Can you believe that the moving water animation in the below-embedded waterfalls video was created using just a photo of the waterfalls? I used a program called PicAnimate that enables to animate parts of a photo and convert it into a video.
Cinemagraphs are slightly different. Although parts of a photo are animated in a cinemagraph too, we start with a video and then create a photo whose parts can be animated using the video in the background. But PicAnimate enables us to animate parts of a photo even if we have just the photo.
There are limitations to this program. Although it animates moving portions in the picture like clouds, lake, waterfalls, trees, etc. very well, the animation looks artificial if you try to animate people or stable objects. If a sky has no clouds, for example, there is almost no animation. So it should be obvious that you cannot animate every photo and every part of a photo!
If you are OK with that limitation and are open to experimentation, you can do some interesting things with the software.
Here is a photo where I animated the clouds on the sky –
Here is a video where I animated both the clouds and the water in a lake. Since the water is stationary only subtle animation is possible.
I did all these animated photos after learning and using the software for just one day. I guess I can do more interesting things as I learn and experiment more. The software crashed twice on the day – not a big issue really. I now save more as I create.
Masking was difficult to achieve initially, especially with the line tool. But as I got used to the brush tool, I found it easier. Varying the length of the animation lines and choosing the duration of the animation – both enable me to change the speed of the animation. Much required.
I like the fact that I can animate parts of the same photo and the same objects in different directions if needed. This was very useful for animating the waterfalls (first video).
Overall, I recommend this software for animating parts of the photo that is generally expected to move. But since we cannot always get such photos, I wish stable portions of the photo and objects like hair, hands, etc. can also be animated better/ realistically. This software cannot do that convincingly – yet!
Here is the demo video posted on their Facebook Page that shows how these photo animations can be done on PicAnimate –