Fotodanz for Android review: It's not Cinemagram, but it still works really well

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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars 1 user review

The Good Fotodanz is an incredibly simple app for making cinemagraphs (partially animated GIFs).

The Bad There are no options to remove watermark, or customize video length, speed, or other loop settings.

The Bottom Line While it may not offer quite the customization options of the popular iOS app Cinemagram, Fotodanz's simplicity is certainly its biggest strength. That said, it is a fantastic app for creating cinemagraphs.


8.1 Overall
  • Features and Support 7.0
  • Installation and Setup 10.0
  • Interface 9.0
  • Performance 8.0

Similar to the megapopular Cinemagram app for iOS, Fotodanz for Android lets you create cinemagraphs using your mobile device's camera. If you've never seen a cinemagraph, it's a bit like a hybrid between a photo and a video. While it's mostly a static image, a cinemagraph contains an isolated area with a looping movement. So, imagine taking a still photo of a bustling crowd, but being able to "animate" a single isolated person within that crowd. These are the types of scenes a cinemagraph can capture. Typically, creating a cinemagraph requires photo-editing software and compositing skills, but with Fotodanz (as well as with Cinemagram for iOS), the process is dramatically simplified and only takes a few seconds.

To start using Fotodanz, compose your photo like you normally would, and press capture. Fotodanz will snap the still photo, plus it will record 3 seconds (by default) of video for you to "animate" your cinemagraph with. A long-press on the Capture screen is supposed to change the record length to 5 seconds, but I couldn't get this setting to work. Instead, I was limited to 3 seconds of movement for my cinemagraph, which was disappointing.

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Trace around the area or areas (up to six) that you want to see animated. The rest of the photo will remain static. Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Once you've snapped your photo, Fotodanz takes you to the Edit screen, where you can isolate and animate up to six different areas of your photo. To do so, simply use your finger to trace around the areas; anything outside of your traced areas will remain static, while anything inside will be replaced with the recorded video. Of course, you want to be as accurate as possible in your tracing, but at the same time, you don't want to trace any areas too small, as that could result in movements being cut off. As you can imagine, a stylus could certainly help in this process, but it is simple enough to trace your photos without one. Plus, if you make a mistake, you can always double tap the screen to start over. Also, if you long-press the Edit screen, you can shuttle through different frames to use as your static starting point.

When you're finished tracing, Fotodanz pushes your almost-complete cinemagraph to the Preview screen, where you can add photo filters similar to those found on Instagram and other photo apps. If you find that you've made a mistake in your tracing, you can hit the Back button to return to the Edit screen. It's important to know that the app also adds a Fotodanz watermark to your finished product. As of now, the app does not let you remove the watermark, but perhaps Fotodanz's developers will release a paid version that does. Finally, Fotodanz saves your cinemagraph as a typical animated GIF file. From the app, you can share it to Facebook or through Gmail. Otherwise, you can access it in your device's gallery and share it from there. It's worth noting that Fotodanz does let you rotate your images, but only after you've already previewed and saved them.

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As you can see, the rest of the screens remain static, while the traced area continuously loops 3 seconds of video. Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

While Fotodanz's simplicity is certainly one of its biggest strengths, I would still love to see a few more features added in future versions. For instance, it would be great to be able to totally customize the video length and to choose which portion to use as the loop. Adjustable speed settings for the looping video and a way to remove the watermark would also be nice.

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