Plotagraphs – Trey Ratcliff

NEW NEWS July 2017!

Plotagraph Pro is now even more affordable. The team there have listened to your feedback and now you can subscribe to the software using various plans from free up to $49 a month with no minimum contract. For most people, the $19.99 plan will be more than enough but even if you choose the free option, you can enable the extra features for a day when needed for just $4.99! You can also cancel any time…not that you will, because it’s super awesome. Anyway, check out what you can do with the software below…

What is a Plotagraph?

It’s a moving photograph, kinda. I suppose that’s the best way to say it! Even better, it’s incredibly easy and fun! You can simply upload any photo you like and then use some really fun options to animate it. And no, it’s not a cinemagraph — all you need is a single JPG and no additional image or video files.

You can grab it on the Plotagraph Pro site.


Pretty sweet eh?

That photo above is from Burning Man. It was made from a still photo that I shot during one of the burn nights. You can immediately see the amazing potential for this Plotagraph tool. The situations in which you can use these truly organic animations are limitless.

By the way, if you’d like to know more about Burning Man, here’s an extended article I wrote about it. I also have a portfolio of many “non-moving” Burning Man photographs in my portfolio.

This is a great way to breathe new life into any photo you’ve ever taken. It works great in so many conditions… clouds, moving water, grasses, hair, flowers, water, fire, etc. When you look at the new portfolio above, you’ll see how fun it is. Note that because these are all multi-framed, it may take a moment or two for the whole thing to load before you see it flow smoothly.

Works on any computer/OS

It’s completely web-based software, so it doesn’t matter if you are Mac / Windows / Linux, whatever. It’s also extremely fast because everything is happening on remote blazing servers.

How does it work?

You upload any photo then you use the online software to define the areas that you want to keep static and the parts you want to move. After that, you use cool directional arrows to describe where and how you want the motion to flow. There’s also options to set the speed, smoothness, and more. You can get a live preview in the web browser and then export it as an GIF, MOV, or MP4. Easy as pie and supa fun!

Easy to use

This is a good example of a JPG I uploaded. You can see how I masked out most of the tree and ground and added animation vectors to the sky. This one is very simple in that I have everything going in the same direction. As you can imagine, you don’t always have to make it this simple and you can have animations go in many directions and different speeds in various bits of the picture.


Here’s a bit more complex of an example with many vectors. This one may look a bit more complex because I turned on the “Mesh” layer that shows all the triangles and interconnectedness. I’m working on some tutorials now to talk more about how it works!

Quick Tutorial Video

…is right here!

More of Trey’s Plotagraphs

I have a whole portfolio dedicated to Plotographs over on their site. Remember, these sometimes take a little while to load because these are animated GIFs (you can also make MP4 or MOV files), but after they do, they will flow like Owen Wilson’s hair on a jog.

For now, here’s a handful more that I have made. If you think this kind of thing is cool, share with your family and friends!


Here’s one of my favorite photos from Paris, brought to a new kind of animated life!

This is a fun one from Mount Cook here in New Zealand. One of the smoothest things about this program is how you can barely see the animation “looping”. I don’t know about you, but I just kind of stare at it, mesmerized.

To see more, check out my Plotagraph Portfolio. Remember, it takes a moment to load the whole flow based on the speed of your internet connection!


Q: How do you get the file on Facebook?

A: It’s SUPER SIMPLE. In the Plotagraph software just export an MP4 file. I suggest sticking to 1920 or 1280 for the width. File type will be MP4, framerate 25 and duration 14s. Once you’ve downloaded the file, create a Facebook post just as normal and click the option to add a photo/video. Select your Plotagraph and post. Done!

Q: How do you get the Plotagraph on Instagram?

You have to take the video and get it on your mobile device where you have Instagram. Inside Plotagraph Pro export an MP4 with a duration of 14s and width of 1280. Then, I download that and use Airplay to get the video to my iPad and then upload that with Instagram.

Q: How do you get the MP4 on Twitter?

Oh that’s an easy one. You can upload the MP4 right to Twitter like a JPG… no issues!

Q: Any other Social Media sharing tips?

Yes! Funny you should ask!

1) Pinterest has silly small file size limits so don’t be afraid to export at something like 10fps and a shorter duration.

2) G+ likes GIF’s over MP4.

2b) How do you say “GIF” out loud when talking to other humans? Hard G. The G in GIF is short for Graphics, which is a hard G, unlike, say, Giraffe or Gacking off to webcam jirls.

3) Hashtag #Plotagraph to help other plotagraphers discover you!

4) When I post WordPress here at, I upload a GIF that us under 15MB right into WP. I’ve found that hosting the GIF other places doesn’t really work.

  • Malcolm Campbell

    Trey – as always your photos are beautiful and the software is great – but $300 per year for a one trick pony seems very steep compared to PS & LR for 1/2 that – or am I missing something?

  • dodsonmd

    re: Plotagraph

    Hey Trey, as usual, great info, and interesting clever product. But I definitely agree the price/value here for the personal photographer is ludicrous. The cost of things is important to many of us, so how about using some of your influence on the software producers and come up with an individual price plan, not just a pro level price. Most of us will not be generating income with our images, but we do like new ideas. Presenting this as ‘useful software, don’t pay attention to the price’, is a bit annoying.

  • Stu – SIC

    Hey, thanks for the comment. Trey has mentioned the pricing feedback to them so I’m sure they have some plans in mind… when they are implemented we’ll just have to wait and see!

  • #ditto
    The current price is something that will keep this from catching on or becoming something we see much of.

  • Adam J. Osiecki

    This seems like a great animation assistance. I understand If I duplicated a photo in AE, put a mesh warp position key and masked out individual sections multiple times with a heavy-feathered edge then pre-comp and change the opacity values and duplicate that layer and change a mode value.. maybe overlay. Or buy this haha. I could see Adobe buying this as a plugin like how Maxon C4D has become interwoven in the Creative programs. Have you ever considered working with Adobe? Price is right.

  • Mark Connolly

    If the price is putting you off, try the iPad version for about €6 one off or $5. It’s really fantastic to use and well worth the money – then you can decide if you want to go further.

  • Pedrography

    Is it possible to use 3 source images and then blend into 1, instead of just using 1 source image ?

  • Stu – SIC

    You can only load one image per project into Plotagraph. (That said, you can replace that image so, as one example, if part way through you found an object in a river was causing issues you could remove it in Photoshop then upload the “fixed” image and have it use the same animation/anchor points)

  • Emma

    So with an iPad / iPhone I can make a one-off payment to buy it outright for $5 or $6. But for a PC I have to pay over $300 a year just to RENT IT?
    How is that fair? 🙁
    I want to buy the product, but not at that price, and not only for hire.

    And I’ve heard there are some cheaper deals if you apply to join their social thing, roll your left trouser leg up, hop up and down and sing ‘Hey Macarena!’ But I just want to buy, not rent, the product at a fair price. Not join the cult of Plota, though I’m sure it’s lovely.

  • Stu – SIC

    Hey Emma, the desktop version is far more powerful and has more features than the iPad app and so is priced to reflect this. I’ll pass on your feedback though.

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