A friend sent me a link promising "7 tips for designing awesome animated GIFs." The tip-offering design firm has a home page in the obnoxious new style that every dotcom 2.0 startup seems to be using. Instead of a neatly-organized page giving you basic information about the company (who we are, what we do, portfolio), you get a screen-filling explosion of video and graphics that seems more about obfuscating than informing.
Lots of elegantly greyed-out video clips of happy corporate workers with coffee cups next to laptops, conferencing in converted loft spaces with chalkboards. As you scroll down, testimonials from happy customers.
The homepage is optimized for a 1920 pixel wide screen -- when you shrink the width of the window you get the mess above. But it's not much better at the desired width. The designers' philosophy seems to be "entertainment before information," and projecting various class signifiers and logos to show what kinds of clients they expect to have. Ironically the product is some kind of "workflow" thing.
Their GIF tips aren't surprising -- use a pricy video editor, export to Photoshop, then employ various optimization tricks. The tippers brag that they "opted to use GIFs on our home page instead of fancy code-based animations." This is kind of funny because a few years ago some of Paddy Johnson's "tech" commenters were razzing me for suggesting that GIFs were a perfectly adequate alternative to fancy code-based animations.
Anyway, here are the tips on breaking animated GIFs:
1. Choose your targets wisely. Would this look more funny/stupid if broken?
2. Find an online image editor. Start messing around with the settings.
3. Does your broken GIF look too much like "glitch art" or "datamoshing"? Back to the drawing board. Avoid "art" cliches.
4. What is your purpose behind breaking the GIF? Are you making a philosophical point about entropy or is this just for "lulz"?
5. Who is your intended audience? Is it an art audience or a "funny junk" bulletin board? (Related to No. 4 above.)
6. Does the GIF really look broken or just badly made? (Think about that, too.)
7. Always pad listicles out to odd numbers.