Animated GIFs rule in 2011


Image: From Blade Runner (1982), animated by If We Don't, Remember Me.

Animated GIFs were once the loathed embodiment of everything wrong with 1990s web design. Now they are the new art of the 'net, from message-board humor tropes to mesmerizing distillations of classic movie scenes. Anil Dash:

The facts about animated GIFs are stark. They only support a palette of 256 colors. No current browser lists support for animated GIF as a codec for the HTML5 video tag. That omission is understandable, as GIF compression of animation isn't particularly efficient. They even lived under an unfashionable cloud of patent uncertainty during the web's formative years. And those are just some of the traits I love about the format.

They work perfectly, impose strict creative limitations, and invite artists to solve certain addictive puzzles (such as smooth looping) every time. But there's more to it than that