Tag Archives: AnimatedGIFAssignments

Enzo as Matrix as Megabyte as The Prisoner as Number One

Megabyte-RESIGNS_1_FlyIN Megabyte-RESIGNS_2_March
Megabyte-RESIGNS_3_Door Megabyte-RESIGNS_4_TeaCup_320_32
MegaByte_Xed_4_320 You-Won't-Hold-Me
Guilty Matrix-and-Rover2

Ah, the Multi-Frame GIF Story assignment, Animated GIF Assignment 880. Gotta love it. 

If you’ve never encountered Reboot (the first full-length, completely computer-animated TV series) then you’ll need a bit of background to fully appreciate this post and the Reboot Season 3 episode, “Number 7”, which references The Prisoner.  Reboot was ground-breaking back in the mid 90s as personal computers, modems, and the Internet started to take off. You likely know the early animation work of show creators Ian Pearson and Gavin Blair from the 1986 MTV Video-of-the-Year by Dire Straits, Money for Nothing.

I enjoyed Reboot during its first run on the Canadian cable channel YTV (Reboot was animated in Vancouver by Pearson and Blair’s Mainframe Entertainment), appreciating not only the wonderful plays-on-words related to computer tech, but also the myriad pop culture references embedded within the show. The Prisoner was one such reference, joined over the 7 -year run by others such as Mad Max, Star Trek, Elmer Fudd, James Bond, Ash and The Evil Dead, Austin Powers, Mortal Kombat, Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name, and The Matrix to name just a few. The opening credits to “Firewall” and the Season 3 recap performed to the Gilbert & Sullivan  “A Modern Major General,” are classic examples of the brilliance of the show (both are embedded below for your enjoyment). The day my then-young sons immediately got the Pokemon and Dragon-Ball Z references in the episode “My Two Bobs,” all was right with the world.

Anyway, here is my attempt at a one paragraph summary to set you up for the third season episode, “Number 7,” in case you choose to watch it. If you don’t watch it, you can just appreciate the references to The Prisoner in my accompanying GIFs.

In all previous episodes, Enzo Matrix is a young sprite who lives within MainFrame, helping/hindering the system’s Guardian, Bob, in protecting the city from the dangers of Game Cubes and viruses such as Megabyte and Hexadecimal. Following a game loss in the previous episode, young Enzo, his dog Friskit, and his friend AndrAIa are caught in the User’s game and are uploaded from their home system. Between the last episode and this one, time has passed, and young Enzo has grown from boy to man (now going by his last name, Matrix) as they travel from computer to computer trying to find their way home. The episode “Number 7” explores Enzo’s understanding of his own identity and place in the grand scheme. (Note: There’s a whole “golf” thread which ties back to the usual “game” aspect of each episode. It provides for a few jokes, and the “out” at the end.)

If you choose to watch the Reboot episode Number 7, it is embedded in the Archive for Week Six. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on what “Number 7” says about our understanding of Number Six and the overall show. But I think it offers a good commentary that complements the final two episodes of The Prisoner, “16: Once Upon a Time,” and “17: Fall Out.”

If you want to know more about Reboot, you may wish to do a little background reading about the series on either the Reboot Wikipedia entry, or for deeper detail, on the show’s own wiki — and episodes are certainly available on Youtube should you wish to watch more! However, in closing, I highly recommend the two clips embedded below.


"Be Seeing You (Bob)," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Be Seeing You (Bob),” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Be Seeing You (Dot)," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Be Seeing You (Dot),” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Be Seeing You (Enzo)," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Be Seeing You (Enzo),” animated GIF by @aforgrave

Dead-on Bond Parody – Opening Credits for “Firewall”

Brilliant Season 3 Recap to Gilbert & Sullivan’s “A Modern Major-General”

I’ve No Aversion to GIFfing

Aversion-Therapy300_256_SegmentB0 Aversion-Therapy300_256_Segment2
Aversion-Therapy300_256_Segment3 Aversion-Therapy300_256_Segment6
Aversion-Therapy300_256_Segment5 Aversion-Therapy300_256_Segment7b
Aversion-Therapy300_256_Segment7a Aversion-Therapy300_256_Segment8

I had a instant case of GIF-eye-tis when I saw the poor Resident twitching away in the Aversion Therapy room in the episode A Change of Mind. This one little moment says so much about how The Village seeks to control the individuals and require them to conform to the stated norms. The carrot (“like Number 2”) and the stick (“avoid Rover,” be mutual) are conditioning of the worst kind. That the man progresses from a state of stillness to a  state of completely unrestrained fear within a few short seconds and at the whim of Number 2 says so much about the lengths to which “the community” will go.

