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A gif or in our case an animated gif is a type of image file format, sort of like the
.JPEG files that come out of most consumer photo cameras. While there are many technical differences which you can read all about on Wikipedia if you wish, the main idea is that an animated gif can have multiple image frames which can animate at different speeds. Sort of like mini videos without audio, which can play without requiring a separate player or plug-in. Gifs have the file extension
.gif. Gifs will animate immediately when viewed in a web browser, most email clients, and operating systems, without the need to download or install anything.
The gif image file format is quite ancient by computer standards. It was introduced in 1987, and is now over 20 years old. It has many limitations, the most important being a limited color range and large file size. In other words a gif will never be as clear, sharp or colorful as the digital photos which we are used to today. A wegif combines the gif aspects related to animation, such as multiple frames, looping, individual frame durations, with the high visual clarity, quality, color, and small file size of JPEG image compression. Wegifs can easily be converted and saved as regular animated gifs, since the gif format is still needed in some instances.
Aside form the technical differences, a wegif is itself the idea of animated photography without being tied down to a specific technology, in the same way a story carries meaning regardless of being watched on film or read from a book.
Just go to the Create page and select one of the three options. You can create wegifs by taking snapshots from your webcam or uploading a few different photos from your digital camera and combining them into an animation right on the site. At least 2 photos or snapshots are needed in order to create an animation. Play with changing the speed and timing of your animation and when it feels right, click the Done button.
For a webcam to work properly on the Create page, it must not be simultaneously used by any other program. This means you can’t have Skype or some other similar program running at the same time. If you still can’t see your camera in the Create From Webcam screen, you may need to change the default camera used by Adobe Flash Player. The following article was written for Mac people but it applies to everyone and will tell you how to select a different camera until you find a working one: Troubleshooting Mac Computers With iSight.
Wegifs can be used in a variety of ways. Just look at the browse page to see what others are making. Here are few examples.
Most likely we will have a long article about this topic since we are very passionate about it, but the quick idea is that it really represents a unique expression medium, quite different from the other two. Consider this:
High quality video takes considerable effort to produce. You need a good camera, microphone, editing equipment, lots of time and even something clear and concise to say, or you may end up with a boring clip that nobody other than you cares to see or even has time for. Just go on YouTube and try to watch 2 star videos. As a culture we’re exposed constantly to high production values and people expect a lot more from a video than what you can do with your own webcam at home in 5 min time.
Photos are great but they fail to convey action, movement and time to the degree that a video can. Often we take a lot more photos than we publish because adding 15 photos of the same scene to a gallery won’t add any more value. You probably picked your best one to share in the first place anyway, but still kept all the other ones.
Wegifs can be created very quickly. You can tell a story without a script, you can make something beautiful move, you can edit on the spot through timing changes and make something funny. You can make faces and share them with the world without sounding stupid. You can try things, without wasting time.
There are really two broad wegif categories, a scene or a slide show. For slide shows it really doesn’t matter, just make sure you pick a long enough delay between the frames when making the animation so that it doesn’t overwhelm the viewers.
For shooting a scene with movement, the only rule is to try to keep the amount of change between the frames as small as possible.
Experience is really the best teacher, so just experiment and observe your creation. Try speeding up and slowing down the animation to see what works best. Soon you will learn to take multiple frames that will assemble nicely into a wegif.
Definitely! If they are scanned and already on your computer, you should be good to go. If the frames are completely different in nature, pick a much slower slide show speed. The default speed may be too fast in this case. Many users on the site have found old photos that were taken in sequence and when put together, turned out to be great wegifs.