Turn An Old Photo Into A Cinemagraph With A Film Grain Effect

Springfield South High

For my Springfield, Ohio: A Glimpse of the Past projects, I’ve come across some amazing historic pictures of my hometown. I found a picture of Springfield South High, the school I graduated from and thought it would look pretty cool with an old film effect applied to it. This is a great way to show off old photographs in a gallery (I prefer Picasa since it displays animated GIF’s when viewing the album). If you have any photographs that you would like to apply this effect to, I laid out the steps below.

For this cinemagraph, I used Photoshop CS5, the picture the high school and the Scratched Film Brush Set created by Anodyne-Stock that I downloaded from deviantART.

First, open the image in Photoshop. With the Background layer selected, hit Ctrl+j (or what ever the equivalent of Ctrl is for Mac)  5 times to create 5 separate layers, each containing the image:


This step isn’t necessary but I’m including it to make the upcoming steps easier to follow; Rename the layers from the bottom up in numerical order (not including the Background layer):

Next, click on Window on the Menu Bar then click on Animation to open the Animation Window:

In the Animation Window, click on the New Frame button (the small square next to the trash can) 4 times to create a total of 5 frames:


Now, with all of your layers and frames created, click on Frame 1 in the Animation Window and hide all of the layers except for the layer named 1:

Now Frame 1 is associated with Layer 1.

Next select the Brush Tool and load the Scratched Film Brush Set that was downloaded earlier. In case you aren’t familiar with how to install a brush set, you just place the set, which is a .abr file type, in the Brushes folder located in the Presets directory (typical path for Windows is C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop your-version\Presets\Brushes\). There are 4 different brushes in the set and I used the brush with the most amount of lines in it (feel free to experiment).Resize the brush so it is just a bit larger than image. For the color, I chose black but feel free to experiment with that as well. Once you have the brush selected and sized and a color selected, just place the brush over the image and line it up so that bottom-right corner of the brush is lined up with the bottom right-corner of the picture. Once you’re lined up, give the mouse a single click.

Image before brush is applied:



Next, just as you did with the 1st frame, select Frame 2 and make Layer 2 the only visible layer, associating them to one-another:


Again, use the Paint tool to apply the effect to Layer 2 one this time move the brush up slightly, still keeping it aligned with with the right edge of the image. The reason this is important is because the brushes in the set have predominant lines and if the brush strokes aren’t kept at least a little inline, you’ll have this rapid “jumping lines” effect during the animation. If the main lines in the effect stay in place (or move left and right only slightly) while the smaller lines and spots move, it makes for a better old film effect.

Continue applying the effect to each frame and layer (remember Frame 3 goes with Layer 3 and so on), making sure to move the brush up slightly with each set.

Once you are done applying the effect, Click on the “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer” button at the bottom of the Layers Pallet then select Levels. Depending on the color you used for the paint brush, the images may be too dark or too bright. Adjust the levels accordingly. For my image, I brought the brightness up to offset the darkness applied by the Scratched Film Brush

Once you are satisfied with the levels, change the delay of each frame to 0.5 seconds then select Frame 1 and click on File on the Menu Bar then click Save For Web & Devices. In the dialog box, select GIF as the file type and in the Animation section, set Looping Options to Forever. You can also resize the image here and if you’re using a black and white photo, you can set the colors down to 64 to give your cinemagraph a smaller file size. Preview the animation and if you’re satisfied hit Save.

I hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial. Feel free to check out my other cinemagraphs. Special thanks to Anodyne-Stock for the awesome brush set. If you use this method, please leave a comment with a link. I’d love to check it out.



2 thoughts on “Turn An Old Photo Into A Cinemagraph With A Film Grain Effect

  • August 9, 2012 at 6:37 am

    I was born in Springfield and lived there until 1978. I come back once a year to visit my Mom who is currently in a nursing home. I bring my daughter (40 yrs old, not a baby) when I can. I just wrote to my brother (Benny George) and asked him if he could think of anything I could show her different this time to show her what my and her roots were like. When I found this on youtube, I was thrilled. I could never show her everything you did. We are coming back August 22 to 29th and I am so excited to go to the places again in person and let her see them as they are now and then watch your movies again to see the difference. Thank you so much for making these films. I am also your FAN. Thanks again! Vikki By the way do you happen to remember George’s Drug store at the corner of Ludlow and Mound. My Dad ran that and George’s Lawnmower shop on Western Ave. The drug store became JoDenny Realty for a while. I can’t figure out what it is now. Every time I come home, I go by it and try to figure it out. It is just a block away from Conroy Funeral Home. As a matter of fact that might be an interesting landmark for you if you do more. Conroy’s has changed a lot over the years and I’ll be teveryoneknows where it and Riverdale dairy are and how they have chnged too. Take care and I would love to know if you do anymore landmarks in Springfield. Vikki


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