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Even a Cat can Animate a GIF

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Stupid mailbox

Almost as much as grey page backgrounds, under construction barricades, and nested HTML tables, few things define the web of the 1990s as the animated GIF.

It’s been rewarding and nostalgic to see the wave of resurgence in the lead up to the ds106 open course that should lift off this week.

It’s been fun to watch all the variations people are trying ***before the course even starts*** name one course anywhere, online or down your lecture hall, that has people doing assignments before they are assigned, before the course even starts.

People are using different methods, tool, and sharing their recipes. The best kinds of assignments to me are ones where there is more than one way to complete them.

That is certainly turned up to 11.

I’ve played mine out too.

It’s not really a place to criticize, but I’d think the point is not just to animate anything. Sure it’s neat, and subtly, it is a media that will play on almost any device, even iOS (curiously, saving an animated GIF from a web page on my iPad results in a static image in the photos app).

And it’s not really an assignment yet, but were it up to me, I’d make careful study of the Examples on the treasures of If We Don’t Remember Me site.

These are not just to render the action in a scene. In a minimalist way, they capture the moment, an expression, in just a few frames. It’s not to capture the car blowing up crashing into a truck scene, it’s perhaps the flickering and widening of the drivers eyes before the crash.

On a web page these are subtler, as they look at first glance like static images, the movement is subdued, almost minimal.

Were it me making the assignments, I’d make them limited by frame numbers or file size. I’d make it to capture the message of the moment, or action, in the characters.


“We’re a generation of men raised by woman. I’m wondering if another woman is really the answer we need.”

And that one has a lot of motion for one among this collection.

Anyone can animate a mailbox– let’s make art, dammit!

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