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Image editing is not new to the real estate industry. While some agents take their own property photos, the majority hire real estate photography professionals that provide editing services. Small details—such as adding blue sky to a picture that originally displayed a gloomy, gray day—can alter how a home is perceived by potential buyers.

Photos can now be enhanced with new technology that allows users to add animation to an image. The apps are currently being used in artwork or professional portrait and landscape photography, but could easily be used in the real estate industry. Essentially, this technology could “bring homes to life,” making the buying experience more interactive.

While there are a variety of animation apps available, these are the two most popular:

Plotagraph+ Photo Animator
Cost: $4.99
Functionality: This tool can be downloaded as a mobile app, but it is only available for iOS devices. Users can simply add a photo from their iPhone camera and create an animation track by tapping and dragging in the direction of the sought-after motion. Any areas that shouldn’t be animated can be “masked” within the app, and users can adjust the animation speed by dragging a bar. Animated images can be shared on social media platforms as a looping video or Animated PNG.

Cost: $50
Functionality: This is a Photoshop plugin that provides the same functionality as Plotagraph, but with more advanced settings. While more difficult to use, Artymate’s animation capabilities are more realistic than Plotagraph’s. Users can also animate in different ways rather than simply clicking in a specific direction for motion. The product allows users to animate wings to look like they are flapping, and users can add video animation to hair, fabric, smoke, fire, particles, dust and more. This product also allows users to upload the animated clips to social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Here’s how agents can take advantage of these apps.

Liven up the exterior. If a blue sky is already being added to dreary day photographs, why not go the extra step? Agents can add some motion to the sky to create a lively picture with bustling clouds that make the home stand out. Also, agents can take advantage of the surrounding scenery by adding butterfly or bird overlays and putting them into motion. If twilight pictures are used, agents can add twinkling animations to exterior lighting, making the home stand out from the dim backdrop.

Cool off a hot backyard. It’s very important that pool pictures are taken during the warm season when the pool is open and clean. Adding small water motions to the pool can help prospective buyers envision themselves enjoying the calming, cool water on a hot day. Agents can even use the same tool for beach houses by adding some small waves to make the water on the beach come alive.

Portray a busy kitchen. This room is typically the central location for entertaining, regardless of the amount of space in other living areas throughout the home. An active kitchen will transport buyers to visions of hosting friends and family for home-cooked meals. Agents can turn on the kitchen faucet during the photo shoot to then animate the running water. While stovetops are typically left bare for pictures, adding a pan or two with some slight smoky motions can make the picture-viewing experience more interactive.

Warm up a room. For many buyers, a fireplace is part of their must-have list. While they can be the focus of a room with the appropriate decoration, there’s nothing more appealing than a warm fire to make the space more inviting. Agents can use this technology to bring a fire to life, conveying cozy evenings in the living room on a cold winter day.

Create a spa experience. Animation is a great way to point out luxurious features in a bathroom. That rainfall showerhead and pebble tile floor may look beautiful in a photograph, but some minor water motions will make buyers feel like they’re taking part in the spa-like experience rather than just looking at a picture of a home. The same goes for tubs, especially those with jets. Agents can fill the bathtub with water and add bubbling animation to make it more appealing.

Agents can get creative when adding animation to their photos, but they should pay special attention to the promotion of these images. Virtual tours are a great way to garner special attention, and the animated GIFs could be an alternative to the traditional video format. Agents can also use a tablet to showcase the animated pictures during open houses. Posting these photos on social media can increase activity on agents’ pages, and will set the tone of their business as innovative and imaginative. Whatever the approach is, brokerages will have to jump on this quickly to become industry leaders in real estate animation.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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