Cinemagraphs on 365

posted April 12th, 2018


You can make so-called cinemagraphs with animated gifs and upload to 365. So I tried, which was quit an experience! @Scrivna Ross' upload script does some strange things to animated gifs that have the same background in each frame, like this one. I used an old animation uploaded back in 2015 that works fine as a starting point. Every time I replaced the images with new ones the 365-upload went crazy. I got half images almost entirely black or white without the animation working. There was nothing wrong with the gif because it was working everywhere except for 365.

It took me while to figure out what was happening.
This is what I did (oh, btw, this is not about how to make animated gifs, if you like to learn let me know):

I started with the LSD animation (4 frames). It worked like a charm after upload.

I replaced the last frame with a new image. It still worked fine. Hurray.

I replaced the first image with a new one. It still worked.

I replaced the second last image. Bang. It seemed the second last frame was causing problems. It didn't make a difference which new image from the animation above I was using.

Again, I started all over and replaced the images one by one from the first frame to last. This time the animation only stopped working when I changed the last frame. Again, this last frame could be any picture but the ones from the animation above. What?!

The preview of the bad animation was half the orininal height, mostly pitch black. But I could see all the non-transparent elements from the last frame in my PS document which was strange because the GIF didn't have transparency enabled.

So I flattened the last frame in my PS layers and added some text on top the floor on the lower side of the image. Wow. The animation was still corrupt but the text showed up in the thumbnail which was now higher but not square yet.

I figured it had to do something with 'updated' pixels in the last frame. In my cinemagraph the lower side is a fixed background. Each pixel is exactly the same in each frame. Each pixel in the last frame that was different from the second last frame showed up in the preview.

So I changed the upper left pixel and the lower right pixel to white and the preview was now the full height of the animation. Still mostly black though. But now the animation was also working! That was the breakthrough.

Things to remember:

For a successful upload of a cinemagraph the last frame is crucial. The bounding box of all the pixels that differ from the second last frame determines the size of your preview and whether your animation will work. They MUST be the same size so you will have to change the upper left and lower right pixels of the last frame.

If you don't care about the preview you can leave it at that. The preview will only show the difference between the last and the second last frame but the animation will work.

If you like a preview the two frames must be completly different. Doing so will make the last frame your preview. I did accomplish this by by darkening the last frame with 2%. This affected all pixels which you can see if you look closely at the animation above. It will 'flicker' a bit at the last frame.

Also remember not to go larger than 1024 pixels if you create an animated gif. 365 wil downscale your gif and make a jpg to use instead of your original animation.

Don't go smaller than 640 either. You can try but it will probably break your preview. I don't know why and I didn't look into it.

The preview in 'latest photo's' or monthly overviews will never animate. You will always have to click on the image first.

The animation won't work on a mobile since you cannot click an image to 'view on black' anymore (I remember it used to work in 2015). It will work on an iPad.

And finally, if you like to include the animation in a discussion like this, use the link under 'share & more options' as normal. Then alter the 'src' inside your img tag <img src="..." > with the correct link to the animation. You'll find that link by right-clicking your (working) animation and selecting 'copy image location'. The correct link should end with .gif instead of .jpg. This one, copied to a discussion, will work on a mobile too.

Happy animating!
posted April 12th, 2018
interesting Mek, @mikegifford @northy @houdiniem and I have all had problems with animated gifs on 365 in general when trying to use photoshop, it can be maddening! hopefully if i re-read what you have written it will eventually make sense and be helpful lol. i think you meant DONT go larger than 1024 pixels.... we found this also, in my experience gifs do play on white once they load.but not in the newsfeed. .overall file size has to be within certain limits as well. .. i have used online gif makers that were much easier than photoshop and worked without glitches, but as a cinemagraph you would have to make each frame individually as a jpeg first, a bit tedious perhaps.
posted April 12th, 2018
@kali66 Don't go larger than 1024 indeed.
I shot about 150 photo's holding the camera 'steady'. So I had to fix each individual frame by hand on a single background. I think PS was the best tool in this case.
And yes, too big a file won't upload at all.
It was a nice learning experience with fun result.
posted April 12th, 2018
A slightly flippant comment from me: at first I thought you were referring to ‘animated gifts’. Please excuse me!
posted April 12th, 2018
@quietpurplehaze Haha. See this as an animating gift too you all :-)
posted April 12th, 2018
Super cool, thank you for sharing, something I would love to learn.
posted April 12th, 2018
@adi314 let me know if you need help or additional information.
posted April 12th, 2018
@mastermek thanks Mek.
posted April 12th, 2018
Wow- that was a lot of work and persistence on your part. I don't know if I'll ever tackle one of these but I may just copy and paste this in case. Thanks for sharing this information!
posted April 13th, 2018
tx for this @mastermek !!! as @kali66 said, i ran into a major issue with a fairly basic gif a year or so back and despite all sorts of experimentation was never able to make the blooming thing work... which was bizarre, because i had done a few gifs before then that had worked...
posted April 13th, 2018
this is really hypnotizing to watch btw!!!!
posted April 13th, 2018
@northy Hope it helps for your next experiment. Let me know if you need help one time.

I've already watched it for hours :-) I keep focusing on that last frame that is slightly darker...
posted April 13th, 2018
@olivetreeann Your welcome. Just give it a go!
posted April 13th, 2018
This is really a fun cinemagraph!

Would love to make something like this. What editing software would you need?
posted April 13th, 2018
@kali66 thanks for the heads up :)
posted April 13th, 2018
wonderful work, thanks
posted April 13th, 2018
No idea how you've done it but it looks great and as @northy said it's rather hypnotising to watch!
posted April 14th, 2018
@mastermek What a lot of experimenting and trial & error! As @kali66 mentioned, over the last few years on 365 attempts at posting animated GIFs or cinemagraphs has not only been difficult, they've been a huge time-sync taking hours of effort. Maybe some motivation and re-reading your thread will provide the extra push needed to try one again! Thanks for the explanation!

@houdiniem @overalvandaan @northy @olivetreeann @kali66
posted April 14th, 2018
@mikegifford thanks. I’m looking forward to your experiment. I will try some more myself. It’s fun but quite some work indeed.
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