Wonder if we could have the images like those in Hogwarts? No I am not talking about animated GIFs. If you are an avid TechSplurge reader, you would have a reminiscent our beautiful gallery of Cinemagraphs quite long back. There are plenty of ways to create such amazing cinemagraphs yourself, mainly using Photoshop. However it is a very tedious process to create it that way. Fortunately the Redmond giant, Microsoft comes with a wonderful tool called Cliplets which lets you do the job in a much easier way.
If you are wondering how does GIF differs from Cinemagraphs, the most notable distinction is that in the latter, only a portion of the image is moving.
Microsoft Research never fails to impress me with some very useful and interesting proof of concept apps. I sometimes wonder why they do not publicize them so much. One such app is Cliplets which lets you create ‘cliplets’ a.k.a. Microsoft’s way of calling cinemagraphs. Cliplets in Microsoft’s words is “a type of imagery that sits between stills and video”.
Cliplets is the simplest app you can get to create cinemagraphs on PC. Cliplets works only on 64 and 32 bit versions of Windows 7.
Major features of Cliplets:
- It can generate cinemagraphs directly from videos
- supports majority of video formats (notable exception being FLV and MKV)
- Export the generated Cliplets (Cinemagraphs) to GIF, WMV or MP4
- Simple UI with a lot of features beneath.
The User Interface
The app has an extremely clean UI and makes you feel at home if you have used any video editor before. You just need to drag and drop the required files into the main UI to get started. The entire app works very snappily though you may run into some crashes rarely.
Mind that Cliplets supports videos of duration 10 seconds only. If you load a video of length greater than 10 seconds, Cliplets will automatically pop a window to select a 10 second portion from the clip.
How to Create Cinemagraphs with Cliplets
The app in itself looks very intuitive and makes you believe that you can start churning out cinemagraphs in a jiffy. While you can certainly produce cinemagraphs fairly quickly, it can be particularly hard to get the desired effect.
To generate a cliplet from the loaded video you need to select a portion of a frame from the video and add it as a masked layer. The layer will be the region which will be animated in the cliplet. You can animate the selected region as a loop, still , mirror or play.
The upper bar shows the frames from the input video. You can move the slider accordingly to play the clip from the desired portions. The lower bar on the other hand previews the cliplets according to the masked layers and the effect selected. Once you are done with your desired cliplet, you can preview it by clicking the play button in the lower bar. If you are satisfied , just hit export and choose your desired format.
For Creating Good Cinemagraphs…
To create a decent cliplet you are going to need a lot of patience and most importantly a relatively steady video where there is no zoom in or any random camera effect which changes the frames relative to your subject. Else you will need to add several masked layers and make sure the frames are not washed out in the cliplet. Music Videos and Action clips are for example a terrible idea to generate cinemagraphs out of and the author (that’s me!) is speaking from his own experience.
Luckily for starters Microsoft has these good tutorials which should give you a good idea of central concepts for creating good cliplets. Explore them , try to make some good cinemagraphs and by any chance you think you have done a decent one, share it with us below!