What is an animated gif, and why do you need them?
An animated gif is a photo that is animated, and done so by compiling a series of sequential images together to form an auto-looping image, much like a movie without ever hitting a play button. They have been around since the late 1980s, and until recent years, they were mostly lame stock images pulled together and animated, which is why we have sworn them off in the past.
But in its most recent evolution, animated gifs are often used as humor, or to convey an idea without words, which is increasingly common as the visual web continues to spread its tentacles. Why type out an entire email to a colleague that jokingly expresses your disappointment when you can just copy and paste this into an email:
So how do you make your own animated gif?
There are several ways to make animated gifs that don’t require you to know Photoshop. First, if you have a series of photos on your desktop and you want to make an animated gif to express yourself over email, or for a blog, or a tweet, you can be serious and professional (showing before/after shots, or season changes, or product shots), or silly (as seen above), go to makeagif.com.
For example, when web arguments that get out of hand, we made the animated gif below for use (ignore the double chin thing, someone thought they were funny):
Alternatively, you can make an animated gif on the go with Loopcam which lets you take your iPhone, film a sequence in real time, select images to loop, and boom, you have an animated gif that you can immediately share, and the rumor is that Loopcam may give Instagram a run for its money in popularity in the next year, so that could get interesting. The app is free and there is a burgeoning photo sharing community behind it.
Whether expressing a silly sentiment, or showing how a product works without requiring your site’s readers to read or hit play, animated gifs have evolved away from ridiculous clip art to legitimate communication that can add true expression to any internet situation, be it a blog, email, or status update.