New journalistic heights: the rebirth of GIF animation

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It is easy to set up, and with a basic good idea a simple animated GIF can help you promote an event, a website, a product, and speedily get the buzz going.

This is the story of a glorious comeback: after the huge success at the dawn of internet, the humble GIF was quickly forgotten in the 2000s.

However, it is undoubtedly the simplicity of GIF file creation, and the growth of social networks, to awaken new interest in the GIF from 2008 onwards.

Even if its impact has hardly changed in 25 years of digital life, a GIF file remains technically a simple image format that can store several visual images in a single file to create a short animation.

Today it has become the quintessential mode of expression of the web, favoured by important internet users such as advertising agencies, famous designers and photographers. Two creative artists - photographer Jamie Beck in collaboration with the visual graphic artist and web designer Kevin Burg is the author of the series, cinemagraphs.

Many web users have become expert in the exercise of picking out the best shots in a TV series or video and making them into a GIF.

Its effectiveness has become awesome, almost a web culture that surfs political news, fashion, sports, advertising and TV series.

This type of short-scene looping has become popular with a wide audience of web users; some GIFs have been viewed tens of thousands of times.

Highly visual blog platforms like Trumbl take full advantage of this phenomenon. It hosts many creative portfolios that have taken over the humble GIF, reinventing it and making it trendy (thisadvertisinglife).

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You can do just about anything with a brief animation of images, and not only based on humour. A GIF can strike the imagination as a four-second publicity spot that rapidly defines a situation.

In her blog article (WorkinProgress de Slate.fr) the journalist Alice Antheaume even presents it as a new tool for story-telling in the realm of journalism. Major news sites are already telling stories in GIFs, like Gabby Douglas's Awesome Night: A GIF Guide - Elspeth Reeve - The Atlantic Wire.

Of course, this exercise in style allows creative spirits to deploy all their talents, but there are also services like Gickr, Bloggif, that allow all web users to create their own GIF images in just a few clicks.


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