make images move

How to Make Still Images Move (Step-by-Step Videos)

Are you ready to create some interesting piece of art with your still photos?

Truly, learning how to make still images move can be fun and rewarding if you take it as a career.

As they often say, “an image says a thousand words.

This is a phrase we have heard for a long time and refers to the fact that humans by nature understand much more what we see than what is expressed by writing.

So how exactly do you make a still image to move. It could be your own photo, a friend’s, or even an object. Watch this video to learn how:

In an evolutionary sense, vision is an innate characteristic of the human while words were created by us.

This means that in today’s world a simple photograph can have more impact on society than the speech of some important person.

This fact has generated that whenever you want to transmit a message you need to use an image instead of a simple informative text.

The birth and proliferation of social networks made images more important in society, having thousands of people make publications of images of all kinds every day:

  • Photos of people
  • Landscapes
  • Food
  • Events that are happening in the present
  • Cartoons, etc.

However, there is something that is displacing images as one of the best ways to transmit messages: videos.

A good video can show much more than a simple image, which is why even special cameras have been created to record videos in a special way, either recording the slowest movement, or showing a 3D perception, among other things.

All this makes us understand that the world of photography is evolving and is expanding towards new horizons.

It is here where the images that move are born. In essence, these images form a kind of video not very long that can be repeated infinitely showing the illusion of never ending.

The use of moving images can be considered as an animation and its use has been extended by all social networks as a way to attract the attention of people who visit a specific account. So, many people wonder how these images can be made.

The truth is that there are many methods with which you can make a still image move, having that these processes are much simpler than you would think.

There are even applications that can do the job of animating an image without having to spend a lot of time.

Then, there are some more specialized programs in the field of image editing such as Photoshop and After Effects, which although they require more time and experience, allow you to get animations of very good quality and with incredible effects, even more if you combine the use of both programs.

This guide will show how you can make an image move in Photoshop and then explain other methods a little simpler but that offer very interesting results.

Make a still image move with Photoshop

Photoshop is the most recognized image editing program in the world, since the simple use of this name is synonymous of image editing.

Then, this program is mainly used to make changes to images or graphics with great ease thanks to the enormous amount of tools that can be used.

In this sense, few people know that Photoshop allows you to move from a still image to an image with apparent movement. This effect is very quick to do and can have a great effect on people.

The best way to understand how this process can be done is to use an example. Imagine that we want the water in this image to move as if it were falling, while the background remains static.

static image

The first step is to create two different layers. A layer can be defined as a part of the image that you want to separate from the other, so that you can configure each part separately.

In this case, the layer that will be created will have the waterfall, having that the layer will go from where the water begins to the point where it ends up falling. This is an example of how it should look:

static image
static image

In the top section of Photoshop you can get a menu of tools that allow you to modify the image.

You will find the option called Window, from which you will see an option menu where you will find the Timeline option and you will select it.

photoshop timeline option

A new options bar appears at the bottom of the screen as shown in the image. With this bar you can control the movements that the layer you want to move will make in a period of time.

However, by default the layer you are working on does not have the amount of parameters you need for the process to work.

To solve this problem you must go to the layers panel and select the Convert to Smart Object option.

convert to smart object

This option allows you to use more tools than will be necessary to perform the process satisfactorily.

As you can see in the following image, three tools appear next to the Timeline option: transform, opacity and style. We are going to use the tool that says transform.

photoshop transform

Next to this option there is an icon of a chronometer, which must be pressed.

The next step is to move the reader from the timeline to the end as shown in the image to later scale the waterfall layer to the bottom, that is to say, lengthening the image of the water as if it were falling lower than the original image.

This is done in a way that shows that the image is moving at the selected time of the timeline, achieving the effect of the movement.

Finally, so that the waterfall does not look long, you can mask the end of the fall with a part of the original image that is going to remain still.

Ready. The first layer that is the cascade will be in motion, while the second layer that has no modification will look like it was completely still, creating the effect you were looking for.

This process can be used with any image, having that the limit is your imagination.

The only thing to do is to separate the objects that you want to move and those that do not on different layers, so that you can configure your timeline individually.

In the same way, you can make both layers move in different directions, among many other things.

This represents the most common way in which you can make an image move in Photoshop.

But an explanation with words is not enough, so we recommend you watch this video, where you can see how the process is much clearer.

Are there other ways to achieve this effect?

Although the use of Photoshop is very common to make edits to images, not everyone knows how to make correct use of the program or even do not know what a layer is in the world of photography.

For these people it is necessary to make use of a simpler process or maybe you just want to know other strategies.

So, among some ways to achieve the movement of an image we can highlight the following:

1. Stop motion

As such, this is not a way to move a simple image through editing, but rather it is the use of different images of the same object but in different positions.

Then, as the images pass quickly one after the other, the effect of very subtle movement is created.

The movement of this type of strategy will depend on the positions of each of the images and how different they are from each other, as well as the number of images.

For example, if you have three images of an object that moves about five centimeters in each image, even if this distance seems small, the movement will look very sharp and forced.

On the other hand, if you have about 10 images where the object moves only one centimeter or half a centimeter, at the moment of joining all you will see a more fluid and more natural movement.

The problem with this way of creating movement is that you are doing more than editing an image, you are creating a video.

2. Puppet tool

A tool that can be found in programs such as After Effects or Photoshop is called a puppet tool.

The basic principle of this tool is to create several points in an image which will keep the plane of said image completely still.

Then, when one of these points moves the rest of them will remain static, the image will move as the point moves, and the illusion of movement will be created.

In this image you can see how this tool is used, taking into account that if the point that is selected is moved, and you will see that the man is moving his head. This effect is very cool and there are many ways to apply it.

3. Use of videos with static elements

Another interesting way to produce movement in an image is using the combination of a video and a static image.

This form of animation is not very complex to perform and does not require much knowledge, but it does require some skills in previously named programs.

Then, you start recording a video of some space that you want to have as background, taking into consideration that this space must be in motion.

Later on above this video you can place an image of some object or person, which represents the element that you want to remain static.

By using programs such as After Effects you can establish which things are going to be moved and what is not, creating at the end a very cool effect of movement between the background and a specific object.

4. Moving Images with Mobile apps

Although moving images are very popular for advertising, most of their uses are carried out on social networks, where people usually only want to publish content to gain followers, and a moving image may be the best option.

To create these images, there are mobile applications that help you to make this work quickly and easily, creating an image that is pleasing to the eye, not as good as in the editing programs, but with a very close quality.


As was said at the beginning, a picture is worth a thousand words, but an image that moves can say much more than that.

The videos are governing the attention of people in all social networks that are currently used and it is for this reason that more and more people want to learn to edit images to move.

This process may seem very difficult, but the truth is that with some practice and patience you can start creating images with movement in a matter of minutes.

Photoshop and After Effects are the two image editing programs that govern the market for the amount of tools they offer to make quality editions of the images.

The proper use of these programs to create movement in images only requires basic knowledge of what is going to be done and the use of some very simple tools.

In this way you can make an image look spectacular, creating a 3D effect on an image that originally did not move.

There are also other ways to create movement, which include the use of several images and even videos.

In any case, the illusion of movement is very interesting to reproduce and guarantees that people will be impacted with your abilities.

You can try any of the mentioned strategies, the choice is yours and the only limit is your own creativity.