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An animated gif is a sequence of images stored in a single graphics file in GIF format. When the graphic is displayed on a monitor screen, the sequence of images is run consecutively at speed, giving the impression of movement. The method is essentially the same as that used in movies or TV; but the clip usually quickly loops back to the start, resulting in a short sequence that keeps repeating itself.
Animated Gifs in Fandom
Gifs in fandom serve several different purposes. It is common to take a small section of screencaps and animate them as a GIF file. Since single screencaps are most often stored in JPEG format, the term "gif" is often used by fans to refer exclusively to animations. Multiple gifs from certain scenes of a film or television show are then put together in a single post (usually on Tumblr). Collectively these are referred to as a gifset. Fans make these gifs to squee over a new episode of a television show, to point out their favorite moments, or to use it as an illustration of their point in a meta essay about the work. People make gifsets of moments they find funny, moving, or hot.
Gifsets can also transform media in significant ways by re-captioning gifs and juxtaposing them with other images to radically alter the text. (examples)
Reaction gifs can be used to express emotion. A gif of Michael Jackson eating popcorn in a theater, for example, can mean, "This has the potential to be excellent wank." Fans also have a variety of gifs used to express shipping.
Some people want credit for the gifs they make, and will add a watermark into the gif. Other fans will post gifs with a note that indicates that they can be downloaded and used freely. In January 2013, a Tumblr campaign was started to discourage the practice of "stealing" gifs by reposting (i.e. downloading and then uploading to start a new chain of reblogs) instead of reblogging. See the fail_fandomanon discussion.
Gifs as spam or trolling.
A gif used to assert one's fannish devotion to a certain ship.
- The Graphics Interchange Format (or GIF) is a method of transmitting images online. The file containing the image is given the extension ".gif"; and such images are frequently just referred to as "gifs". Because it is supported by all web browsers, the GIF format is very popular. Gifs have the disadvantage that they have a limited palette of colours, making the format most useful for black-and-white drawings, or images with large blocks of solid colors, since there can be a loss of colour detail when the format is used for photographs or complex artwork. However, the GIF format allows areas of the image to be "transparent", allowing an underlying background to be visible; and it is popular for webart. The GIF format is also typically used in making animations.