My Dog, My Muse

By | December 11, 2011

Must. Make. DOG. GIF. ASAP!

dog's ears flapping at 0.1s per frame

Ear flapping Flying Dog

Why must I make a dog gif? Well, let me take you on a journey through my thought process.

As you may know, I have already written how much I love photograph nostalgia like Dear Photograph.

Yesterday my friend emailed me a link to Back to the Future. Be still my heart! What is going on there?!

The artist, Irena Wirning writes:

“I love old photos. I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them…”

I can really relate. I love other people’s photographs, old and new, in their homes, in their albums, in their ancient projectors, in their Flickr streams. You know that Flickr picture with 1 view? That’s me clicking through creating little narratives about the context for each photo.

The way she sets up each shot is so meticulous. I found myself revisiting the site and on the fourth visit, I started clicking around looking at other pages and then- I came across Irini’s Muse: Chini the Chinese Crested dog!.

Now, I have also been reacquainting myself with the joys of dogness in my life.

Welcome Stella! (from a pet named desire)

Most of all I enjoy the walking again. In past winters, I have been prone to semi-hibernate into a mild turpor when cold weather comes. Stella’s necessary walks have been great motivator to get us out of the house.

This weekend on our evening walk, we noticed Stella’s ears looked like she was flying and my dog became my own muse; I thought how cute it would be to make an animated gif of her funny little ears flopping. I filmed a short 10 second video last night on my iPhone.

Then I notice in the twitter stream these hilarious definitive collection of cat gifs. Martha and Alan shared an exchange about the lack of dog gifs, so without a minute to lose, I transfered the video from my phone to my computer, imported into MPEG StreamClip. Set in and out at the appropriate 2 seconds.

MPEG StreamClip screenshot

MPEG StreamClip screenshot, Select OUT

Exported to QuickTime.

Imported Video to Photoshop as Layers.

On the Mac: in order to import video to layers in Photoshop you need to ensure that you are running 32bit mode. This can be changed from Finder-Applications-Photoshop- Info (cmd+i)- select “open in 32bit mode”

Screen shot Photoshop 32bit mode

Screen shot Photoshop 32bit mode

Played with delay per keyframe (default is 0.04). Cropped image. Played with dithering. Exported as animated GIF.

black dog's ears flapping as she trots

TOO FAST (0.04s)

screenshot photoshop

Messing with keyframe delay

dog ears flapping

TOO SLOW keyframe delay (0.5s)

dog flapping ears fast slow fast speed

Still not right- 0.2s, 0.2s, 0.4s, 0.2s, 0.2s

dog flapping ears medium speed

Nope, not yet. 0.3s, 0.4s, 0.5s, 0.4s, 0.3s delay

dog's ears flapping at 0.1s per frame

Aaaah. GIF sweet spot: 0.1s delay. Ear flapping 5 frame goodness

7 thoughts on “My Dog, My Muse

  1. scottlo

    Yes, we do need some dog GIFs and this one is profound. Also, you’re sharing of examples of the how playing with the different variables alters the effect of the animate GIF is tremendously useful. Great Great stuff as always.

    But what I wanna know is why nobody’s making no animated GIFs of their pet chinchillas. They are so soft and cuddly and make such soothing sounds.

  2. Alan Levine

    Yes! At this rate we can take on those snotty ass cats. Snobollas.

    What the heck is a chinchilla?

    After my trip today, I might be able to GIF som Tasmanian Devils (of course, they are ripping raw meat from each other).

    Thus DOGS RULE

  3. Lou McGill


    I have been working on a greyhound running one for a while (my lovely greyhound) – you’ve spurred me on to revisit it. Will try to do some doggie goodness over the hols.

    Been way too busy to play lately and that just has to be remedied with ds106ness

  4. Giulia Post author

    @Lou, I remember you said you had to buckle down and finish a load of work, it’s so nice to see your return. I’ve missed you in the fray! So, absolutley—YES to the Greyhound!!!
    @cogdog maybe to the tasmanian devils (although ripped flesh? ew) and @scottlo if we could find someone who owned a chinchilla perhaps they deserve some attention too.
    However, if we are to overtake those cats, we must focus on our doggie gifs. How about some Lil’ Rocky howling? Let’s go folks! Time to ramp up for DS106 2012 edition!

  5. Sandy Brown Jensen

    This is one of the more evocative or emotional gifs I’ve seen. You almost make me want to try one, but your process seems tortuous. Is that how everybody makes them? Isn’t there a nifty Web 2.0 ap I could use? I have a couple of cats just sitting around the house being useless when they could be contributing their gifness to the world.

  6. Giulia Post author

    Hi Sandy,
    It’s not that tortuous, really! I’m sorry if I made it seem that way. There are many ways of making one, you certainly don’t need to muddle with the timing, I just thought I’d experiment.
    There are a whack sack of tutorials out there that are escaping me at the minute but a quick Google will turn up a lot.
    I do know that Tom Woodward had one:
    and probably a ton more that I’m forgetting due to the late hour!
    Give it a shot!!

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