From Hokey To Hip: Animated GIF Goes To Hollywood!!
Early animated GIFs were pretty simple. Flashing lights were popular. Starting with version CS2, you could build animated GIFs entirely in Photoshop (earlier versions also required ImageReady). Here’s a video tutorial by Howard Pinsky which shows how to construct a “flashing lights” GIF similar to the one shown below.
Using just a few frames, you can construct a humorous animation, like the, um, exotic dancer shown below. This RDesign tutorial shows how to construct a simple GIF animation in Photoshop CS2. This Russell Brown tutorial shows two different approaches to creating a 5-frame animation in Photoshop CS3.
Recently, animated GIFs have acquired a new cachet– and a new name: cinemagraphs. Photographer Jamie Beck and graphics artist Kevin Burg are credited with coining this term. They’ve written this very short history of cinemagraphs.
One of their images is shown below. It’s one of the most common types of cinemagraphs: billowing hair and/or clothing in an otherwise still photograph. You can see more of their work at cinemagraphs.com.
Below is a good example of my own personal favorite type of cinemagraph: the animation is restricted to a single individual or element in what is otherwise a still photograph. The effect is mesmerizing. It reminds me of certain episodes of Rod Serling’s original Twilight Zone television series, where individuals become trapped in a static or frozen world.
Given their potential for easy laughs, it’s not surprising to find cinemagraphs that
feature movie stills– a return to hokiness!! Here’s one from The Shining, starring
Jack Nicholson and his eyebrows…
You can view more movie cinemagraphs at Arshad Cini’s excellent DesignBeep blog.
What do you think? Have animated GIFs evolved, or are they just wearing fashionable new clothes? Hope you’ll leave a comment.