Platograph App for iOS

Platographs are a style of photo that appear to have constantly moving parts. Inspired by cinemagraphs, which are created by taking a video and masking certain parts to remain static, Platagraphs use software to create the illusion of motion from a static photograph. I first heard about Platographs a few years back, but the subscription based service was over $300 a year without any trial versions. Recently, Platograph released a Platograph app for iOS at a much more reasonable price, so I thought I’d finally try it out.

The app is similar to many other photography apps, where you pick a photo and draw a mask on it, then you drop tiny arrows to indicate which direction you’d like parts of the photo to move. The masked area will remain static, while the rest of the image appears to move. Drawing these masks was the most frustrating part of the process. The mask shows up as a grey, which is often hard to see on images of skies or fog. It’s also really hard to really get in tight with your mask because the image doesn’t zoom in enough. I was hoping this app would allow you draw near an object, then the software would autodetect edges to speed up the process, hopefully this will come later. There is also no way to soften the edges of your mask, so there are often very clear areas where the static image hits the moving sets. For skies, trees, or fog, it sure would be fun to have those animations blend into the static parts of an image.

After you preview your image, there are several options for exporting your video to Twitter, Instagram, or whatever. Unfortunately, there are no gif export options. So I exported each of these as the “platograph” setting, which is the shortest video export, then emailed them to my laptop. I saved them to my desktop, converted them in Gif Brewery 3, then compressed them in Compressor.io. That’s a ton of work, but a 1.5mg video quickly becomes a 8mg gif, which can often get trimmed back down to 2mgs with a good compressor. I sure wish that whole process was a little more streamlined.

After seeing a bunch of Platographs online this past year, I already had a pretty good idea for what kind of photos would work best with the effect. Waves, fog, skylines, and clouds are all good candidates, but you still want to avoid images that might be hard to mask out. There were quite a few photos I expected to love, that never really looked right with the effect. There are a few photos, however, that really came alive with Platograph. As far as my own style goes, I really enjoyed using the app in subtle ways, like on a small wisp of clouds through the eye of an ice cave. The effect isn’t always organic, so the more subtle the better.

Enough talking, here’s a bunch of beautiful gifs, all shot on an iPhone then processed with the Platograph app. Which ones are your favorites?






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The Complete List of iOS Glitch Apps

Over the past 5 years, I’ve downloaded and experimented with thousands of iPhone photo apps while working on my Daily Appsperiment and Impossible Glitch series. Since I most often get asked about glitch apps, I decided to compile this list of glitch apps for your iPhonehole. I’ll be updating this list as often as I can, so let me know if I missed anything:

Note: I’ve now created a second list dedicated to glitch video apps.
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Analog:Glitches – an experimental art show with glitched out Polaroids

I’m excited to announce my next photography show, Analog:Glitches, at Photobooth SF. This show will be a collection of glitch’d out digital images (shot & edited on my iPhone) that are magically transferred onto real instant film using the Impossible Project’s Instant Lab. These images have all been tweaked using Decim8, Glitch Lab, TrueHDR, and various other techniques I’ve learned during my ongoing “appsperiment” series. Though work is experimental in nature, the show sort of represents my transition over the years from being an iPhone photographer to working primarily with film. Though I’m most at home shooting on a roll of Tri-X film, I’m still heavily influenced by the lessons I learned while shooting on a mobile device.

Impossible Glitches opens on March 22nd, 2014 at Photobooth SF with a party from 6-8pm. We’ll be showing some of my favorite Impossible Project images along with copies of a limited edition color zine collecting all 24 photos in the series. I’ll also be hosting a series of photowalks and tutorials to help teach some of my appsperiment techniques. More on that later.
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Re: Anim8

NYCglitch

Decim8 is a powerful app for “destroying” your iPhone photos in interesting ways. From straight forward data glitching to bendy-twisty-distorto stuff, the app is packed with cool effects. The effects are selectable, but their intensity randomly changes each time you process an image, so I thought it’d be cool to Decim8 some images, save the varying results, then loop them using the Giffer App.
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