Learning New Skills: Animated Gifs

I started this blog two years ago, for many reasons. I wanted an outlet for writing my thoughts and a way to practice writing, and I also hoped that it would garner some attention for my writing. But more than that, I knew it would be a great tool for learning new skills.

I love learning things, and I’m new enough to this stuff that I still have lots to learn. But doing software tutorials only helps so much if you don’t know what you want to build. Having an actual blog that I need to not only write, but create, design, add images to, add SEO language to, format, optimize, and maintain is a much bigger challenge, and a great way to learn hands on.

Learning new skills is also a big part of why I’m participating in NaBloPoMo. Yes, I want more content on my blog and I want to get into the habit of posting regularly, but I also want to learn to create different kinds of posts. I’m giving myself experience that I’m not getting elsewhere. NaBloPoMo is a huge challenge, but it’s also a great learning opportunity, and I am taking in a lot.

I envy and admire other bloggers with skills I don’t have. One such skill is using animated gifs to help tell a story. You know, those little moving pictures that add so much to a post, especially when used as commentary or subtext. BuzzFeed, the king of viral content, is a huge proponent of gifs, because they make their posts that much more clickable. Those gorgeous Into the Woods posters with the moving backgrounds I talked about last week? Even those are simply animated gifs. Knowing how beautiful and artistic, as well as uproariously funny, gifs can be, it’s definitely a skill I want to master.

Starting with the pronunciation: it’s apparently pronounced “jiff,” with a soft g. That will take me a while to get used to; I thought it was a hard g. Not that I care that much. It’s more important to me to figure out how to make them.

I’ve wanted to learn to make animated gifs for a while now, but I haven’t had time, or an idea that I liked. Yesterday, I came across this great blog post that uses gifs in a hysterically funny way. I was completely inspired. I finally said screw it, I’m going to take the time and learn to do it, and use my blog as an opportunity.

I came up with an idea (a few actually) for what I want to do, and I’m teaching myself to do it using YouTube videos and Google, as well as some invaluable help from Alex. It’s working, but as with everything, it’s taking longer than I thought. I’ve successfully made a couple of gifs, but I want more time for the actual blog post. So I thought for today’s NaBloPoMo I’d talk about my new skill, and in tomorrow’s post, I’ll show it off. 🙂

Tune in tomorrow for the actual gifs!

What new skill have you learned recently?

4 thoughts on “Learning New Skills: Animated Gifs

  1. […] is a display of the new skill I learned this week, and a celebration of my raving fangirlishness, as silly as it may […]

  2. Wow. You are adventurous (or a complete and utter sadist – to be determined). You’re biting off piece I wouldn’t really try nibbling on… the stuff you are attempting are likely too much of the mathematical side of the brain, and that is not my strong side. It doesn’t mean I don’t have that side of the brain, although I always joke with people that I don’t; my creative side of the brain is all there, the other half is just there as ballast, so I don’t fall over. Ha, ha. But that is likely as close to true as it can be. Unlike you, I am a lost cause at mathematics. I even almost didn’t graduate thanks to math from high school – I had to select a night class – any night class – to pass. I picked Astronomy. I graduated with a A in Astronomy, so that was a no-brainer. I may not be able to do math, but I am not so lacking that I couldn’t pick the right course to graduate!

    However, I know what you mean, wanting to learn new skills and talents. My answer? Education is never a waste. I love education, especially self-taught, although I would love to take classes in American Sign Language. I have known the basics of it all of my life – the alphabet, specific signs to get through a basic (and painfully slow) conversation, etc.. I even passed my final proficiency practical exam to get my Emergency Medical Technician licence because I knew sign language and was able to communicate with the woman playing deaf behind the wheel of a car. So you never know when these nuggets of knowledge will rise to the fore to help!

    Plus learning makes me feel valued, worthy, alive. Any day in which I have learned something new is a good one; whether it is a teeny detail, such as the crook of your arm having a proper name: antecubital region; or something huge, like how fortunate I am to be retired (that may seem laughable, but it only took me four years to reach this breakthrough. I loved my work – ALL of my work – and hated to leave it). And the truth is I do learn something new every day.

    The other point I agree on is that books are helpful for looking up quick bits and pieces but only hands-on experience will give you what you need in working with GIF extension files. GIFs are a great tidbit and surprisingly add so much to a page (in moderation). Even my very ancient Website, http://www.aislinge.com, is all hand-designed by me, but I was never able to learn making GIFs, so I found designers who’d let me snag theirs for use. I did do all my own artwork and photos, which in 1997, had to all be scanned and was work I either had to use Luis’ computer or stay late at work (I was working a temp job in a Web site design company, so I learned heaps there). I used books to leaner the various HTML commands and put a monstrous amount of time into its development, but it is something that I can trull say is one of my Opus Magnum – all mine! Every line of HTML is mine, done by hand.

    Now? I would love it if FrontPage were still in use. But I will eventually find a good Web page building software and still do some of the coding myself. I see just from the comments under this box that there are tons of new commands I don’t know: , etc.

    What is the newest skill I have recently developed? Good question. Of course, whenever I’m put on the spot, my brain has a tendency to go blank. Let me think… ah! At long last, after literally struggling for years with this, I have finally learned to draw hands and feet in the correct proportion with the bodies, heads, etc., of the characters I draw. Don’t laugh, this is a lot harder than you’d think – they always came out tiny in comparison to the femme fatale who owned ’em! I do fantasy art, and hands and feet are a challenge for me.

    • I’m not laughing. It’s clear that hands and feet are a challenge; just look at most cartoon characters, who only have 4 fingers. 🙂 But making gifs isn’t actually that difficult, and there’s certainly no math involved (I suck at math too). The hardest part, I think, is finding the appropriate look, expression, or moment to capture the emotion you want to express. But there are lots of databases online where you can do a keyword search for gifs that you need. I admit I feel a little cheated learning that, but I’m still glad I learned how to make gifs myself. It’s fun!

  3. […] New Things: NaBloPoMo by itself is a new thing for me, but I also wanted to use the opportunity to learn some of the skills I didn’t know how to do. A post a day was the perfect excuse to try something new. It was like my […]

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