It is safe to say that just about everyone living in our world understands what a Graphic Interchange Format, or GIF is and where it’s existence is found. For someone who is part of my generation, the wonderful millennia’s, we have experienced the world of GIF’s throughout our entire web surfing lives. Most, including myself, probably didn’t realize that GIF’s were revealed to the world before the world wide web was even created. Before 1996, web browsers were not strong enough to support a GIF’s capability until Netscape 2.0 was released in March of that year. This changed the “face of the internet” in just a short period of time.
This made it possible for undercover artists like Chuck Poynter who created hundreds of animations in his lifetime. Poynter among many other artists began bringing life to everything like animals, objects, and people. The possibilities were endless, just as the placement of these creations was as well. Being created from just simple software tools made making these files a possibility for anyone and the transfer of a GIF to a new site was seeming-less. Poynter has amazing examples of these early animations, some obviously being more popular than others. His creation “Dancing Girl” is actually an animation I had seen years before reading his article, “In memory of Chuck Poynter, user and GIF maker”. It seemed like a very distant memory but there is a distinct familiarity to this dancing girl. Among this well looped animation he also created rotating beach balls, piano keyboards, running cats, and spinning skunks. His collection itself seems to be somewhat of a motley crew but many admire his contributions to original GIF designs.
After the early nineties and into the twenty-first century, GIF's took a hit from the internet as people began to think the animated cats and dogs created a childish look to the business-like design behind websites. Even with the turn of times the art of GIF design never died out, artist Tom Moody said they have,"evolved into a kind of ubiquitous ‘mini-cinema, entirely native to the personal computer and the World Wide Web. . . along with JPEGs and PNGs comprise its most authentic visual language." The look of GIF art has changed dramatically throughout the years and its abundance of documentation has anything but left us short of material.