that my loop style was set to blend. This works best for animations that you want to be repeated multiple times, rather than single animations or “boomerang” style animations. This is what the animation type sub menu looks like:
Stylizing your animation with an app
There are many great tools in Pixaloop that allow you a lot of creative freedom. Feel free to do anything you want when stylizing, what I am going to do is going to be the basic film style animation overlays and filtering. This style is really simple to recreate, but has multiple options so that not every animation you make in this style is simply a carbon copy. The first step here is going to be adding a simple element to the image. I like to start with an element rather than an overlay or filter because that allows me to make sure it fits with the final colors and overlay that I may choose.
Open the element menu to find a variety of downloadable elements. This is the element that I chose for the image, although I did play around with a lot of the different retro playback type elements:
Once I had this element in place, I could choose a matching overlay for the animation. This is why I prefer placing an element first and an overlay second. Matching your overlay and element is a lot easier with the element already in place, since I know what other areas of the animation need to have texture or visually coordinate with the element and the image itself. I chose a simple VHS textured overlay. This is what it looked like then:
Now that I had an overlay, I could get onto one of the last steps: filtering. When compositing images in the traditional sense, one of the final steps is adding in color gradation and grain. This masks the combinations of elements that were not originally photographed together. By adding in color gradation last we can have a cleaner final result that looks as if it was intended and originally already together. Then, by also adding an overall animation we can make the animation from the image feel like a better fit.
This is the animation that I went on to add:
And this is the color grading filter than I included for my final animation. I really liked that it lowered the saturation and moved a lot of the colors into the de-saturated style that I generally prefer. Here is what that looked like:
And lastly, I exported my final image as a GIF. I really like this style because it matches the retro style of a lot of my general photography, especially considering how much film I have recently been working with on creative projects. Try this out on your own images, it works especially well on anything with bright or neon lighting! Here is that final animation of mine: