Ah, the humble GIF. Stalwart of the internet, the lowly Graphics Interchange Format has been there since the beginning. Of course, in the early days of the web the average web page was a migraine-inducing cacophony of visual discord- and that’s probably why over the years, the format acquired something of a second-class status.
GIF’s lack of support for alpha transparency combined with its support for animation was the main reason the early web strained under the weight of so much jagged-edged, over-animated, mind-bursting visual horror.
And today of course, the trusty animated GIF finds itself as the vehicle of choice for so much viral hilarity. But there are those out there who seek to take the format to new heights and are breathing new life into the GIF animation.
Photographer Jamie Beck and motion graphics artist Kevin Burg make what they call ‘cinemagraphs’ that exist somewhere in the territory between still photography and film. Kevin says, “GIF is a really fun format, and we love how it’s used for distilling big ideas into a bite sized chunk that can be shared in a dead-simple way. Our images are at their heart a traditional photograph, a format like GIF makes the most sense.”
See more cinemagraphs at Jamie and Kevin’s site, From Me To You.
Alma Alloro’s recent GIF series entitled Further Abstract clearly draws a relationship between traditional techniques and materials and digital technology. Interestingly the drawings, which consist of hand drawn lines on grid paper, became the series of animated GIFs before being converted back from digital to analogue with images on a spinning wheel and animation triggered by a strobe light.
The Tel Aviv-born artist also makes 8-bit music under the moniker Bikecore.
Francois Gamma makes beautifully chaotic psychedelic digital visuals that includes animated GIF work.
If you like that, you’re going to want to see more of Videogramo’s work.
Michael Bell-Smith is an artist based in Brooklyn, New York. His work uses digital forms to interrogate contemporary culture and its relationship to popular technology.
The Brooklyn-based Saline Project has created some gorgeous animated GIFs in the style of vintage Hollywood B movies using a technique they call 3D lenticular imagery. The series Monsters, Villains, Heroes and Victims comprises a total of 13 images.