And as a GIFfing opportunity, a static camera with limited changes in the viewfinder made this a perfect subject.

GIFfing Process

In selecting an excerpt from the scene to start with, I captured about 20 seconds of frames (8 seconds per frame, ~ 160 frames), and as I looked at them more and more, I realized that while the single panel GIF of the resident was something to isolate, the larger story was also important.

My editing process had me working towards a single GIF, but despite a considerable amount of masking of unchanging parts of numerous frames to reduce the file size, the GIF was still way too large for my liking.  In the end, it seemed like a candidate for Animated GIF Assignment 880: Multi-Frame GIF Story, and so I chopped it up with a bit of judicious re-ordering of a couple shots to capture and emphasize this little segment.  (4 Credit Units!)

The Multi-Frame GIF Story allows you to re-present appreciate aspects of a sequence by juxtaposing and repeating in a way that is not so possible with a solely linear presentation. Rather that following a flow in sequence, your eye and mind can jump around and appreciate contrasts in elements such as tempo and emotion.  I think it works better in the 8 frames above than the larger single GIF format (you can compare below).

Factors Influencing the File Size of a GIF

Back in the early days of the Internet, small image file sizes were paramount when everyone was on dial-up with super slow modems. Despite high bandwidth and high speed connections in this age, there is still a philosophy of economy that can lead one towards optimizing the file size.

The file size of a GIF is influenced by a number of factors:

  • Dimensions LxW of the GIF. Decreasing length and width by 1/2 decreases the pixels by to 1/4. (Think area.)
  • Colour depth of the GIF. GIFs are restricted to a maximum of 256 colours per frame,  but you can use less. Fewer colours means a smaller file.
  • Number of frames. More frames increase the file size.
  • Consistent content from frame to frame. If large areas do not change from one frame to the next, the GIF can economize. Limiting the animated portion of the GIF through techniques such as masking and transparency can significantly reduce the file size.
  • Time intervals between frames may also be a factor. (Or at least they used to be for Tumblr.)
  • Other factors such as interlacing and various colour reduction and dithering algorithms can all influence both the image quality (positively or negatively) and file size (again, positively or negatively).

Experimentation can result in finding the best compromise between file size and image quality. If the GIF dimensions get too small, it can be really difficult to appreciate the detail.

Here are some numbers for those of you who might be interested in seeing how some of these various factors can influence the size of a GIF.

• Initial GIF • 631×480 pixels, 256 colours 9.9 MB
• Reduced dimensions and colours • 600×456 pixels, 64 colours 5.9 MB
 • Reduced dimensions • 300×228 pixels, 256 colours 3.4 MB
• Panel 1 • 300×228 pixels, 256 colours  385 KB
• Panel 2  244 KB
• Panel 3  677 KB
• Panel 4  339 KB
• Panel 5  131 KB
• Panel 6  421 KB
• Panel 7  437 KB
• Panel 8  111 KB
"Aversion Therapy, 631x480 , 256 colours" 9.9 MB

“Aversion Therapy, 631×480 , 256 colours” 9.9 MB

"Aversion Therapy, 600x456, 64 colours"

“Aversion Therapy, 600×456, 64 colours” 5.9 MB

"Aversion Therapy 300x228, 256 colours" 3.4 MB

“Aversion Therapy 300×228, 256 colours” 3.4 MB

GIFfing The General

I quite enjoyed the episode entitled “The General.” And given that I’ve been seriously delinquent in keeping up with my GIFfing, I’ve decided to remedy the situation by making a few.

"Speed Learning," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Speed Learning,” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Escape, or Bust," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Escape, or Bust,” animated GIF by @aforgrave

I all but leapt into my computer screen as soon as I saw the toy bank “pass collector” in this episode. These little mechanical toys were such a fun thing when I was a kid, and there’s no way I could pass up the opportunity to capture this in digital form. Riding the Subway would have been so much more fun if the TTC had these when I was going to school.

