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Halloween Decorations Go Digital Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

27 October 2017

It was inevitable. Digging up the front yard to prop up headstones with various skulls and hands shooting up from the grass only scared toddlers. Hanging witches and bats didn't fool anyone in grade school. Halloween decoration had to go digital. And in Creating a Halloween Cinemagraph With Photoshop CC and Adobe Stock, Chris Converse, a partner at Codify Design Studio, shows you how to do it.

As Converse says, "a cinemagraph is an experience, and not a specific file format." So you don't really need Adobe Stock. Just some scary pictures and a little B-roll video. You probably have what you need on your smartphone. And if you don't, Adobe Stock will make short work of the asset search.


"So what's a cinemagraph?" I hear you asking. Well, a few of you.

A cinemagraph is a predominantly still image that has a few moving parts. The motion loops gracefully, if you do it right.

That may bring to mind animated GIFs and you wouldn't be wrong. Animated GIFs tend to be short looping movies in which the whole image moves. But cinemagraphs can be saved as animated GIFs.

But as Converse points out, video, HTML, CSS and JavaScript have all been enlisted to make cinemagraphs. And in this case, he exports his composite video, photo and illustration to the .mp4 video format.


We'll just summarize the key points in the process Converse details in his blog post.

The first trick is to collect the assets you want to use in your cinemagraph.

Assets. Converse used an .

Converse's cinemagraph begins with an illustration of a tree. He masked the tree so he could drop out the background. And while he admitted that was a chore, we have to note that the new version of Photoshop is pretty quick and accurate with masking. It's a noticeable improvement.

The mask becomes a layer before he goes off to find a photo of the full moon. He converts that to a Smart Object and applies a circular layer mask so he can make it glow.

Standard Halloween stuff so far.

He used two videos from Adobe Stock to complete his cinemagraph. One was of clouds and the other was of fog. The clouds sit on their own layer under the tree and in front of the moon and the fog on another layer in front of the tree. Blend modes matter here.


Now how do you save a video file in Photoshop? Use File>Export>Render Video to get to the following dialog box.

Rendering. Here's the Rendering dialog box with all the relevant settings.

The size settings determine how large a file you'll end up with. Converse used 1920 x 1080, which works great for HDTV display. Not so much on this Web page, though, so we resized it to 500 x 281. That took the 25-MB HDTV file down to 2.3-MB.


Instead of the usual "trick or treat" Halloween war cry, Converse delivers a trick that's also quite a treat.

And it will keep you from digging up the front yard every year, too.

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