Over the course of this module, my main goal was to learn how to make gifs myself in an easy and reliable manner, hopefully allowing me to contribute my own artistic tribute to my favorite fandoms. My previous experience with gifs was workable, but was a more tedious and involved process. Using Jim Groom’s BavaTuesdays site as a launching platform, I found giphy as a faster and easier alternative. I experimented with the site extensively, cranking out 18 gifs over the course of this module (which can be found here). My early gifs were largely attempts to isolate amusing moments in a repetitive manner. In contrast, my later ones focused on the more artistic side of giffing (the verb form was named the 2012 Oxford Dictionaries USA word of the year), finding repetitive moments that could be looped in a way that made them appear continuous and fluid. The practice helped me develop an eye for these moments, and hopefully allowed me to become more adept at making the corresponding gifs. This makes me feel optimistic about incorporating giffing into my collection of hobbies (in addition to meme-making and video-editing). By that standard, I would say that I successfully reached my goal of mastering a very efficient way to make gifs.
I also found some interesting background information on the gif (through Jim Groom’s site and reputable sources in the Wikipedia references section) that helped provide a “big-picture” view of its usage as a medium. I was less intrigued by the origin of the gif, and more interested with how it became popularized in its modern form. Looking at its incorporation into Tumblr and Facebook, it became clear to me that these online forums democratized the gif. Easier ways to share creations with the world helped popularize the gif, and popularizing it no doubt contributed to the development of online gif-makers. As such, almost anyone can successfully make a gif, and most active internet users have at the bare minimum been exposed to gifs (whether or not they recognize their label). This popularization even culminated in a major dictionary recognition, solidifying the gif’s popularity in the 21st century.
Overall during the course of this module, I developed a newfound respect for the gif. It’s much more than a gimmicky device. By isolating a moment and repeating it continuously, the gif invites us to analyze and appreciate the mechanics of a scene, thus providing a very intriguing artistic aspect to the gif. These isolations can also be used to provide commentary that better expresses reactions (one of the weaknesses of an online setting) in a funny or even insightful way. Its democratization as a medium allows the public to mine these moments for themselves, thus individualizing the gif while retaining the ability to share it with a broad audience.