Archive for the ‘Animated Gif’ Category


China Teacup and a Coffee Mug

Friday, July 27th, 2012

While getting ready to make my way for the airport on my final day in Japan, it seems there’s just time enough for one more animated GIF. The clip above is from an elaborate song and dance number from W.C. Fields’ International House. The musical number, from which this post draws its title, takes place in the ballroom of a hotel in Wuhu, China where very curious things are going down. This 1933 Paramount Pictures’ film is another one I must see when I’m back in the states.

I put the animated GIF together last week but have been too busy pulling everything together for today’s departure that there wasn’t time to get it posted. I did however have time to watch an amazing 11 minute clip from International House on the YouTube. Though I’ve never been much of a W.C. Fields fan, I’m feeling an odd desire to further explore his career as I become more interested in old Hollywood. I’m also eager to see performances by several other Hollywood legends who appear in International house such as Franklin Pangborn, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Rudy Vallee, and Bela Lugosi.

My favorite sequence from the YouTube clip is the dialog between Fields and the hotel nurse Gracie Allen. Though not shown in the clip, Allen’s husband George Burns played the hotel doctor. It is an absurd conversation in which the dingy and naive ALlen clearly gets the better of the surly drunkard. After she walks away Fields delivers a flabbergasted line that totally kills me, “The wren’s cuckoo.”

I’d hoped to be able to say more about why I find this film so intriguing but I really have to get my show on the road. Hopefully, I’ll be abe to find a DVD of in the states and post a review at some point – or at least some more animated GIFs.

Metal Mushrooms in Stereo

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

I have been dying to do the Wiggly Stereoscopy assignment by Bill Genereux—it basically uses the animated GIF method to create a 3D effect with just two images. It sounds easier than it really is—nailing it is all in the images you choose—though I must say Norm makes it look easy. Once I had two images I believed would work I wanted to see if I could find some useful tips from folks in ds106 who already did the assignment. Turns out I could, Katie Girard wrote this helpful post that introduced me to the animation filter in GIMP, something I knew nothing about.

Not only can you use the Animation filter to view the image moving through the layers, but you can also change the speed using this helpful tidbit from Katie:

….under Filters >  Animation, I chose Playback….you can see your .gif in action as it rotates between layers. To change the delay between the two frames, select the layer and add a time written in milliseconds using this format: [imagename (nms)] where n = the number of milliseconds. I chose to use 750ms.

The default speed worked well for my stereoscopy, but here is a more specific tutorial for changing the speed at which layers switch in GIMP for anyone interested.

One thing this reinforces for me is how amazing the ds106 assignments repository is. It not only has a ton of great assignments but lists everyone who has done that assignment. Sure some links to example posts will break in time, but the bottom line is it gives other people thinking about what to do ideas, inspiration and even helps them learn some technical details they might not have known otherwise. As time goes on I’m convinced we’ll see more and more tutorials in the assignment repository as well, and to that end this post is the change I want to see ;)

Jumping Jive

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

Recent excursions into Hollywood and pop-culture history have made me realize that there’s a lot of awesome stuff out there that I’d never even knew existed. When I leave Japan next week for a few weeks of R & R before heading to the next chapter, I plan on looking up for some recently discovered films. On the top of my list is Story Weather from which the Nicholas Brothers animated GIF above was captured.

The 6 minute YouTube clip from which 15 frames of a dynamic three second sequence were extracted also features electrifying performances by Cab Calloway and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. According to wikipedia, this 1943 20th Century Fox film featuring an African-American cast is considered one of Hollywood’s best musicals. The wikipedia entry also says that the film was included in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2001.

As I mentioned in a recent podcast, as much as I’d like to learn to dance, it’s a wee bit too late in the game for me. But someday some youngster might come across an animated GIF like the Nicholas Brothers’ Jumping Jive and be inspired to learn how to make such awesome art as they did in the olden days.

Hang Loose Haoles

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Dr. Lawrence Jacoby

I continue to slowly work my way through the four plus hour Northwest Passage fanedit version of Twin Peaks in search of GIF-able sequences. The GIFed scene above is from Dr. Jacoby leaves Conference Room A after a curious conversation with Special Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman and occurs at the two hour mark.

I’m enjoying the combined experience of revisiting these awesome moments of a remarkable TV program while honing my animated GIF assembly skills. It’s kind of a win-win situation. Though there have also been some frustrating moments such as with the image above.

The sequence I originally selected for this loop was 12 frames and included Dr. Jacoby delivering my favorite line from the entire series: “Hang loose haoles.” Jacoby’s gesture and facial expresson looped seamlessly. The only problem was that a slow camera drifting movement caused way too big of a jump between the first and final frame.

The four frames from the GIF above also loop the foreground motion without much seam. But there remains a small version of the background jump.

