Cinemagraphs, the artistic still photographs in which a small, repeated movement occurs, can be a fantastic way for journalists to grab people's attention as they're scrolling through their social feeds.

They can make posts stand out and offer something a little different to the common stock image, creating the illusion that the viewer is watching an animation.

Although this effect is more commonly produced with paid-for desktop software and tools, you can get started with these free Android apps that can help you see what works for your media organisation's style.

They all function slightly differently, so it is worth playing around with them and deciding which one you prefer.

Motion Photo Cinemagraph

Motion Photo Cinemagraph allows you to add artificial pixel motion to a photo taken within the app, or one that you've taken in the past – even if you hadn't planned on making a cinemagraph with it.

Once you've decided on an image to edit, load it into the app and you'll notice a toolbar at the bottom of the screen. The options available serve two functions – to create movement and prevent movement.

The arrow button on the far left will create a straight animation in your photo – great if you need something to move in a straight line, like the sky or water. Tap and drag your finger along the screen in the direction and place you want the movement, from start to finish – the shorter the arrow, the more frantic and fast the animation will be.

The S-shaped arrow with multiple nodules will allow you to make the image move in a curved or abstract motion. The slider that appears when you tap the arrow symbol will determine how tight the movement is on your picture – the more nodules, the more animated the movement.

Screenshots from the Motion On Video app.
Screenshots from the Motion Photo Cinemagraph app

Prevent areas of the image from moving by tapping the paint button and colouring the parts you want static. Preview your cinemagraph by pressing the play icon, altering if you feel necessary.

When you share directly from the app, you can choose the resolution and speed, which is useful if you need a video of a particular length for social media. The video will be saved in your gallery but can also be posted directly to platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.


Unlike Motion On Video, Cinemagraph lets users reveal natural movement in their creations, by getting them to film a video of their scene first. You can't add pre-recorded footage, so all cinemagraphs have to be taken within the app.

Tap and hold down the circular record button which will capture a maximum of 24 frames of footage. There's a timer option if needed, which can help if you want to be in shot. For a better quality cinemagraph, use a tripod when you're recording, to ensure your footage is steady.

Screenshots from the Cinemagraph app

The app will show the first frame in the video, and encourage you to swipe your finger over the screen where you would like to see movement. Your video will be underneath.

Make use of the tools on-screen, where you can alter the size of your brush and how well the moving part blends into the background.

Once you're happy, save and share directly to your social media channels, or store in your camera roll.


Fotodanz also encourages users to take movement from a video, making cinemagraphs more life-like, by circling around the parts you'd like to move.

Get started by creating an account with your email address.

You'll be taken straight to the camera mode when you open the app, so compose your picture and start shooting by tapping the capture icon. Hold your phone still for three seconds as it records a video.

Next, simply circle the areas you wish to animate and tap the tick icon. If you'd like to re-draw your animated highlights, tap the cross and double-tap the screen. You can have up to six multiple moving parts.

Screenshots from the Fotodanz app

When you are happy with your creation, share directly to Facebook, Twitter or Whatsapp, or email it back to your newsroom. There will be a watermark in the lower-right hand corner, which can be removed for 69p.

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