Gifs: the retro animations that just won’t die

28 Aug

Tim Dowling, writing for The Guardian, has explored  the Gif file format and its current impact on tech and pop culture. The result is not a bad read about everyone’s favourite looped clips:

Gif is, baldly considered, a file format, and an old one at that. The Graphics Interchange Format was first developed by CompuServe in 1987, to allow for the quick downloading of highly compressed colour images. It also supported animation, which eventually became its defining feature, particularly the repeating animations introduced with the Netscape Navigator 2.0 browser. In the beginning Gifs were largely confined to either rotating things or flaming things, but they quickly became more complex.

By the turn of the century the Gif had become distinctly unfashionable, but within a few years its retro appeal (Gifs often retain the look of a well-thumbed flip book) and simplicity (anyone can make their own these days; well, not me) saw a resurgence in popularity. What was the height of naffness at the end of the web 1.0 era is now a cool, lo-fi mode of self-expression.

Read the full article here.


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