This cinemagraph app was used by the Grammys to add subtle animation to Instagram posts

It's no secret social media is oversaturated with images, and it can be hard for any creative individual, brand or business to stand out with a static photograph alone.

A new photo animation application used by the Recording Academy GRAMMYs Instagram account (as it documented the awards night) adds extra depth to images by creating a subtle looping motion on whatever subject or object you choose.

Throughout the course of the Grammys, as photographs of stars were posted to the official Instagram account, you'll notice there was something a little different about them. 

See Bruno Mars’ shimmering jacket for example, or the camera flashes surrounding Camila Cabello.

The effects are created using Plotagraph. Starting out as a project between a small group of artists, Plotagraph is now a desktop app for Mac, Windows and Linux – with iOS and Android apps due out soon.

There are two versions of Plotagraph. The free version is very feature-limited – you can only use anchor points to pick points to animate to/from and others for areas to lock so they’re not affected to by the animation. You can also output only to the ‘Plotaverse’ - ie Plotagraph’s online gallery.

The full Plotagraph Pro app lets you output gifs and videos for use on Instagram and other social networks. You can use masks to fine tune which area to animate and ignore, creating them using anchor points or brushes – which you’d need if you were to create something similar to Bruno Mars’ jacket. There’s also a tool that automates the process to some degree.

Plotagraph has been used by travel influencers as a fresh take on scenic images, as seen in this photograph of The Wave in Arizona, or the whirlpool motion at a large medicinal outdoor bath in Budapest.

But you can also be more adventurous with the application, adding effects to your 2D or 3D artworks that you post to Instagram, such as swirling smoke. Just have a look at #Plotagraph on Instagram, or the Plotaverse homepage, to get inspired.

To use Plotagraph you need to register (you have to be at least 18 years old to use it) and download the app. Plotograph Pro costs $4.99 (around £3.55) for a 24-hour trial. Monthly memberships cost £17.99 or €20.99 inc VAT, or US$19.99 plus tax.

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