Monday, October 05, 2015

How I Made a GIF

Last week I noticed that the Digital Public Library of America, along with several of their partners, are having a GIF It Up contest soon.  I wondered if I had the chops to enter.  One way to find out.  Make a GIF.

This would be the second one that I've tried to make.  The first was a quick hack

This was assembled two years ago and I don't remember any of the resources I used.

Basically, it is just a series of images, mushed together in a sequence, so that it appears to be a moving image.  Think of those 16mm movie projectors you'd use in high school.  Well, we used them.  I'm guessing that everything is digital today.

I needed an image to see if my proof of concept would work.

So, I had to find something to edit.  Something fairly simple, but fun.  It needed to be copyright free.  I found a photo from the New York Public Library.

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs:
Photography Collection, The New York Public Library.
"Charlie Bastian and Denny Lyons" New York Public Library Digital Collections.
Accessed October 5, 2015.

I envisioned the base runner sliding right by the bag.  I isolated the runner.

Since I'd be layering the runner back on to the picture, I had to fill in that blank space. Copy and paste some of the existing ground.

But that left the fielder with just one leg.  A bit of copy and paste from his other leg makes him look not so piratey.

Then just drop in the runner. Not knowing how much to move him, I selected .35 inches at a time. I created an individual image each time I moved him.

These are frames 1, 5 and 10, out of 25.  I then went to, uploaded my individual images, tweaked some dials and got my completed GIF.

I used paint dot net as my image editing software.  It was not my intention for this post to be a complete "how to" on image editing, just a simple overview of how I made my GIF.  The DPLA has some great resources on GIF making.

As I said, this was a proof of concept.  Could it work?  Could I do it?  What could or did I learn from this?

Yes, it can work.  Yes, I could do it.  I need to clean up the images.  I was concerned about pasting the ground into the hole left by the runner.  The patches aren't really discernible.  Your eye is drawn to the runner sliding across the frame.  I do need to clean up the runner.  You know, remove the glove from his knee.  I might also move him in smaller increments.  Maybe a quarter of an inch at a time.  It might lead to a smoother GIF.

So, back to editing, hopefully to make it better.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Should A Woman Run For President?

In 1872 a woman ran for US President. Victoria Woodhull was her name (story, story).

The Cleveland Daily Leader - May 16, 1872
She wasn't elected.

Apparently there was discussion in 1960 because the Youth page of the The San Diego Union asked some high school seniors their thoughts.

The San Diego Union - April 23, 1960
I'm glad to see that we can peacefully discuss the pressing issues.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, the early years

Leonard Nimoy, best known for his portrayal of Mr. Spock on Star Trek, passed away today.  

He was born in 1931, so the first instance of him in the US Census would be 1940.  The census has him listed as a female, the Grand Daughter of his maternal grandfather, Samuel Spinner.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; Roll: T627_1661; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 15-129 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643 rolls.

He made the local paper during WWII, learning about water purification.

The Boston Herald - February 21, 1942
image from

He wasn't just a science nerd.  He also had a thing for language.

The Boston Herald - February 28, 1946
image from

You have lived long and prospered.  Now rest in peace.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Tape A Concert - Make A Mint

I was recently listening to Elton John's 11-17-70 and wanted to find out a bit more about it.  It was an album that performed live in a studio and broadcast on the radio.  Tapes were made into the album that was released in April of 1971.  Several bootlegs of the show were available.  Which made me wonder what they were and what the quality was.

That led me to do some research in some newspaper archives. yielded this interesting look at bootlegging from the Trenton Evening Times, June 13, 1971.  The image of The Stones' boot album is rather blurry.  I'm assuming that the microfilm of the paper was of poor quality.  I added a clear image that I found at

Since the ad for Hal's Stereo Sound Center appeared on the same page as the article I thought it would be fun to look at what was available at the time.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

My blogs

It was time to pull all of my blogs together.  You know, a one stop shop for all things Mark.