Photographers are rediscovering animated GIFS as an art medium but these are not your dorky looping GIFS that make you want to close your browser window right away. Instead, the animation is carefully selected and applied to only one portion of an image to add a delightful twist to an otherwise very still image. If the animation takes some time to kick in, it can even surprise. There is even have a new name for these animated GIFS: cinemagraphs.
Check out the following cinemagraphs:
You can use different image editing software to create animated GIFs. For those using Windows, MIcrosoft used to make a free one called, appropriately, Microsoft GIF Animator. You can do a search and download it. You can also use Photoshop, After Effects, etc.
Basically, take a series of pictures. Ideally, nothing is moving, except what you want, e.g. smoke from a hot cup of tea, a cat’s tail, etc. If other parts of the picture is also moving, you’ll have a harder time editing these out. Then in Photoshop, simply layer the pictures and Save for Web as a GIF. Click the Animate and Loop checkbox et voilà! We’ll work on a tutorial later.