Sharp Pixel Lament

Have continued the process of manually enlarging animated GIFs that rank and file browsers no longer size properly. Redid about 40 in all; it is now possible to page back through my old animation log (if you are feeling bored/insane) and not encounter any tastefully fuzzed out pixels. (This wasn't all pointless labor--I learned some things in the process.)

As explained here many times, there are two main types of images on the web, graphics and photography. When you scale up a photograph (with an html command to make it two times larger, say) you want it smooth, not full of jagged pixels. Graphics are different: if you have a blue square that's 100 x 100 pixels the browser can tell it to be 400 x 400 and the edges stay nice and sharp. No resampling or filtering computation is necessary--the blue just spreads out to a larger surface area and stops at the same clean line--very efficient, very ecological.

Up until this year, most browsers assumed the main content of a web page was graphics. Now, with Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 8, the assumption is that everything is a photo. So anything enlarged or zoomed by the browser will be "anti-aliased," or tastefully fuzzed out. This means all the formerly sharp graphics enlarged with html commands get treated like photos, i.e., the "vaseline on the lens" look. That totally blows the desired effect of some "internet art" conceits, which were to put it simply, creating mini-Mondrians with blown up, formerly invisible pixels interacting with whatever content already existed.

The real pain (as in throw up your hands and go do something else) will occur when the nerd authorities (with Adobe calling their shots) decide that GIFs are a silly old file type and browsers no longer need to read them.