What Is Cinemagram?

Create and share beautifully animated photos

Cinemagram logo


Cinemagram was an iOS app that allowed users to animate their photos — either whole sections or portions of it — called a "cine." The end result was a cross between a photo and a video. (A GIF, basically.)

Users could film a short video through the app and then use their fingers to select the portion of the video they want to be animated. What differentiated Cinemegram from other GIF apps was that a user had full control over what portions of the photo they wanted to be animated, making it look more like a creative work of art than a full, standard GIF.

For example, a user might have recorded a video of the wind rustling through a tree. They might choose to make all of the branches move throughout the whole animation or select as little as one branch to be animated.

Using Cinemagram

The app interface closely resembled Instagram and was built similarly like a social network. The main “friends” tab displayed a scrollable feed of cines posted by friends. When users first signed up for a Cinemagram account, the app would automatically connect them to any friends who were already using it.

Capturing and Creating a New Cine

The process of creating a cine went beyond simply snapping a photo and posting it. The app asked users to film a short video by tapping the record button. Once they finished recording, they could choose the section of the video they wanted to use as the cine. The time limit for each animated cine was about 2 to 3 seconds.​

After selecting the section of the video and pressing “Next,” the app asked users to use their finger to draw on the section they wanted to be animated. The rest of the GIF would remain still. As mentioned previously, users had the freedom to use their finger to select the entire video for animation or just a small section.

Users could edit their cines as many times as they wanted before they permanently set the animation. They could even alter the size of the selection paintbrush and the speed (slower or faster) of the animation. Like Instagram, vintage filters could be added to finish it off as well.

Social Networking With Cinemagram

Because Cinemagram was built to be a social network of its own, other people in user networks could see their new cines in their personal feed. They could like friends’ cines and leave comments, just like any other social media app.

Before publishing a cine, users could add a title, tags, a location, and share it on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Users also had profiles that they could edit within the app so they could change or update their picture, username, website or bio.

Visiting the “activity” tab showed users all the interaction from their followers. The “explore​" tab, let users look through cines and find new users to follow.

Cinemagram and the Rise of the GIF

The Cinemagram team experienced wild success in 2012 due to the popularity of the animated GIF, but unfortunately for Cinemagram, the app's success was short-lived and was shut down a few years later.