Animated GIF Module: Final Reflection

When I first began my journey delving into the world of the “Art of the Animated GIF”, I let all preconceived knowledge about what goes into making and processing a GIF go. I wanted to start fresh and learn about what makes the meme sharing, clickbait-able, uniquely notorious and aesthetically pleasing 5-10 second video so appealing. First, I decided to gather the history of a GIF and what processes go into making one. I read the recommenced article called “A Brief History of Animated GIF Art”, and found that while the history to how they emerged into the art world is cloudy, the effect that they had on artists in the mid 90’s to early 2000’s is crystal clear. From the “Real Dancing Girl” to “Super Mario Clouds”, GIFs have continued to prosper as a representation of pop culture within society, and allows others to interact and share ideas within the platform. Moreover, GIFs can also serve as a deeper purpose in shifting the viewers mood or setting up a feeling from just a short looped animation.

For my project, I wanted to create and share the memories that I made while I was in Cuba last year. It was my first time out of the country and traveling alone. Moreover, I was ecstatic for the adventure that was upon me. When arriving there, I felt like I had traveled back in time and entered the 1950’s. Although, because trade with Cuba and other countries is limited, most of the country lives in poverty and struggle to have basic necessities. Additionally, it was my first time experiencing a third-world and communist country which was eye opening to me in a variety of aspects.

I was in Cuba for 9 days, and I spent my time traveling to different parts of the country. We got around by taking taxis which took hours to get from place to place. All the taxis were either really run down cars or fixed up cars from the ’50s meant for nostalgia (and also a bigger tip if you owned a super nice car). I traveled to Cardenas (which was a more poverty stricken area), Varadero (along the same lines as Cardenas, but it was closer to the beach), and Havana (the nicest of the three and where most of the tourists were). I learned a lot throughout my trip and coming back to the US defiantly made me appreciate it more. Conversely, I’m fortunate to have had that experience in Cuba and be able to make the memories that I did while there.

While doing my project, I decided to look back into the Slack channel at previous blogs from people who did this module last semester to garner some insight on other ways to make GIFs. In doing so, I found different ways to create GIFs and one of the programs that I found useful was the StoryZ app. I wanted to animate pictures that I had taken there and recreate a the moment I felt in the picture, and I was able to do so by learning through the tutorials given on the app. Another program I used was GIPHY, which I thought was most useful. Although GIPHY has a limit on how long the video that you’re turning into a GIF can be, I still found it a cool and simple way to make GIFs. Furthermore, I really enjoyed revisiting my memories made in Cuba and turning the most significant ones into GIFs, and being able to share it. Overall, I’m glad I chose this module, because as GIFs are going to continue to become more prevalent within society, I feel like it is good to know how they work and how you can tailor them to you.

I will attach my GIFs in a separate post.

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