Animated GIFs are either an art form or an annoyance, depending on both who you ask and what the content of the image is. In either case you can think of them as digital versions of those cartoon flip-books you created back in school in the corners of your textbooks. (Feel free to read more about the history of animated GIFs in this Wired article.)
This month we’ll be playing with the WeGIF service which allows you to make simple animated GIFs of your own. (Unfortunately, with free accounts your creations are limited to a total of 20 frames, but you’ll definitely get the idea of how the system works.)
To get started head on over to http://www.wegif.com/ and decide how you’d like to create your animation. You can go about creating the images to be used in your time-lapse video in two ways:
In this case you’ll need to take your digital camera and manually take the photos one at a time. This method is a bit more time consuming and a little harder to manage but if you don’t have a Webcam, this is your only option. This is also the better option if you want to take a series of photos over a longer period of time such as once a day for the month.
For example, to create this first one I stood in the doorway of Sally’s office about the same time every day in about the same position. You’ll quickly notice that I wasn’t all that successful in standing in the same place every time, hence the lack of smoothness in the video. However, if you decide to do a project like taking a picture of your building from the same position every day, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure out how to line up the image a little better. (For example, make sure there’s a tree lined up along the left edge of the image every time. Or, better yet, maybe the left edge of the building.)
Or, you could give a virtual tour of part of your library as in this example. This time keeping the camera completely still was less important.
Lastly, this example is a short stop-motion animation. In this case I held the camera still by using a small tripod.
Once you have all the photos, transfer them to your computer and log in to your Wegif account. Click the create button and select “from your photos”. You’ll then be asked to select your images which will then be uploaded to the system and the video will be created.
Using a Webcam
If you’ve got a Webcam you can instruct WeGif to take the photos for you.
Once you’ve added your images and they’ve been processed you have some options to choose from.
From here you can change settings such as effects, speed, and rotation. If you feel your images are out of alignment, you can also try the “auto align frames” button and see it that helps. I could explain what each option does individually, but I think this would be a great place for you to just experiment a bit and learn from experience.
Once you’ve got everything set, you’ll need to publish the result to your account. Some of the examples I created for this lesson took a few hours before they were “ready” to be viewed. Feel free at this point to leave the site and come back later.
Lastly you can view your creations by selecting the “your wegifs” under the home menu item at the top of the page. From this page you can click an image to get to the page specific to that image. From there you can delete, download, email, copy the embed HTML code (how I posted my examples above), add it to a list of favorites, or promote it by posting it to your facebook or other social media accounts.
- Use weGIF to create at least one animated GIF. (Though we encourage you to try both the upload and webcam methods.)
- Create a blog post describing your process and include your results. What did you think of the WeGIF service itself?
- Also blog bout how could you use this service in your library?