This story is over 5 years old

[Best of 2014] The Year in GIFs

2014 was an animated year for GIFs.

by Beckett Mufson
30 December 2014, 8:30pm

Carrie Vander Yacht's series TGIMGIF (Thank God It's Monday Graphic Interchange Format) brings vintage Polaroid snapshots to life.

GIF culture broke borders down and crossed boundaries in the art world throughout 2014, inspiring a digital picture frame and net art marketplace Electric Objects , a host of custom GIF creation apps, and even an international award for the medium hosted by the Saatchi Art Gallery . We saw classic movie posters and iconic album covers spring to GIF-enabled life, and cinemagraphs of Chernobyl sway and jitter creepily. We were promised the impending doom of the GIF at the hands of its lighter, HTML 5-based cousin, the GFY, but then got lost in an army of mesmerizing animations from Tumblr-famous GIF artists. This year was a wild ride for the humble .gif file format, but one that nevertheless kept it at the cutting edge creativity.

This is the Year in GIFs:

Adam Ferriss links together a rapidfire stream of pictures taken from an image search for President Obama.

+ We saw our image searches glitched into oblivion by new media artist Adam Ferriss.

+ GIF theorist Antonio Roberts built shattered digital worlds on an endless loop.

+ Enad Yenrac’s glitched out tunes turned into equally interesting glitched-out GIFs.

We saw nature’s algorithms as surreal animations and Ryan Gosling as GIF-like Vines.

This year the ANI GIF online art gallery showed Eva Papamargariti's surreal net art GIF set, 'And here where we are now?'

ANI GIF's online art gallery wowed us with the possibilities of digital architecture.

S|PyroGIF’s surreal sculptures , KIDMOGRAPH’s neon landscapes, and "Sholim" Rajkovic’s freaky faces showed us the strange side of Tumblr.

+ We imagined a world infested with Mindaugas Pov’s floating metallic cubes.

Zolloc's mesmerizing fluid GIFs imagine a world with a whole different set of physics.

+ Zolloc, aka Hayden Zezula, gave usmesmerizing fluids and gyrating plasmatics in this year’s abstract GIF sets.

+ David Whyte showed us the power of processing in his mind-boggling animations.

Mini paper sculptures, dead tech, and stunning urban landscapes all came alive through the magic of stop-motion.

Christiaan Welzel captures the atmosphere of Chernobly beautifully in this creepy cinemagraph of a hanging gas mask.

Chilling cinemagraphs were Christiaan Welzel's medium of choice for capturing the creepiness of Chernobyl, while Jon Jacobsen used them to transform normal portraits into face-melting creatures.

+ Axel de Stampa played architectural Tetris with this set of urban GIFs.

+ GIFs got physical with design group In Return’s guerilla street GIFs and multimedia artist Joe Winograd’s holographic lenticular prints.

Axel de Stampa's architectural GIF, 'Mirador Building,' was part of his One Week One Project challenge.

+ GifGonzo sought to take the lenticular medium to the next level by crowdsourcing a gallery of holographic GIFs.

+ Street artist and GIF-iti pioneer INSA worked on the largest GIF-iti in the world (accompanied by Madsteez), an augmented reality GIF-iti app , and an vintage GIF-iti Bently.

The largest GIF-iti in the world, a collaboration between INSA and Madsteez, was captured in the Taiwanese city of Taipei.

+ Artist Ryan Seslow and Vandalog editor-in-chief RJ Rushmore launched Encrypted Fills, a digital gallery space and archive to showcase the intersection of digital art and street art.

+ Spanish street artist Cheko launched his own unique brand of uplifting animated GIF-iti.

Scorpion Dagger, aka James Kerr, remixes Renaissance paintings to reflect modern pop culture, like these headbanging early homo sapiens.

+ We spoke to The Current Sea about GIF art galleries, Scorpion Dagger about augmented reality GIFs, and Pug of War about GIF virality.

+ We learned how to stabilize shaky GIFs and automatically isolate a video’s most perfect loops .

+ Net artist Vince McKelvie teamed up with rapper Yung Jake to build the GIF-making app Klear, while Next Thing Co. pioneered a camera designed specifically to make GIFs.

Mexican soccer team manager Miguel Herrera rejoices like a Super Saiyan in animator Adam Phillips' viral GIF.

+ During the emotional rollercoaster that was the World Cup, we cheered alongside Adam Phillips’ viral Dragonball Z remix of Mexican team manager Miguel Herrera.

+ GIFs took us to the science lab with Hugo Germain’s conceptual physics demonstrations, Linden Gredhill's crystallizing DNA, and Eleanor Lutz's diagrams explaining animal flight.

+ We found the ultimate throwback Thursday in Carrie Vander Yacht's animated Polaroids, then let the past trip out on St. Francis Elevator Ride's psychedelic vintage portraits.

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson come to life in this animated poster for Pulp Fiction (1994).

+ Our favorite movies became animated GIF posters.

+ Our favorite albums then got animated GIF covers.

The prize for the 2014 Giphoscope Awards was a mechanically animated giphoscope replicating the winning entry, IRL.

+ We cheered on the world's premiere GIF artists compete for prizes and prestige in the Giphoscope Awards, the Saatchi Gallery’s Motion Photography Contest , and a March Madness-like online GIF tournament.

DevonSuperTramp's adrenaline-pumping slip n' slide was prime GIF bait this year. 

And finally, we lived vicariously through these GIFs of an extreme desert slip n’ slide.

This is part 14 of our end-of-the-year series. Stay tuned as we continue to look back on 2014 and collect all of our favorite examples of modern creativity, fantastic innovations, and important trends.

[Best of 2014] The Year in Projection Mapping

[Best of 2014] The Year in Selfie

[Best of 2014] The Year in Film 

[Best of 2014] The Year in DIY

[Best of 2014] The Year in Emojis

[Best of 2014] The Year in Viral Art

[Best of 2014] The Year in Fashion and Tech

[Best of 2014] The Year in Animation

[Best of 2014] The Year in Art Discoveries

[Best of 2014] The Year in Sound

[Best of 2014] The Year in Brains

[Best of 2014] The Year in Sculpture

[Best of 2014] The Year in Robots

Best of 2014
year in review
.gif art
Adam Ferriss
Hayden Zezula
best GIFs of 2014