Hoverfly – Animated GIF

This post is for Mark Armstrong who introduced me to the creative possibilities of Animated GIFs. He suggested I try making a GIF of a bee landing on a flower (he must have seen the photos I did of bugs after I got my macro lens!). The bees were too busy to become involved in this project, but I did have a colorful Hoverfly on a nice yellow flower and it said it would might be interested in participating.

30-hoverflySo I stuffed the Hoverfly into a 295X200 pixel file in Photoshop Elements (it took a lot of  pushing and shoving to get what was actually a big hoverfly into such a small space!) Then I extracted the Hoverfly and saved it as a separate layer.  I did a bunch of other things until I had five layers, four with a Hoverfly in different positions, and one with no hoverfly. Finally, I saved the whole thing as an animated GIF.

TaDa – The Hoverfly visiting a yellow flower, over and over again. Of course, if I was going to do it right, I should have moved the wings and legs a bit to enhance the feel of movement. But at this point, the hoverfly was quite tired of my demands, so I called it a day.

Hoverflies are common throughout the world, and are important pollinators of flowering plants in a variety of ecosystems worldwide.

This is just a simple example of what can be done with Animated GIFs. Much more intricate results can be obtained by manipulating a video. These are called Cinemagraphs,. Some wonderful examples are at From Me to You.

21 comments

  1. Thanks for the info! This is very cool. Of course I may not be quite as thankful once I become deeply distracted and exhausted playing around with yet another time-consuming cool toy and technique.

    Nicely done on your first attempt.

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  2. Hi Margie,
    That is fantastic, I love animated gifs, I never knew how people made them, now I know you need special software for it, maybe we will see more of these great gifs from your lovely photo’s in the future as well. 🙂

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  3. I don’t know who this Mark Armstrong guy is, but he clearly has a lot to answer for– you becoming a Photoshop Superstar, for one thing!! : )

    Beautifully done, Margie. It looks amazingly sharp and very professional. A great new way to showcase your wonderful macros, too. What next, I wonder?– two-spotted ladybugs on pogo sticks?? It wouldn’t surprise me… : )

    Congrats on a lovely piece of work– and thanks for the plug!!

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    • @Harry: Right you are, sir: Photoshop is not a free app, neither is Photoshop Elements (which Margie used for her animated GIF above).

      Just out of curiosity, I googled “free software to create animated GIF,” and got a number of hits; here’s one which offered 5 different free programs that you can use to build animated GIFs: http://bit.ly/hLzYOD

      Two cautions: 1) I have not used any of these programs myself, and cannot vouch for them; 2) if you scroll down to the comments on the above URL, you will find that someone writes: “The Beneton Movie GIF program tested positive for a virus when I tried installing it. I backed off and uninstalled it.”

      So… there do seem to be free programs out there that you can use to create animated GIFs. I’d say take your time, do some searches, see what’s available, and exercise due caution when it comes to downloading anything. Hope this helps.

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    • Hi Marylee – I am at a bit of an advantage because I have been using Photoshop Elements for about 5 years or so. That makes it much easier to teach this old dog a new trick!

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  4. ~applause~ You are so talented. I think you did an awesome job. Animating is addictive, Years ago, I used to sit for hours and work for days on animations for my ex-postcard shop.
    Keep up the great work. 🙂

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