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.

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