My preference would be to have Jacoby’s motion isolated against a static background. I’ve gradually been figuring out how to assemble such a background. The Bolger, Hamlisch, and Crosby GIF was my first experiment with this. It is a fairly straight forward process but is also time consuming.

Time permitting, I’ll try to use that same process on some of the Twin Peaks scenes I’ve passed by because of too much background motion.


Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Traffic Signal

Femme Fatale

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Audrey Horne

Just before shooting this electrifying glance at a breakfasting Agent Cooper, young Audrey Horne delivered this priceless line,

Sometimes I get so flushed, it’s interesting. Do your palms ever itch?

Tornado, Revisited

Friday, July 13th, 2012

On Wednesday, @cogdog issued a seven-day-challenge for The Daily Create, and the prompt for Day One (June 11th), was TDC185: Draw a Tornado.  Given that my drawing tools at hand were somewhat limited, I elected to “draw” the requisite tornado using a stylus on my iPhone, and used a photo from the day as my background and ink source. This is the original photo, taken using the Pano app on the phone.

Original PANO photograph (before Tornado)

Original PANO photograph (before Tornado)

To introduce the tornado, I used the clone tool within the iRetouch app, borrowing sections of the existing clouds for paint, trying to introduce swirls (not too successful with that), and saving my work periodically. When it was done, I posted it to Flickr and tagged it with the required tdc185 so it would be added to the assignment page along with the others.

@DoremiGirl was a bit taken aback by what I had “drawn,” …

… but I’m comfortable with the artistic license offered by these sorts of daily challenges. Although am keen to continue to develop my actual drawing skills (for real, with paper and pencils), this was the result for the day.

It wasn’t until I was offloading my photos from the last two days that I came across the successive “saves” of the process, and realized that they might collectively make a nice animated GIF.  As it would turn out, Photoshop CS6 has a Timeline feature where an Animation feature stood in CS3, so it took me a few minutes to get that sorted out (good learning!).  I added in some hand-made “in-between” frames, and here is the result.  (Sorry if it doesn’t represent the proper stages of formation of a tornado — these actually represent the stages I took in drawing this tornado!!

Tornado: TDC185 (animated GIF)

Tornado: TDC185 (animated GIF)

In the Morgue

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Special Agent Dale Cooper

One of my main goals in assembling animated GIFs is to make the loop appear as seamless as possible. To do that in this scene of Agent Cooper after he retrieved a foreign object from beneath Laura Palmer’s fingernail, it was necessary to use layer masking to isolate a single frame of his magnifying glass because the small amount of movement during the two second clip left an undesirable jump.

Because this GIF contains 16 frames with such minimal masking, the file size is 705 kb. Three parameters could have been tweaked to have made the file size smaller. One would have been to have captured fewer frames through either a lower capture rate or shorter clip length. Another would have been to crop some of the original image. The image could also have been rescaled to smaller image size proportions. Done individually or in combination, any of the tweaks above would have significantly lowered the overall impact and quality of the image. This is why I’m less concerned with file size on this recent series of Twin Peaks GIFs than I was with earlier experiments.

I still haven’t tried to manually optimize the colors as was suggested by Mark a while back. But I’m inclined to believe the GIMP does this automatically.

I think I’m going to keep working on this for a while. I’m not sure if there is any grand scheme to recent efforts. As long as it remains fun and brings such personal satisfaction, I see no reason to stop.

“Look How Happy She Is”

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Laura Palmer & Donna Hayward

As mentioned in an earlier tutorial on assembling animated GIFs, I use MPEG StreamClip to select the clip’s start and end points. The selection is then trimmed and the frames are exported as individual png files. It is these individual image files that are then opened as layers in GIMP and then saved as the silent animated GIF file.

I rarely pay attention to the sound and dialog from the film while going about my process. But while working on this clip from the videotape that was found in Laura Palmer’s room, I couldn’t help but notice the line Agent Cooper said to Bobby Briggs durring Bobby’s questioning at the police station over Laura’s murder. This is one instance I wish it were possible to keep the audio linked to the animated GIF file.

Does anyone know if this is even possible?

Twin Peaks – fanedit

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Bobby Briggs

Watching the four plus hour Northwest Passage fanedit of Twin Peaks brought back a bunch of memories. The video claims to be distillation of the mystery surrounding Laura Palmer’s murder. I suppose it works on that level but frankly, I was never much interested in the plot line of David Lynch’s television masterpiece.

I watched it week after week for two years because it was the weirdest and most beautiful thing I’d ever seen on the tube.

I suppose the Northwest Passage fanedit provides a convenient way to either dive-in to or brush up on Twin Peaks. And it also contains several moments that can be turned into animated GIFs for those of us still trying to hone the skills.