An iCinemagraph Exercise in Frustration

There is nothing more annoying for a technologist than to have her tech fail because of its antiquity.

I didn’t update my OS in Lebanon because doing so would have ruined my IT experience at school. Now that I am back in the modern world, that strategy failed as I need to kill my Snow Leopard with a Mountain Lion. Because the App Store isn’t functioning properly on my computer…I can’t. Yet. Last night, I had to improvise a way to create a cinemagraph, or a “static animated GIF” that is popular in fashion photography. I couldn’t use the tutorials my professors gave me, because they rightly assumed that I had the proper technology to execute the project.

Ha! I did it anyway, and am now going to write to you all about how to do it. 

First: Make sure you have an outdated version of whatever OS you are using. In my case, Mac OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard.) Even if you have BootCamp with screws up your ability to download software from the App Store. Then do the following:

  1. Whine a lot. Sigh if needed.
  2. Struggle with Apple on the phone to get your App Store to work.
  3. Fail at that.
  4. Make two short videos in iMovie. Edit them alot.
  5. Try both Echograph and Kinotopic on your iPad Mini, with disappointing results.
  6. Create an animated GIF using Cliplets on Windows 7 (see, BootCamp is not totally useless.)
  7. Boot back into OS 10.6.8, then open up GraphicConverter. Realize it doesn’t work.
  8. Open up Photoshop CS6.
  9. Think about crying until you figure out how to use the Timeline function to preview and edit your GIF.
  10. Scream when your GIF saves as a single image, until you remember the “Save for Web” function your professors taught you about the previous afternoon (see, professors are far from useless too!)
  11. Edit with Photoshop, save for Web, test, and voila! Get semi-serviceable GIFs.

I will review the software I used later. For now, just take a look at the GIFs and see what you think. EDIT: I made a third GIF after I got my house in order: I prefer it to the first one I did. It’s more of a cinegraph than an animated GIF.

The cinegraphs are meant to address my concerns about creativity and technology. I chose a chaotic creation of the Chinese proverb for thinking outside of the box:  (not) jû (stick to)  (one) gé (way, mode, or pattern). I argue that more meaning can come from using technology versus choosing other ways to be creative. I limited the movement in the first GIF to illustrate this, then offered new solutions and more expression in the second. For the reflection, watch here: 

Thinking Outside the Box -- Redux

Thinking Outside the Box — Redux

"Thinking Outside the Box" in Chinese.

“Thinking Outside the Box” in Chinese.

See? Better box!

See? Better box!


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