1/8/2017

Bringing Life to Still Images on iPad Pro with Plotagraph+

My passion is still photography — capturing wonderful landscapes, seascape, underwater and travel scenes is what inspires my photography. I have put together some short videos (mostly timelapse), but the truth of it is that still images grab me, and the challenge of creating an image that tells a story in the sort time a shutter is open is motivating.

Movement, however, catches the eye, and although a good still image can imply movement there are a number of emerging methods of bringing life to still images.

Since the middle of last year I have been Playing around with Plotagraph Pro as a way of bringing some animation to still images. I like the results, and Plotagraph Pro in that time has come out of beta, introduced new pricing tiers (including a free one) and started to rollout social sharing features.

The Plotagraphs website features some very impressive examples of Plotagraphs (Plotagraphy??) by some very talented image makers.

Recently the Plotagraph team, with the support of image makers like Trey Ratcliff, has released an iOS app called Plotagraph + which brings the functionality to mobile devices1. Alongside Affinity Photo for iPad this app is truly positioning the iPad Pro at the core of my on-the-go photo workflow.

I created this Plotagraph in a few short minutes on the iPad on Sunday afternoon.

Red Sky Blue Pools from Des Paroz on Vimeo.

The image below shows the edits I made to the original image

Plotagraph+ edits in progress on iPad

Essentially the green-dots-leading-to-red-dashed-lines-to-blue-arrowheads are what I set for the direction and speed of movement, and the red dots near the horizon are anchor points that prevent movement beyond them.

Plotagraph+ Pros

  • Easy (very easy) to use.
  • Easy output to video and animated PNG formats.
  • Price effective.

Plotagraph+ Cons

  • No output to animated GIF for simple sharing2.
  • App crashes if you try to load a RAW file3.
  • Only sharing option is through Photos. I’d love to be able to share to Dropbox or other galleries (such as Plotagraphs.com) more directly.

Final Thoughts

I love this app, and the promise it provides for a fun and easy way to give life to images. Like HDR4 Plotagraphs will likely allow image makers to express their worldview in their own art, and of course beauty will be in the eye of the beholder. A lot of Plotagraphs will be good, some will be great and some will have faces that only the owner could love.

For me, a relatively small portion of my images will be Plotagraphs, but I will have fun creating and sharing some when it suits the image and the story I am trying to tell with it.

For more info on Plotagraph+ take a look at this video by Trey Ratcliff


  1. iOS only for now, but Trey Ratcliff and team Plotagraph have blogged and tweeted that an Android version is coming soon.

  2. At least that I could see. I did look.

  3. RAW support would be a big ask, but ideally the app shouldn’t crash, but simply return a dialogue box to inform the user.

  4. Perhaps not coincidentally, Trey Ratcliff was also a pioneer of HDR photography, literally writing the book on the subject.


Photography iPad


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