A (Partially) Animated World by Julien Douvier

Experimentation and discovery can lead to some killer Photoshop work, as seen in French artist Julien Douvier’s cinemagraphs. As a visual effects artist, he creates many different outputs, but especially loves what cinemagraphs are able to showcase in just a few frames. As you’ll see in Julien’s work, the juxtaposition of stillness and movement creates a result that you just can’t look away from.

We caught up with Julien to get a peek into his creative process:

If you had to pick, what would be your favorite cinemagraph you’ve created? What stands out to you about it?

Well, it’s hard to pick only one among… a lot of them, but I think this is one of my favourites:

I like its paradoxal aspect. It’s illogical in the way the people and the cyclists are perfectly still, but the tramway has no problem moving properly behind them. The motion blur around the people increases this paradox between static and moving elements. It’s something impossible to see in reality, and it isn’t something easy to create in these images, which is what I like about this one.

Do you have any must-know tips for creating cinemagraphs?

The more you plan ahead for an image before shooting it, the easier it will be to finalize afterwards. I always try to imagine the final image before and while shooting it, because a lot of little details can impact the final result or cause problems when creating the looping image.

I also have to keep a few things in mind about .gif files when planning or shooting an image to keep the file small so it can quickly be viewed online, like the duration of one loop or the amount of moving pixels. If the loop is too long and a lot of elements are moving in the image, there will be a lot of info in the .gif file, making it too large to display quickly on the internet.

If you had to describe your artistic style in three words, what would they be?

Simple, natural, polished.

I like to keep most of my images as natural as possible in terms of visual appearance, to emphasize the moving elements. I also like that my images appear very close to reality, like pictures or video sequences from everyday scenes, but still slightly different from what we can see in reality, mostly because in reality, almost nothing is infinitely looping like this.

Any big career goals for this year that you’d like to share?

I’m currently working as a freelancer creating various kinds of content (video and photo production, in addition to animated images), and I want to progress even more in this way. Since my animated images are in many ways a mix between photography and video, I’m learning both subjects at the same time and I keep progressing day after day.

However, I want to be able to focus on one particular subject, like “photography only” projects, or creating videos/films. I don’t want people to think my animated images are the only thing I’m able to do, which is why I’m not focusing too much on them and instead continuing to try new things. But I’m not the kind of person who plans things ahead a lot – I’ll see what the future will bring.

To see more of Julien’s work, you can check him out on his website, Facebook, Behance and Tumblr.