Make your own GIFs!

by Jean Edwards


Make your own animated GIFs
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p.2 Introduction
p.3 What is a GIF?
p.4 Why make GIFs in art?
p.5 Apps and tools to use
p.6 Using Keynote
p.7 Using PowerPoint
p.8 Using Brush Ninja
p.9 Saving and sharing
p.10 Getting started
p.11 Inspiration
p.12 What next?
p.13 Planning
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We can develop creative approaches in art by integrating technology into our art making. In this book you can learn how to use shape, colour, line, pattern and tone along with the movement and animation tools available through digital technology to create animated GIFs.

I've chosen to refer to apps and tools that are readily available and built in to many devices (Keynote in Apple devices and PowerPoint in Microsoft devices) or free (the websites Brush Ninja and Giphy).

Making art digitally can stand alongside creating art with physical materials, complementing it and giving us alternative creative options. It can also ensure that we use the devices and tools we have creatively across the curriculum.
What is a GIF?
A GIF, short for Graphics Interchange Format, is a visual artefact that although saved and shared as an image (JPEG or PNG) contains animated movement and it plays continuously on a loop.

GIFs were first made in 1987 and have become popular as a way of sharing reactions, jokes and feelings. They are often used on social media and presentations. Many tools such as PowerPoint and Padlet have them available as choices for the user to add to their work.

To the right you can see some examples that are available to use and you might have your own favourites.
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Stop Motion Love GIF by Mochimochiland
Stop Motion Painting GIF by Evan Hilton
tree leaves GIF by Trevor Anderson
Cartoon Stars GIF by European Space Agency - ESA
Why make GIFs in art?
Making their own GIFs can involve pupils composing images using shape, colour, line, pattern and digital effects in combination and thinking through a series of actions in order to add movement by causing elements to appear, move and disappear.

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The limited time available can focus their thinking: GIFs are short, up to 15 seconds in length and often shorter than this. The use of a list of steps in order can be linked to their learning about and making their own algorithms in the computing curriculum.
Their GIFs can easily be shared on school screen, school websites and social media feeds and they can be attached to a QR code which can be stuck into their sketchbook.
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Apps and tools to use
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The Keynote app on Apple devices is the easiest way to make simple GIFs. It is also possible to make GIFs using PowerPoint.
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Brush Ninja is a website that can be used to make animated GIFs. It is free, private and has no advertising. It has useful supporting resources including tutorials, examples and blog posts.
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Giphy is a website and app that contains many GIFs. It can be a useful way for teachers to upload short videos their pupils have made in order to turn them into GIFs.