155 Years Before the GIF: The First Looping Animations Created for the Phenakistoscope

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A little while ago we covered the technology that went into Japanese band SOUR’s music video animated on spinning CDs… but that’s just the most recent in a long line of spinning disk animations. Almost 155 years before CompuServe launched their first animated GIF in 1987, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau created the Phenakistoscope – commonly regarded as the first device to display a true animation.

Uncanny Animated GIFs Go In Circles

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rrrrrrrroll puts photos in heavy rotation. A project based out of Japan, rrrrrrrroll creates animated GIFs featuring an anonymous individual in unassuming, everyday environments. Each still image, however, is animated by one element moving in a trippy endless cycle – ranging from a forkful of spaghetti suspended over a spinning plate, to a woman frantically swinging herself around a lamppost.

Stop Motion Video of a Creepy Lobotomy Pumpkin Carving (and its Ghastly Ending!)

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Just in time for Halloween – a seriously creepy pumpkin lobotomy time-lapse carving by Chris Soria. He spent 15 hours cutting in the ghastly details of this fantastic 360 degree illustration by Jason Smith. The talented duo teamed up to create a commission for Ford, who created the GIF. Check out the unexpected ending in the video below.

Now and Then: Aged Faces of Centenarians Are Restored to Youth

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Both expectations and memory are funny things. For the youth of the world, they never expect to get old… but it slowly sneaks up on everyone. For the old, it’s often hard to remember just what it was to be youthful. This captivating series puts the effect of aging front and center, showing captivating images of elderly people and then a quick sweep back to their youth in the same pose.

Pastoral Paintings Hidden on the Edge of Old Books

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Here’s something that will have you bending all the classic books in your house: fore-edge painting, the art of hiding illustrations and paintings on the outer edges of a book. The technique, which is said to date back to as early as the 1650s, was recently brought to the webs attention by Colossal, who shared brilliant examples of the result in GIF form.

A Breathing Earth: Watch the World’s Seasonal “Heartbeat” from Outer Space

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Each year we experience our normal seasons of hot and cold. Winter brings snow to many of us, and in summer, often blazing hot temperatures and beach days. John Nelson has given us a new vision of this familiar cycle in the form of a simple GIF… but the result is mesmerizing for its profound demonstration of these cycles upon our lives and the world processes it clearly illustrates.

Beautiful & Spooky: Animated GIFs Made from the Photographs of Yesteryear

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The images we put before you today all have the unique quality of being a bit mysterious and simultaneously beautiful… it’s the kind of thing that draws you in, keeps you on guard and begs you to understand more. In one example, a woman gazes peacefully into the distance while the subtle image of a dark train tunnel rolls away before her eyes. Is this simply a reflection on a window before her or is their something more etherial at work? These are the unnerving dualities that play into many of Bill Domonkos’ animated GIFs.

Laurene Boglio’s Quirky Drawings Dance into Motion

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What’s better than animated GIFs of jumping people in bunny costumes, dancing women in swimming caps or a fellow hawking iPads from below his trench coat? Not much. These illustrations from French graphic designer Laurene Boglio are so cool they’re starting to make us jealous… at least of her seriously refined style.

Beer Labels Jump into Motion

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Unless you’ve hit the end of your last 6-pack, the labels on your beer bottles probably don’t do too much moving… but you don’t have to drink at all to appreciate the labels reworked by Trevor Carmick. This Boston-based video editor/graphic artist has been working on a personal side project called Beer Labels in Motion, creating animated GIF logos based on some of his favorite american craft-brews.

Life Repeats Itself: A Funny, Looping GIF Per Week

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In each of these clever animations a stick figures takes center stage, humorously acting out a looping scene in a colorful cartoonish world. Whether the figure is floating away under balloons or falling off a church roof, he never quite learns his lesson. Where does each animation begin or end? It’s hard to say… and that’s what makes each example so addictive and watchable.