All about GIFs

Added on by Alex Koehne.

I post a fair amount of GIFs on this site. I used to hate them. They were the obnoxious animations found on all sorts of web pages in the 90's. Remember Geocities? Besides being tacky, they are inefficient and low resolution. They slow down your browser, make pages take forever to load and often times, I wish the GIF was a video - and there is no good reason why it's not.

However, recently the art of GIF making has sprouted into something different. More like moving photographs (see above), these GIFs express something unique to the form. Similarly, the funny ones done right are unlike anything else. Half the humor comes by the constant loop. As these have become prevalent, I have fully gotten on board.

The big thing now is for an update to come out for the format. Something that works with HTML 5. Something that is high resolution but uses modern compression techniques to keep the file size and loading times down. Something that has higher color depth and lower compression artifacting. Something that will bring this interesting format into the modern era. And then, we'll really see something.

You can read the whole history and more technical details in this article.