An ode to the Gif

I’m pretty unhappy with the social media we creatives use today. The big platforms give us very convenient tools to distribute our work online and that is what makes us totally dependent on them. And even though we know they are deliberately triggering addictive behaviour and selling our data, we put up with it. Instagram is basically a plague! Why? Just watch The Social Dilemma. Everyone who is somehow using social media (everyone?) should have seen this documentary.

I fear i am totally dependent on Instagram: At this point, April 2022, I have 23,400 followers and I’m sure I’m reaching the most people through this platform. Yes, I want to spread the word about what I have to offer. If Meta continues to pursue such a disgusting policy and the greatly announced Metaverse is (hopefully) not a success, one can already imagine that there could be alternatives to this gigantic platform and then perhaps the ship… will sink.

In the past, entire social media platforms have died time and again. Tumblr, for example, was super popular many years ago and has, in my view, become pretty meaningless today. (Am I wrong about that?) But technically it was an ideal social media network for artists. Yes, there were plenty of problems there too, but you had a lot of freedom as a user with some knowledge of CSS and HTML you could set up your own little blog with a public web address. There were no algorithms that controlled the feed based on your data.

The creative coding community on tumblr was super lively. An absolutely important address for me was and still is fyprocessing.tumblr.com, a blog by Justin Lincoln, where animations developed with Processing are shared. It was an incredible surprise for me when I realised Justin was a member of my community! Tumblr was bought by Automattic in 2019 and I’m excited to see what the company plans to do with it (Automattic is the company behind WordPress, quite possibly one of the greatest technologies on the free internet).

https://trcreativecoding.tumblr.com/

Now I’m getting a little nostagic! In 2015, I started posting my work as gif animations on tumblr. The gif is a file format for animations with a limited colour palette (256 colours is the maximum). It was a real challenge to compute gif animations for tumblr, as the maximum upload size for this file format was 2 megabytes. I raised the problem to a creative principle at that time and gradually became an expert for 2mb gifs. 🙃

In order to broaden my horizons and no longer depend entirely on Instagram, I recently discovered Twitter. You can’t post gifs on Instagram, but you can on Twitter, and so I rediscovered my old love for short animations.

In this article, I share a few of my newer gifs.

By the way, creating gifs can be very easy: check out ezgif.com, a tool that makes it super easy to convert pictures and videos into gifs.


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