Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Your Christmas GIFs

I have a visual feast for you during this holiday -- some of my favorite GIFs, unwrapped and assembled for your pleasure. You've seen animated GIFs everywhere on the web -- usually funny, short clips of art, photos, tv and film. I started making my own almost 2 years ago. I'm sure you've noticed them peppered throughout my food blog pages, especially over the last year.

(By the way, if you are visiting to get Christmas Recipe ideas, then click here to see my most recent "Best Holiday Recipes" list.)

GIFs look like a 2 second (or less) video clip, without sound, that keeps repeating. Sometimes I make a GIF for comedy effect, like of my nephews Chef Matt and Chef Zakk.

But mainly they are best used for cooking instructions. I like to show you time lapse GIFs of browning poultry, or bubbling pots of veggies and meat. That way you see the whole cooking process in a couple of seconds, which I think encourages you to make the recipe -- especially when you can see how good it looks from a raw state to completion.

And instead of showing a pile of chopped herbs, it's more interesting to show them being chopped from finish to start as a GIF.

Possibly the most unique use of GIFs is in my photo/video series Restaurant Nocturnes. This nighttime noir series is a string of time lapse photos with an audio track of menu highlights. These GIFs are suitable for framing. I think you will agree to the uniqueness of my animated photo GIFs.

It can take anywhere from a half hour to 2 hours to create just one. A GIF is made up of separate still images, I use about 6 to 48 images to make my typical GIF. And here is where I go to create my foodblog GIFs (but there is a pop-up ad to close, when you start making one.) A detailed explanation of GIFs is here; a fun video on the art of the GIF here; and a short description is here. For a fun website to put yourself into an animated GIF, click here.

Now, some computers and handheld devices may not play an animated GIF -- or they play them badly, and you may just see a still image. Maybe that's a good thing as animated GIFs have jumped the shark. I try to use them judiciously, though -- no more than one or two for any given blogpost (and often not at all.)

So do check back for more food photography and creative GIFs in my cheap$kate food recipes. And have a delicious holiday.

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