fyi [links, nov 2016]

Some more or less recent stuff, focussed on GIFs. Or other web animations. Or something else loosely connected to that.

There will be a conference about “The New Imageries of GIF Culture”, 24 – 25 November 2016 in Bologna. I know this is on very short notice, but I also just read about it a week or so ago. Luckily, the organisers will provide live streaming of the presentations. If you can’t get enough of GIF research, check out their bibliography.

GIFilter“ is a university project that analysed the main GIF design paradigms and presents the outcome with a poster series.

As neural networks lately are applied to, well, everything, it was only a matter of time until someone develops a GIF search engine on the basis of deep learning and here it is: DeepGIF.

Tom Moody comments on a GIF animation history article and points out a crucial point about Giphy that I can very much relate to:
”Once GIFs have a reliable central location where they can be created, stored, and tweaked, people will stop saving them to their individual devices. Then, the GIF as a free-floating entity will finally shrivel up and die — there will only be Giphy.“

Vine is shutting down. Here we see what could happen to any proprietary piece of software – no matter how popular or important for web culture, it can be discontinued at any time. GIFs however, are not bound to a certain service (yet – despite all the effort Giphy is putting into its GIF domination;) so their fortune mainly depends on the users themselves.

And finally here are three academic papers about GIFs, the latter two of which I haven’t had the time to read entirely yet. But I’m sure that you are able to comprehend them yourselves:)

Gürsimsek, Ödül Akyapi (2016): ”Animated GIFs as vernacular graphic design: producing Tumblr blogs
The author focusses on GIFs related to the series ”Lost“ and how they are appropriated by Tumblr users. She draws some interesting conclusions, including a handy definition of GIF literacy: “GIF literacy is the ability to remediate televisual performance into social cues to be used in vernacular digital communication. This is coupled with the literacy of using image editing software.” (p.347)

Chiarini, Alessandra (2016): ”The Multiplicity of the Loop: The Dialectics of Stillness and Movement in the Cinemagraph

Gygli, Michael; Soleymani, Mohammad (2016): ”Analyzing and Predicting GIF Interestingness


fyi [links, nov 2015]

Some more or less recent stuff, focussed on GIFs. Or other web animations. Or something else loosely connected to that.

The GIF Bite Election – An analysis of Hillary Clintons facial expressions that appear to be very GIFable.

The Wire asks “Are We Approaching Peak GIF?”. Long story short: No:) But nonetheless, this text gives a good summary of things that are changing in GIF culture.

The article links to this lovely old rant about the GIF hype 2012 : “GIFs Infiltrate Advertising in Relentless March Toward Total Domination of All Communication” – Actually, in hindsight, it feels more like advertising infiltrates GIFs.

Oh, hey: Just another new image format with animation support , called BPG.

The Washington Post tells us that ”GIFs are for everybody now”. Weeeell – I think that it’s too simplified. The article argues, that Boomerang (Instagram) lowers the threshold for GIF creation so far that “now” anybody can do it. I have a déjà-vu – haven’t there been applications before that, which promised this simplification?
“But until recently, it seemed that would-be GIF […] had to choose between relatively complicated programs that took time to learn and required several steps, or in-browser GIF-making sites that were easy to use but added an ugly obvious watermark, advertising that the GIF was made by an amateur.”
Ok, but even if so, let’s be careful with the “from now on”, which implies that the situation totally changed with only this one tool. It’s rather more like: Making GIFs has become easier and easier, step by step. Boring statement? Yes. But maybe the better one.

As described on this entry on the FBI’s website, a GIF was one part of evidence against a person who has been “arrested for soliciting the murder of members of the U.S. military”. Interestingly, the GIF that is described there doesn’t work like the kind of GIF that is common nowadays, but rather like a slide show: “The file then loops several dozen photographs, purportedly of U.S. military personnel, along with their respective name, address and military branch.”

Two articles (both from August) about the issue that GIFs and Vines of sports events are not only extremely popular on the web, but are also pissing of the league officials. BBC about posting goal videos of the British Premier League online and about GIFs and Vines of the Bundesliga (second article in German).

German TV Station “RTL II” tries to bring a GIF-lookalike optic into their programme by using clips that make use of GIF paradigms (stop-motion effect and repetitions) or videos of GIFs (!) as video separators between advertisement and shows.

And to bring this link list to a joyful ending: GIF Loop Coder – A tool for creating geometric GIFs with a perfect loop, using JavaScript.

fyi [links, oct 2015 part II]

Some more or less recent stuff, focussed on GIFs. Or other web animations. Or something else loosely connected to that.

I am tired of the bickering about wich pronounciation of GIF is “the one”. Luckily, this article is not providing a solution, but instead looks for a possible linguistic origin of this issue.

A roundup of some current developments of GIF culture in the New York Times. Including a comparison of GIFs and emoji in terms of which is most suitable to express emotions. I also find another bit of information very important: services like Giphy and Riffsy and also social networks are working on a way to commercialise GIFs by using them as an advertising platform. That is, of course, no new idea. It already was very common in the 90s. Since banner ads were rather made with Flash than with GIFs, this field of GIF usage seemed to be extinct. But if we’ve learned one thing from GIF history, it’s that they won’t die so easily.

Well, shit. Somebody realised that GIFs almost always contain parts of contents that are under copyright. This article poses the question “Do GIFs Infringe on Copyrights?”, after several GIFs from Deadspin were deleted by Twitter. A little more background and a discussion of the topic can be listened to in their podcast. The article I just mentioned inspects some details about the Fair Use regulation (USA) – actually, this issue reaches much further. I once talked about it very briefly. Every country has its own regulation, while the internet does not really draw such borders for GIFs or any other product of creativity. How can these two spheres can be harmonised – and do they need to? And how do regulations in other countries affect GIFs, for example the infamous regulation of meme motifs in Russia?

Wired tells us that for some users of the Facebook mobile app, it is now possible to have a short looped video as their profile “image” (or “avatar, as we once called it). Quote: “Facebook says you still can’t upload a .gif, but the effect remains extremely similar. This also might be the single most-used home for iPhone Live Photos.”

This blog post is written in German. It applies humour theories to GIFs and talks about them as a “third foreign language” of the internet. I find the first aspect very interesting and the latter one, of course, debatable :-)

Famous German “Nerdcore” Blog author René presents some bullshit press releases that were sent to him. The first one is called “Ultrakurzvideos werden zum Megatrend im Marketing” (ultra short videos are becoming the new hot shit for marketing)… they only talk about Vine here, but we just learned from the NY Times article above (and we can also actually witness this on the web), GIFs are likely to be (ab)used by advertisers as well. We’ll see how far this gets.

fyi [links, dec 2014]

Some more or less recent stuff, focussed on GIFs. Or other web animations. Or something else loosely connected to that.

Tom Moody: gif interrogation of the day
“is this phone art or GIF art and does it matter?”

Redi, Miriam et. al.(2014): “6 Seconds of Sound and Vision: Creativity in Micro-Videos”
Research Paper about an algorithm to select “creative” vine videos by analysing statistical data. And here’s a less scholary article about it.
(via Nerdcore)

The second GIF-Tournament on Reddit is in the final round. Votes can be posted until tomorrow (12/10/2014).

And last but not least, I’m proud to announce that I will be speaking at the Chaos Communication Congress (31C3) in Hamburg, Germany, later this month. The topic of my talk is “GIFs. The death of a medium. And its afterlife.” The talk will be in German but I suppose there will be live translation or subtitles or whatever:)


Edit: Haha, at first I wrote “algorythm”!