A couple of weeks ago I got to see a sneak peak at at a new app that looked really cool. It’s called Plotagraph Pro (link) and it’s basically an animated still image. It’s a really interesting way to display a photo, illustration or painting and the first thought I had when I looked at it was “WOW”!.
What’s a Plotagraph?
So you’ve probably seen cinemagraphs before. If you haven’t, they’re basically a still image with a moving area in it. There’s various ways to make these (The Flixel app is one of them), but they all revolve around starting out with a video. For me, that’s where they always fell short. I’m not a video guy, I’m a still guy.
With Plotagraph Pro, you start with a still photo and your creativity is really the only limit to what can be done (Make sure you watch the video below for a quick example). In the video I did at the bottom of this post, I actually used a photo I took 3 years ago. But I can go in and animate it any way I want, any part I want, and in any direction I want.
Is Plotagraph Pro For Everyone?
So that’s the magic question right? Who’s this for? The price tag is a bit steep. You could almost get two years of Lightroom and Photoshop for the same price. But I actually don’t think it’s for everyone out there who just loves photography and shooting (probably most of the people reading this). Here’s where I think the idea has major legs to it, and where you’ll see it the most:
1) Online ads – The studies and results are there to prove it… online ads are moving more and more to video and it’ll continue to happen at a faster rate. Right now you scroll through your Facebook or other social media feed and you see some video but still mostly still ads. Eventually that’s going to change. But, to me at least, I don’t want to be bombarded by video all the time. And if it isn’t timed perfectly, the message will get totally lost by some one scrolling through.
To me, a Plotagraph is the perfect mixture of motion and still. It moves enough to catch your eye, but not so much that it’s overbearing. So anyone creating photos that may get used in ads (which I know isn’t a huge population of you reading this) would benefit from Plotagraph Pro.
2) Displaying Your Work – I can definitely see this happening more, but you have to bear with me for a minute and put your “future” glasses on.
First, a simple place I think it would work would be wallpapers and lock screens on our phone. Imagine having a cool animation of one of your photos running across the screen.
But I’m going to push the “future” limit further here.
I’ve had people tell me to get out of still photography because video was the future. I disagree. I believe video will be a bigger part of our future than ever, but here’s what I don’t think we’ll see anytime soon… Imagine sitting at your computer, working for an hour or two on this killer video project and yelling over to your wife/husband/kids “Hey guys… come here! Take a look at this video I shot!!!”. And take that example even further. Do you think that same person will say “I just can’t wait to hang this on the wall!”. I just don’t think it’ll happen, which is why I think still photography will always have it’s place. There’s just a different feeling, and aesthetic to a still photo.
So I don’t believe that video will take over, and non of us will shoot stills anymore. But imagine this…
Right now we have those digital picture frames. 5-7 years ago they were bulky, small, and obtrusive. Today, they’re definitely better. Well, imagine what they’ll be like in another 5-10 years. I do believe that one day in the not-so-distant future, it’ll be very affordable for us to have a large digital screen on our wall to display a photo. Not just affordable, but easy. Right now you’d have to worry about running power to it, hiring some one to hang it because it’ll probably be heavy, etc… But 5-10 years down the line I think some of those hurdles will be overcome.
And with that nice large screen on the wall, I can totally see displaying one of my still photos as a Plotagraph with some subtle movement in it.
This Will Be A Part Of Your Future
All of that said, I honestly believe that whether you actually buy the app and use it or not, we will all be a consumer of this technology in the near future. They’ve cracked the code to making this type of animation look good, feel good, and have made it affordable and easy for smaller companies with smaller budgets to create great looking images. And I believe that we will all be seeing more of this while scrolling through our phones, websites, and social feeds throughout the next few years.
A Quick Plotagraph Pro Video
Below I did a quick 4-minute video on one of my first Plotagraph Pro projects. It took me a couple of hours to learn the ins and outs of what works and what doesn’t. But once I got it, the creative juices were flowing, and I can think of 10 other ways I can use this already. Especially for me, as some one who’s started my own business now (you can read more on my About page), I’ve got to think of ways that are eye-catching to attract people. I think this will definitely be one of them.
Here’s a link to their website. It’s definitely work checking out since it’s got some really cool examples on it. Thanks for stopping by! Have a good one.
They do have a $50. off right now and if Matt could get us Plus members another $50. off that would not be too bad!
I think this is so cool! I would definitely buy it and use it, if a little less $$$$$$$$$$. Thanks for taking the time to show it to us Matt.
Hey Matt, thanks for the tip. Maybe you can get a discount for your readers? Is it my monitor, or is your WB off in your camera, or do you have a sunburn in the video? LOL
Yep, the WB was off in camera and I definitely look red 🙂
Hi Matt. Just hopped over from the ON1 site after reading your latest post. It’s funny you mention Plotagraph because yesterday I got an email from Trey Ratcliff about it. He’s as excited as you; says he could stare at them for hours 🙂
I agree; the price ($299US for the Beta) is pretty steep for amateur photographers. Maybe it will be a Christmas present for some people 🙂
Good luck with your new venture.
I signed up for the beta as I photograph sailing regattas and the moving water effects add a neat visual. It does have a bit of a learning curve…
Matt, I always look forward to your posts. I think you are spot on regarding the advancement of video. I’m heading to Plotagraph now to check it out. Thanks,
Wishing you the best.
You’ve always been an honest inspiration to me over the years.