Documentation:Animated GIFs

From UBC Wiki

What is GIF animation?

GIF animation is an animated image in a GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) format. Do you remember the time when GIF animation was very popular back in the web? Often, GIF animation can be based on an existing work.

GIF animation by Tobias Rothe. He used public domain images to recreate a GIF.

Why use GIF animation?

GIF animation makes static image live. It makes still images more interesting, enthusiastic and enjoyable. It is a very powerful way to catch attention and deliver message to people.

GIF animation can be used in different ways:

  • Making a public domain/archive image into an animated GIF - This is what GIF it up did it. GIF it up is an international competition organized by the Digital Public Library of America. Competitors create GIF animations using public domain images. All of the works from competition are distributed under Creative Commons license so you can use the work and remix with as long as you credit.
  • Using animated GIFs to your website and/or blog - animated GIFs are eye-catching and vibrant so it is a perfect to use it in the web environment. GIF animations also have stronger story-telling element compared to still images.

Adding to this, as a creator, you will learn essential skills during the process of creating a GIF animation:

  • Remix and appropriation: By remixing an existing historical or cultural work, it deepens the understanding of the original work.
  • Skills: By remixing a work, you can learn a lot of skills at once. Including copyright literacy, digital literacy, research skill, image-editing skill, artistic skill, and etc.

Types of GIF Images


Stereograms from historical images

Stereograms is one of the easier GIF animation to make. It is an appropriate method if you want the remixed image to look "live" . The easiest way to create an animation is by using

Photo series to GIF

When Elvis meets Nixon

Photo series to GIF is a GIF based on a series of photograph. You just repeat 2 images

Manipulating images

Wikipedia in rainbow color

You can make GIFs by manipulating the image. For example, adding colors or removing elements from GIFs, like the GIF image above.

If you are more advanced, you can crop part of the image, and animate it like the GIF image below:

GIF animation by Tobias Rothe. He used public domain images to recreate a GIF.

How tos

Overview of GIF and GIF making for beginners

The video below is a 1 hr webinar from the Digital Public Library of America workshop. The workshop covers on history of animated gifs, significance and benefits on using GIF and how to find and make gifs.

0:00 Overview and history of animated GIF
9:45 Benefit of using animated GIF
10:44 Copyright concerns for animated GIF
12:00 Where to find animated GIF
13:45 Types of animated GIF images
15:19 Types of animated GIF images - GIF images that are relatively easy to create
25:15 How to make a GIF - tools
26:13 Making GIFs using makeagif
32:20 Making GIFs using Stereoranmator

Advanced GIF-Making Techniques

The video below is for people who want to take further step in developing animated GIFs using public domain images. The presenter is using Photoshop but you can re-create by using other photo editing software such as GIMP.

Where to find animated GIFs

  • GIPHY - GIPHY is almost like a Google search engine for GIFs. Be wary of copyright, as some GIF can be infringing copyright.
  • GIF it Up - All of the contestant works' are in creative commons licensed ( CC-BY 3.0 License )

Where to get images to make animation

Tools for making GIFs

Online tools

  • makeaGif - Free animated GIF maker. The video above (DPLA Workshop: GIF Making 101 (September 21, 2016) has a walkthrough on how to create a GIF using makeagif starting from 26:13.
  • Stereoranmator Free stereograph GIF maker. The video above (DPLA Workshop: GIF Making 101 (September 21, 2016) has a walkthrough on how to create a GIF using Stereoranmator starting from 32:20.

Desktop tools