"Proceed to Pass," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Proceed to Pass,” animated GIF by @aforgrave

Henchmen back in the sixties were oh so gullible. I mean, who in their right mind — and on guard duty — is going to walk blindly down a hallway towards a suspicious beckoning hand?   This guy, apparently.

"Come here, Buddy," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Come here, Buddy,” animated GIF by @aforgrave

So, I guess the Henchman won’t Be Seeing Him.

"He Wasn't Seeing Him ..." animated GIF by @aforgrave

“He Wasn’t Seeing Him …” animated GIF by @aforgrave

Poor Number Six. Guys in overalls with white constructions helmets and white boots and gloves seem to have been a thing back in the sixties. The henchmen in James Bond, Matt Helm, and Godzilla all had them…

"Pool Old Chap," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Pool Old Chap,” animated GIF by @aforgrave

The ammeter attached to The General wound up displaying some bizarre units by the time I was finished. Again, another GIF-eye-tis compulsion. In the drive to make this GIF work as dramatically as possible, I eventually crafted some extra settings and introduced the final twitch in the needle before she blows … I also added a drop shadow to the needle in photoshop to hopefully achieve increased realism.

"Danger ds106," animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Danger ds106,” animated GIF by @aforgrave

Because of the number of frames in the Explosion of the General GIF, I chose to decrease the file size by reducing it to 32 colours and decreasing the final dimensions. I scaled the image size up a bit in WordPress to compensate. As I look at it now in the browser (which tends to display the timings more quickly than Photoshop does) I might go back and adjust some of the frame delays — but I have other GIFs to do first. 


“Explosion of The General,” animated GIF by @aforgrave


OOPS! Sorry — I’m not yet done with this post, but accidentally pushed the Publish button. More GIFs and commentary on the episode to follow.

That Number 2 In 3D for Prisoner106

"Number 2 in 3D" Anaglyph-a-GIF by @aforgrave

“Number 2 in 3D” Anaglyph-a-GIF by @aforgrave

I was quite taken aback with the introductory video for the #Prisoner106 Week One: Assimilation Week. That getup of that Number 2 (@ds106Number2, on Twitter) was wearing and the odd behaviour Number 2 was displaying jumped right out of the screen and and gave me an immediate dose of that old #ds106 affliction of mine, GIF-eye-tis. Throw in a long absence from making 3D Anaglyphs (something I really got into last summer) and it was time to dust off the old 3D glasses and see if I could remember how I made things happen last year.

As it turns out, I started a series of Tutorials last summer for making Anaglyphs and Anaglyph-a-GIFs (I’m having to refer back to my terms from last summer — the badges are down a ways now in my sidebar)  but it seems I only got as far as the 2nd tutorial of 5. Something called end-of-summer (or August, judging by the date of the last Tutorial) must have gotten in the way. Fortunately, a short bit of experimentation had me back in the saddle and crafting a 3D Anaglyph-a-GIF in no time. The result is up above!

I’ve checked back and see that I was about to embark next on Part 3, which is the real key, the colour separation step.

  • Next: Step 3: Colour Filtering (link to follow)
  • Then: Step 4: Positioning the Layers to Simulate Depth (link to follow)
  • Then: Step 5: Extending the Technique to make an Anaglyph-a-GIF (link to follow)

Since Tutorial posts link separately into the Assignment Bank, I will leave off here and pick up with Part 3  in a subsequent post. I’ve already got some static frames captured from Number 2 to explain the process. Onward with the Learning!

I think this one qualifies for multiple assignments, which is good, as I understand from Number 2 that the electricity to my bungalow in The Village gets shut off if I don’t earn enough Credit Units throughout the week.

I’m tagging it for the following:

Arrival: In a Pixel Perfect Village


“Drive” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Come In ..."

“Come In …” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Spotlight" animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Spotlight” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Sit Down ..." animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Sit Down …” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Rover on the Lawn" animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Rover on the Lawn” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"A Still Tongue ...." animated GIF by @aforgrave

“A Still Tongue ….” animated GIF by @aforgrave

"Just a Few Questions ..." animated GIF by @aforgrave

“Just a Few Questions …” animated GIF by @aforgrave

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