This week, The Daily Post asks the WordPress community:
Are animated GIFs the stuff of junior highschool hijinks or, are they the political cartoons of the new millennium? What do you think?
My first reaction to this question was, ‘Huh! Those silly little things! Who makes GIF Animations any more? When the web has evolved to PNG and a billion colours, why would anyone even think about a format which has only 256 colours?’
But then… I was reminded of something…
There was a time, when I was obsessed with them. My inbox was full of them. I never had ‘important mails’. But cute cartoons, waving back at me, were important enough for me to collect. These virtual creatures became another collectable item, gathering virtual dust in a folder on the hard disk…
And then, I learnt to animate.
A month-long summer programme introduced to me, persistence of vision, and frame-by-frame animation. An acquaintance showed me the terrifying interface of Macromedia Flash. One look at it, and I came running back to the comfort of MS Paint!
I searched the web-world for freeware. It was fun learning to use applications like Art Rage. Using a small GIF Animator, I strung together individual frames and added, what I thought, were cool transitions.
I found a cute dragon cartoon on the net, and coloured it. I made the dragon blink, and saved the in-betweens in Jpeg file formats. I had no clue, why the quality of the image degraded each time I saved it. Two years later, I got the answer to that.
In our graphic designing class, our teacher tried to explain, what lossy compression meant. While most students stared back with blank expressions, I silently patted myself for being smart!
During our sketching class, I casually mentioned playing with wheat flour, as a child. My art teacher pointed out to me, ‘When you were a child, you were willing to experiment. By using flour and Papier-mâché, you were being creative.’
I realised what he meant, and it applied to almost every other aspect of life. The moment we learn the ‘proper way’ to do things, we refuse to accept anything else. And once we do that, we close our minds. We not only lose our willingness to experiment, but also, our creativity.
Creating these GIF animations was just one of the ways I expressed myself. For me, they were, they are, and will always, represent fun, and creativity. They represent a time when I was willing to experiment, and learn on my own.
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I never thought I would ever go back to GIFs. But I did end up making one not so long ago, for a post. And that’s because that is the only format WordPress allows for standalone animations!
Disclaimer: Potential users are requested to use their judgement before downloading any software. Do not hold me responsible for any harm to your computer. While I have used the above mentioned products, I am not, in any way, endorsing these products.