GIF Gets an Upgrade with Lenticular Printing

There is an old saying that was old will be new again someday. That day appears to be now for one of the oldest technologies on the web, the lowly GIF file. An entrepreneur is now working to create a system using lenticular printing to create animated GIFs in printed form so that they can be artwork which hang in people’s homes.

So just what is an animated GIF file and what does it have to do with the web anyway? Actually, GIF files predate the web. Back before there was such a thing as the World Wide Web, back when this whole thing was basically an outgrowth of DARPANet which was primarily used by university researchers, people were getting online with CompuServe. It was a text based, closed system and so in 1987, the company introduced the Graphics Interchange Format, a way to send graphics images over CompuServe’s dial up connections.

The World Wide Web was still a few years away from being launched, creating the Internet as we know it today. GIF files became popular back in the 1990s because they allowed people trade images which were relatively high quality (for the time at least) over very slow connections that existed via dial up. GIFs were largely supplanted by JPG and PNG file formats, meaning that they are fairly rare today. However, one thing has kept the GIF relevant, at least as a niche format – it was built to accommodate animation of a sort. Anyone who has ever seen an animated GIF knows that it doesn’t quite compare with modern video formats, which of,fer smooth animations similar to DVD and Blu Ray. However, they were cute and as such, they earned a niche for themselves.

The story would end there if it weren’t for Rubens Ben, who recently brought us GIF Gonzo on the Indiegogo website. Basically, his idea is to take these animated GIFs, which typically just show very short transitions and turn them into lenticular printed pieces of artwork, thus allowing GIFs to be displayed in galleries just like paintings and photographs are. Lenticular printing involves printing multiple layers using a specialized machine (we offer such a service here at Snapily) in order to create a printed image which changes, based on how you hold it. Thus it is commonly used for things like coins, such as the Transformers coins we wrote about a while ago.

The idea of creating lenticular printed GIFs is however a new one which we have never seen before so we definitely want to offer our best wishes to GIF Gonzo. The new business’ idea is to take GIFs into the world of galleries by creating limited edition prints of each animated GIF image and selling them already inside of frames together with a certificate of authenticity. The company’s hope is to make these images something more than just a curiosity on the web and to instead make them something museums and high end galleries might display. Funding options for GIF Gonzo range from 1 euro to 7,000 euros. 100 euros gets you a GIF print.

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