Tag Archives: animatedGIF

Waiting for “Waiting for Groomot”

This post contains a link to my GIFestivus2012 submission for Ben Rimes’ “Hurry Up and Wait” Animated GIF Assignment 864. As soon as I read the description of his assignment, I knew I couldn’t wait to do it.

However, completing the GIF turned out to be an exercise in waiting.

Getting the GIF out of Photoshop turned out to be a bit of a pain. All told, the .psd file had 298 frames, made up of 39 layers — although a lot of most of the layers are primarily transparent. Photoshop kept giving me this bothersome (and very OLD looking!) error message whenever I tried to make the GIF via the Save for Web menu item.

Adobe Save for Web Error

I also saw some familiar, old-fashioned Mac wait-icons and behaviours during the failed export, making me think that Adobe STILL hasn’t got all of their code fully up to date.  While the export continued to fail, it DID give me some new material that I decided to capture and add to my GIF. So there was that.

A bit of web research led to some web Q/A discussions where others ran into the same kind of GIF export limitations in Photoshop, likely due to the number of frames. The suggested solution was to split the photoshop file into two (or more) pieces — deleting the second half of the frames from the first file copy, say, and then deleting the first half of the frames from the second copy), do the partial Save for Web from each piece, and then reassemble them using an actual GIF editor. Seems simple enough.

All I needed was an actual GIF editor.

The ancient yet reigning Mac GIF editor GIF Builder only runs on Power PC or Rosetta-supporting Macs, and I’ve long since said goodbye to those old ways. I guess I could have downloaded it and booted up an older PPC Mac into an earlier version of Max OS X to run it, but that seemed like a lot of extra work, and wouldn’t give me a solution I could take forward into the future. Like if I run into it again tomorrow.

I remember GIF Builder from the mid-to-late nineties, when I was coding web pages using Macromedia’s Cold Fusion and tastefully added simple GIF animations to highlight important points. Ah, the old memories of OS 7, and 8, and 9 come flooding back…

GIF Builder interface

Continuing the search, Ulead GIF Animator seemed to top the results on the web charts. However, Ulead has been purchased by Corel, and their GIF Animator software seems to have been absorbed invisibly into the collective. Nuts.  A PC version was available, but for that I’d have to get a Parallels disk image set up. In the Age of the Cloud, I’ve stopped running PC software.  I then downloaded something called ImageOptim from another location, as it showed up in my search — but, as the name would suggest, it simply optimizes images — including GIFs,  — but doesn’t let you edit them.

Then, I lucked out and came across giftedmotion-1.20 — actually a Java executable, distributed as a .jar file  — and it loaded up the two halves of my intended GIF and then spat them back out as one. It took a while (and gave me yet another version of a wait icon!) but finally my GIF was done. GiftedMotion provides a simple interface for ordering images, setting timings, and exporting to a GIF file. It nicely recognizes the frames in a previously existing imported GIF.


As I started to compose this post, I finally needed to confront the reality that the GIF was over 900 pixels wide. Fine, if I post without sidebars, etc — but the simple theme that I’ve been using for this blog includes wide margins/sidebars on both sides. Rather than continuing to live within this originally temporary (and plain, yes?) theme, I’ve decided to switch de•tri•tus over to the Gantry Framework/Theme from RocketTheme that I tend to use for other sites that I administer. It’s nicely customizable, and will provide all the flexibility that I’m likely to need for this blog.  It’s about time that I put a little effort into the design of this space, anyway.

So I’ll sort that out now.

Actually, it appears that I can display the full GIF on it’s own page if I link to the Attachment Page. Not sure if this is something newer in this theme or in WordPress 3.5, perhaps easier to navigate to?  At any rate, without changing the theme, I can let you see “Waiting for Groomot” now. 

View “Waiting for Groomot.”    EVEN BETTER,  just view the GIF directly at full resolution.

Be sure to watch until the end. You’ll know when it arrives.

Multi Frame GIF Story: Beaker’s Hair

The ds106 Digital Storytelling GIFfest (known as GIFestivus2012 around here) continues, this time with a two-fer. As well as providing another submission for the Animated GIF Assignment 856: Muppet GIF assignment, it’s also going to reflect a new Animated GIF Assignment 880: Multi-Frame GIF Story.

Thanks to Jim Groom for pointing me at the multi-framed GIF story idea. It seems like an excellent way to highlight important themes or details within a longer narrative, like a movie (hint, hint). But it also tells a nice visual story here from this short muppet clip.

I’ve always wondered what Beaker did to get his hair like that.

