Picture of Create an action sequence with a series of pictures
It is very rewarding to create an image that conveys much more than what can be captured in a single picture. Whether it is baby’s first steps or an Olympic gymnast, the process at work here is conveying motion in a static image.

Stitching multiple images together is a form of time-lapse photography. You are displaying a change in an object’s position over time. In traditional time-lapse work the output is a video, however here we will go through the steps to place each frame on top of the other allowing the viewer to re-play the action in their mind.

Photo sequencing only works when the object moves across a static background. A dog running through a series of tricks at a show works well, a runner coming directly at the camera does not.
Subjects can be anything from a bird in flight to a snowboarding jump, all you need is a camera with an Action Sequence mode, a computer and the patience to experiment.

Photographer: Ethan Ford

Step 1: Set up your canvass, align the images.

Picture of Set up your canvass, align the images.
First off you will need a graphics application that can handle multiple layers. www.gimp.org is a free open source application similar to Adobe's Photoshop. You will find some steps much easier if you have a graphics pen. Using a mouse is OK but a little cumbersome. I recommend whatever you can afford from www.wacom.de

Picture yourself with your series of photographs in hand and you start to lay them out on a table. In the digital world this is called the canvass. Create your canvass with a height double that of the image and as wide as all your images end to end. That is if you had 3 pictures, each 800 by 600 pixels then your canvass should not be around 2400 by 1200 pixels. Its fairly easy to adjust this later if you find yourself running out of room, but making it too big might slow your computer down.

Now you will place your images on the canvass. However, instead of laying them all together as you would on a table, they each have their own layer. There is one important rule to follow, place the first image in the first layer, image 2 on the second layer, etc.

If the photographer has panned the camera during the sequence then you need to line up the background. In the example here I used the horizon for vertical alignment and spaced the rider evenly for horizontal alignment, the waves were moving to so I had no other common point of reference between images. Tip: start by aligning image 1 & 2, turn all other images to 'invisible' and set image 2 to 50% transparent. Then move image two around until you are set. Repeat with image 3 at 50% over 2 and so forth.
All lined up, on to the next step, image editing.
Tookayo4 years ago
Hope you like this too
radiorental (author)  Tookayo4 years ago
again, very cool! it almost looks like he's jumping out of the pool. I guess that's because my mind might correlate the nearest shot to being the last shot, maybe?

One might have that first impression because of the way the last picture was taken before entering the pool.

berickson53 years ago
What do you think about this? Thanks for the help!!
Sean lapse 1.jpg

Awesome. By the way, you took the pics or downloaded them? In case you downloaded them, could you give the site please?

F-ing Splendid
radiorental (author)  berickson53 years ago
Is there an android app for it.. or could i send you my video on facebook and you can do it for me and send me pic?
dgriesemer1 year ago
Do they have an iphone app for this from apple app store????
Yea. It's call Clipstro.
IanW1 dgriesemer10 months ago

And that right there folks is why people can always make money

I'm confused... usually coordinates are listed as x-plane by y-plane. So if I were to double the height and make the width equal to all pictures end to end with 3 800x600 pictures, shouldn't the canvas be 1600x1800?

asadat2 years ago
I am really very much pleased to be acquainted with this type of article which increased my knowledge a lot.I will try to be a regular reader of this writer .
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animes254 years ago
hope you like the photo
radiorental (author)  animes254 years ago
Very cool, I like the way you've blurred the background to make your job easier. I would touch up the guy's legs on the right just to finish that off.. it caught my eye.

But otherwise - really nice work (o;
I assume this is how skateboarding magazines do it? Very cool.
What the? How did this get put up again?
radiorental (author)  fungus amungus9 years ago
Craft mag contacted me with respect to publishing it, I felt it was not up to O'Reilly's high standard of content so I made some improvements. In doing so, you're hokey 2 bit, steam powered, shoe string and buggy db kept hanging every time you clicked the All Steps button. So I decided to republish it, the older version will be taken down when it suits me. You're welcome.
Are you using Firefox on a mac? We've got a bug that causes some projects to freeze Firefox when viewed with all steps.
stasys ewilhelm6 years ago
I use firefox it neeeever frfeezes
Aeshir ewilhelm8 years ago
Yeah! So get Opera!
radiorental (author)  ewilhelm8 years ago
Another bug, I cant delete the older instructable, on win/fox
radiorental (author)  ewilhelm8 years ago
anything less would be backward. Do you need a detailed fault report? or are you on top of it?
"hokey 2 bit, steam powered, shoe string and buggy" hey, thats not very nice...
iono, that's kinda weird.... perhaps something to do with the recent changes?
this is awesome! I always wondered how they did those type of pictures. I will do this with me doing a backflip into a pool. Thanks for the help!
amcq8 years ago
Good Instructable. Here's an example of a Panoramic Action Image. I actually panned from right-to-left for these images, and there is a slight overlap of each image, which allowed me to use "PanoTools Assembler", or any Panoramic Stitcher program, to put them together, then just had to do some post-processing in Photoshop to make each airplane visible in it's own photo.
Black Jelly8 years ago
were is the string hes holding on to?
its a wind kite used for wind surfing
whoah, when i first saw the pic, i tohught it was a bunch of people riding together... cool