Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF

Digital Tools: The Art of the GIF



I can’t say that I was inspired by one artist per-say, but more so a specific style. I’m very fond of geometry and optical illusions and I was inspired by “Op Art”.  Most famously, artists Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely created optical illusions with their paintings. Some Op Art relies on the difference of foreground and background to create a seemingly 3D image on a 2D surface. Figure-ground perception allows us to distinguish a figure from the background.  Based on which one you focus on you’ll perceive the same image differently. By using red against a black and white backdrop, the red is perceived more likely as the figure creating one optical illusion. The pattern that I made to use as part of this gif had an interesting effect that made the middle diamond look like it was a circle every now and then. I wanted to create another optical illusion going forward. The rapidness of the gif makes the stills come alive in a way that suggests expansion. It looks as if it’s growing; which is something I hadn’t anticipated. I’m a big fan of gifs in general. I like to look at one for a long time and watch it over and over again. That’s not really something you can do with the particular gif and some of my other work. It almost instantly causes eye strain or gives you a headache. I guess that comes with the type of gif I made. Perhaps moving forward I can try to make more eye-pleasing work.


The created shapes in this gif have a game-like quality to them, both in movement and their physical shape. I’m by no means a gamer but I appreciated the vintage game-like quality of it, so I went further with that. At first it seems as if the shapes are all revolving together. The longer and closer you look you realize that’s not the case. Some are moving in opposite directions and even at different speeds. If you stare at a certain section for too long, the arrows sometimes look as if they’ve changed directions and that’s not the case at all! The gif comes from several tiles I made and replicated. I like how you can’t see the tiles, and the gif looks like one big animated one. It would be interesting to see this completed in another color. I could see the shapes starting out in one color, then after a few revolutions, one seemingly random shape would change color, then after a few more revolutions, another shape would change color and so on and so forth. There’s also a game-like quality in that too I suppose.





This gif is representative of my “crazier” gifs. I can’t stare at it for too long. At the beginning when everything is small it feels like things are morphing. It has a certain biological, cellular quality to it, as if the shapes are going through mitosis and evolving. Then all of a sudden things go berserk with the rapidly-paced, larger images. The morphing was something that I was striving for, so I’m pleased about that, but I wanted it to be a more organic growth. The final gif grows but  happens all of a sudden. To be honest that’s okay too though. It catches you off-guard and changes the rhythm. The interesting part is that the time between each frame is actually the exact same between all of them. Perhaps the smaller frames have more variation causing more of a flow.

Author: Allyson Panton