Beaker1_280 Beaker2_280
Beaker3_280 Beaker4_280
Beaker5_280 Beaker6_280

Some thoughts, just as I finish finagling these six GIFs into a nice table so they can be viewed in tandem.

  1. I didn’t know that you could get electric metronomes. I guess you maybe need them for really, really long songs.
  2. The fifth panel was made using a small number of sporadic frames that existed as the lights shorted out now and then in the original clip. I thought it would be neat to envision how this might look with a longer sequence of darkness. The big plume in the upper left was the result of a little photoshop editing.
  3. I wonder how this might be different if I applied the “less is more” approach, say three or four key frames per GIF. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll revisit this when I’m out of other ideas for GIFestivus2012.

Neat, eh? Now I want to do this with a movie. I wonder which one I’ll try? Hmmmmm.

Pöpcørn, anyone?

The Swedish Chef has always been one of my favourite Muppet characters, and so when MBS (@mbransons) posted Animated GIF Assignment 856: Muppet GIFs, I was quick to start with The Chef.

This source video is posted on YouTube by MuppetsStudio. In it, the Chef seems to be making both popcorn shrimp (?), and regular popcorn, all to the tune of that pre-MOOC Disco 1972 song Popcorn by Hot Butter.

My copy of MPEG StreamClip wouldn’t download the video (it might be an issue with Mountain Lion and AppleMPEG2Codec.component, although it seems to be present in the Library/Quicktime/ directory), and neither would my free copy of the Fastest Free YouTube Downloader. Nuts. However, a quick search of the web produced MacX YouTube Downloader, and that did the trick just fine.

Choosing which segment of the clip to animate was difficult. There were two or three points where I thought I might be able to get a good, close-to-seamless loop, but in the end, I opted for a number of different selections. You might want to tell me which one works best for you.

The first GIF: Drumming on the Counter

Drumming on the Counter, interval of 0.1 sec per frame

Drumming on the Counter, interval of 0.1 sec per frame

The second GIF: The Big Dance

The Chef's BIG Dance (1.8 MB)

The Chef’s BIG Dance (1.8 MB)

The third GIF: Fingers Up


Swedish Chef Fingers Up dance segment

The fourth GIF: Fingers Up Shortened


Swedish Chef, Fingers Up dance segment (short)

Maybe these are too close to video captures and too far from the cinematic / moving still style, but I think they capture the spirit and energy of the Swedish Chef.  I tweaked the timing of the last two GIFs — they were going really fast, so I set the interval to 0.1 seconds per frame, and they view better now in Safari.

From where I am sitting right now, however, I can see the Chef sharpening up his knife for Cårven Der Pümpkîn. Perhaps I’ll post another one of these shortly.

Bork, bork, bork.


GIFestivus 2012

And so it begins.

GIFestivus 2012 is underway.

At least that’s what I’m calling it.  Grant Potter is also using GIFestivus, and he’s already at the 6th Day of GIFestivus, but Alan Levine said the official announcement would go out today (Wednesday the 18th) and he might be calling it the ds106 GIFest. Regardless of what it’s called, there is a little holiday GIF cheer going around the ds106 community, and I’m going to see if I can learn a few things while playing along, and making some art, dagnabbit.

You likely know already that the Oxford Dictionary USA named GIF as its Word of the Year for 2012, that this was the year that the humble GIF turned 25 years old, and that there were a variety of celebrations around the world for this web-page-annoyance-now-turned-artform (Moving the Still, on Tumblr, on Paddle8.)

Here’s what I have reviewed this evening, with a focus on the following:

  1. selecting a clip that might work as an animated GIF.
  2. importing and limiting the number of frames.
  3. copying and reversing frames to produce a seamless GIF (no forward and backward option in Photoshop, it would appear).
  4. adjusting the frame timing to something that seems to work.

Et voila!

The Saint, with Halo, from "The Wonderful War"

The Saint, with his halo, from “The Wonderful War”

This GIF is not part of any specific assignment or seasonal theme. It is simply an experiment for reviewing a few things necessary before I embark on this travail. I was looking to get something that works in the cinematic GIF / living movie stills category, as wonderfully illustrated on IWDRM: If We Don’t, Remember Me. My GIF above is from the pre-opening scene of the old TV favourite, The Saint, episode The Wonderful War.

Next up is to sort out the process of editing the individual images within the animation — presumably this means adjusting the specific layers prior to making the frames. And I’m also going to spend some time learning about masking. I’m hoping to post a modified version of this GIF tomorrow, after some sleep.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to follow along with GIFestivus2012, you might want to check out the following link:

Animated GIF assignments, on


DS106 Animated GIF assignments


There’s nothing like being animated!
It sure beats being unanimated.

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