Archive for the ‘animated gifs’ Category


First Time Teaching Animated GIFs

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

I just blogged about the animated GIF I made while showing the Breakfast Club edition of ds106 how to make animated GIFs. What struck me after writing that post was that it’s the first since teaching this class that I actually taught any group of people how to make an animated GIF. There are a few reasons for that: 1) we have a few tutorials for this kind of thing, 2) I’ve never before taught ds106 in a classroom full of computers with Photoshop, and 3) I’m usually much lazier.

All that said, I had my chance today and I didn’t want to squander it. So I spent some time this morning consulting video guru Andy Rush so I could be sure I had a workflow that would make creating animated GIFs seamless even on lab computers that can be locked down and hostile to new programs. I think we came up with a pretty good formula, and I’ll sketch that out below for good measure.

We didn’t want the overhead of DVD ripping or any of that, so we decided to make them get the clips they want to work on from YouTube using, in particular the File2HD option, and be sure to select the mp4 version of the YouTube clip (click the get files button, the big, honking Download buttons above and below are bad ads).

Once they had the clips with the scene they want to use I had them open MPEG Streamclip (which I installed on the lab computers beforehand, and it didn’t seem to need any special admin permissions in this lab). MPEG Streamclip allows them to select the precise in and out points of the short scene they want to animate and trim away the rest. Once they have done this they need to export it as an mp4 file (this is where these directions for PhotoShop diverge for GIMP which would require them to export the video as individual image files).

Finally, they import the video to Photoshop (we are using CS 5.5 on the PC) and it is Import–>Video to layers. After that they simply go to Window–>Animation and animate the GIF and save for the web.

It was amazing, I showed them how to do this process in about 15 minutes, and they spent the next hour and 15 minutes making GIFs, and I have to say I was very impressed. Their files were a bit bloated, and we talked about that, but over all there work so far has been amazing. I am blown away. Here are a few samples!

I love that this student figured out adding text to animated GIFs. #4life!

This one is a bit long and bloated for its own good, but I love it.

Game on college students, you need to bring your A-game to catch up with these Breakfast Club all-star ds106ers who are 4life in only 2 weeks!

TerrorVision Animated

Monday, June 25th, 2012

One of the craziest and most memorable films of the 80s is the ultra-camp, TV alien invasion film TerrorVision (1986). I kind of think of it as the b-film alter ego of Videodrome. I wrote about TerrorVision back in 2008 when I had dreams of doing a series of posts about b-movies in the 80s and the rise of VCR culture—I never got around to it, surprise, surprise, and the post still stands as a monument to my blogging whimsy.

Anyway, I’ve been reading more and more Tumblr blogs because it seems like most of the interesting animated GIFs and assorted design work is happening in that space, for whatever reason.One of the sites I ran across that I really enjoy is the “read comics till your eyes bleed” blog that is a constant stream of images, animated gifs, etc. Given tumblr’s design it’s hard to know what’s original to the blog and what’s not (one of the immediate visual limitations of tumblr as an admitted newbie) but whether original or not it is a pretty interesting collection of media artifacts, it comes recommended. What pushed me to write this post, however, was the fact that there was actually an animated GIF from TerrorVision, which throughout the 90s and 200s has gained a pretty loyal cult fanbase with good reason—so bad it’s so good.

If we don’t, remember me

Monday, June 11th, 2012

I was watching the noir cult classic Kiss Me Deadly for the first time in many years last night. It’s an amazing film, and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. And when you consider both Kiss Me Deadly and Night of the Hunter were made the same year, one would have to assume 1955 would remain the most important year for hardcore film violence until 1967-68 when Bonnie & Clyde and The Wild Bunch are released. Kiss Me Deadly is deeply disturbing on many levels, but unlike Bonnie and Clyde and The Wild Bunch little of it happens on screen, it’s all offscreen but communicated psychically with kicking feet, ear piercing screams, and deeply disturbing instruments of torture. Kiss Me Deadly is a textbook example of how to haunt and horrify the audience by creating a simple image that forces viewers to interpolate the horror.

But I told you all that, just to tell you this. While watching the first 10 minutes of Kiss Me Deadly (one of the greatest intros of any film ever) I realized that the title for the blog that transformed the way I imagined animated GIFs, If we don’t, remember me, was from the intro to Kiss Me Deadly. You can see it at 8:25 of this clip on YouTube. I can’t say I was totally surprised since the proprietor of the IWDRM blog obviously knows and loves film, but I was struck when I went back to the IWDRM archives to find there isn’t one animated GIF from Kiss Me Deadly, so the following GIF is my meager homage to both the great Kiss Me Deadly as well as the proprietor of IWDRM, whose art has inspired me to have fun not only thinking about, but in some real way interacting with, all those scenes that have so deeply affected me over the course of my movie watching life.

And this next GIF is not so much an homage as it is a capturing of what has gotta be one of the earliest telephone message machines in cinema. When I first saw this Kiss Me Deadly in L.A. during the early 1990s I was dumbstruck by the presence of a telephone answering machine in the 1950s, how could it be? Turns out the first commercially available answering machine was available in 1949—how crazy is that? Some one should do a animated GIF homage to all answering machine in film :)

Master of the Flying Guillotine Animated GIFs

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

And that puts me at about 24 stars for visual assignments. NOBODY!