Module about GIFs!

QUICK START: Animated GIF instructions from Adobe


VIDEO: ‘Animated GIFs: the birth of a medium’, Off Book Series on PBS Online 2012 <> 6:52 minutes

FYI: Kondo, M. (2014). “Unfolding the In-between Image: The Emergence of an Incipient Image at the Intersection of Still and Moving Images“. Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, 3, 50-61.

Abstract: As digital technology has transformed various aspects of our screen culture over the past few decades, we have been witnessing a disappearing boundary between photographic still images and cinematic moving images. An emerging in-between image has become increasingly prominent in this new image culture, which attempts to negotiate the grey area between stillness and movement. This in-between image, manifest in a variety of formats and media, points to an increasingly solid middle ground between the traditional divisions of still and moving images. This paper builds a conceptual framework for analyzing this new type of image and explores both the roots of this emergent category



  • Old school 90s flames:




Excellent instructions here: Animated GIF instructions from Adobe

Create gif animation using puppet warp in Photoshop CS5″ by Ziad Chatila 2012

Note that in CS6 & CC, the interface for creating animations has been renamed ‘Timeline’, not ‘Animation’.

Menu: windows/timeline. Then click the button in the centre of the interface to create a frame animation.

The above video tutorial by Russel Preston Brown runs through the different settings required to maximise the quality of a photographic image in GIF format.

You have probably all see how degraded a GIF can look with extreme posterisation and pixelation.

Compare the above with the work of Jamie Beck & Kevin Burg

If you look at the ankle you can see some posterisation  – this is one of the issues with GIFS. The challenge is the maximise the quality as much as possible. GIFs have a maximum of only 256 colours, as opposed to almost 17 million colours in other file formats.

BTW,  if you want no posterisation with 256 levels of tone, try black & white



Note that the animation could be created by using either a sequence of images, as in the example of the moon above, or by manipulating and compiling an image. Test out these three means of distorting and moving your image:

  • Liquify Filter
    • MENU: Filter/Liquify
  • Transform/Warp
    • MENU: Edit/Transform/Warp
  • Puppet Warp
    • MENU: Edit/Puppet Warp


Want more information? See:

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