Cecil, Animated

I have to admit that while I really can’t wait to try and find time to contribute something to ds106 radio, I am still obsessed with animated gif technique. Thanks to Tom, I think I’m starting to understand how a site like If We Don’t, Remember Me achieves such awesome results. (Although I’m no where near that level of art.)Here’s my latest contribution. It’s another scene from Room with a View, this time of the character Cecil watching as Lucy plays piano to impress his London friends. (Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing in this film, btw — but he’s amazing in everything.)

I used Tom’s technique in Photoshop to isolate the part of the scene that I wanted to continue to animate.

But I did cheat: By far, the hardest part for me of creating these loops is finding pieces that loop well — invariably even the smallest movements are hard to stitch together at the beginning and end. So, for this attempt I actually copied all the frames, pasted them at the end, and then reversed them — essentially playing the animation and then playing it again, but in reverse. That way it ends exactly where it begins. The result is much more seamless, but it is cheating. ­čÖé

Working on these has been a fascinating exercise. For one thing, it forces me to watch the movie differently. Much like Jim described how Daily Shoot forces him to observe his world differently, all day long, looking for the scenes that will work well as animated gifs forces me to focus on the tiniest bits of the movie — and often in these tiniest bits you get the perfect, simplest illustration of the essence of a character. (I think this one, for example, is a great capture of the nature of Cecil.)

But then, once you pull the video into Photoshop and break it into frames, the entire thing begins to feel fragmented. The narrative of the scene sort of breaks down into these tiny small bits that are difficult to think about holistically again — until you manage to make the frames add up and hit Play.

Interesting work.