Teen Librarian Toolbox
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First Kiss: More Lego Movie Fun (More on my journey in learning how to make GIFs)

Previously, I shared with you how my Teens and I decided to explore the world of GIFmaking by using the Legos in my library’s MakerSpace. This week, I totally had something totally new and fun prepared for my teens, but a group came in very excited about the prospects of making more “movies”. They had apparently been thinking and talking about it, planning what today’s movie might look like. One of my favorite movies created today they titled FIRST KISS:

They were working hard behind the scenes trying to figure out how they could make a crash scene but show the steps of the crash more in process. They experimented with things like using a hidden Lego to prop up a car to show it in the process of turning over, step by step. It was fascinating to watch them try and figure out a way to make this happen. We’ll have to keep working on it, but it’s a fun challenge to try and solve.

Here’s how making our .GIF Lego movies works. You have to storyboard your scene, at least conceptually. What do you want to see happen in the movie? What elements do you need to create to make it work? Then you fill in the details.

After you build all the pieces, you then have to take step by step single photos. You set up your first shot, then click the photo. Make a slight adjustment – move a car forward, move a person forward – then click the photo. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Movements have to be small to make it look like it’s happening. And you have to keep the frame set in the exact same place for it to work well. I might even invest in a tripod of some sorts (do they have something like that for the iPhone?) to help keep the camera stable and the frame perfectly set.

After taking my series of photos, I used the Giffer app to upload the pictures, frame it, adjust the speed, etc. You can read my previous review here. In a much earlier post I listed a wide variety of ways to make GIFs, and if they continue to want to make GIFs I might try comparing different ways by using some new tools:

Article on 9 Free GIF Maker Apps at About Technology

Make an animated GIF in Photoshop GickrPicasionGifBoom (app!)Cinemagram (also an app!)Gizmodo: How to Make a GIF in 5 Easy Steps Free Online GIFmakerMake a GIFMashable: Make Reaction GIFs with These 7 ToolsMashable: How to Make GIFs8 Free GIF Maker Apps
GIF are so popular there are even artists out there specializing in GIFs, and they are amazing:
YPulse: 3 Rising Artists of the Digital Age.

The FIRST KISS “Lego Movie” was made with the teens at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas. I’m learning how to create GIFs right along with my teens, it’s pretty cool actually.

App Review & Lego MakerSpace Fun: Giffer – Using Legos to tell stories and learn how to make Gifs

Because of time, space and money, my library MakerSpace is primarily Lego based. But that’s okay, there is a lot you can do with Legos. Last night I met with a group of Tweens and we used our Legos and an App to create Gifs.

Most of the Tweens there didn’t know what a Gif is, so that was the first thing we covered.

Then we had to storyboard an outline for our Gif. We chose animals because you could move them and show that movement pretty easily. They tend to want to build houses, which are stationary and not the best for telling a story of this kind.

So a variety of animals were built, including penguins, a zebra and a lion. A few other animals were attempted and then scrapped. Simplicity is what we needed.

After we created our animals, we started playing around with placement and movement, taking still photos along the way. Similar to an old fashioned flip book, we knew that if we did small movements and then put the still frames in a Gif maker we would get a pretty cool looking Gif.

The Gif maker we ended up choosing was Giffer. It is available in the iTunes store for $2.99. There is a pro version for an additional dollar. Please note, there are a variety of Gif makers you can choose:

Make an animated GIF in Photoshop Gickr Picasion GifBoom (app!) Cinemagram (also an app!) Gizmodo: How to Make a GIF in 5 Easy Steps Free Online GIFmaker Make a GIF Mashable: Make Reaction GIFs with These 7 Tools Mashable: How to Make GIFs 8 Free GIF Maker Apps 

My favorite part was that after we made our first Gif, one of the Tweens present decided we had to do it all over again because he needed to add blood – which of course was some red Legos. So here’s our Gif . . .

Karen’s Thoughts:

Overall, I liked a lot of things about the App and would give it a 3 out of 5 stars. There are a few things I would like to change:

1. You can add text, but you can’t change the color of the text. It is white, which was problematic for us. There are font choices, but no color choices to which I say boo.

2.  I’m still looking around, but it looks like they have easy sharing capabilities with Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook but I can’t find an embed code. I really wanted to easily be able to copy and paste an embed code for the above Gif to show you what it looked like but the only way I could figure out how to do that was to tweet the gif to myself and embed the tweet, so in this aspect I couldn’t use this gifmaker to make and use gifs in the way that I wanted to. So I’m going to keep researching that aspect. If anyone has an answer for me on this problem, please share it in the comments.

As for the process itself, it was really quite easy. The Tweens and I had a lot of fun trying to figure out how to make our story work. They did wonder why there were penguins on our Serengeti, but the answer is because I adore penguins. Penguins should be in all the things. Also, they were easy to make. We had fun and we learned some new things, not just tech things – which were awesome – but some things like storyboarding. I call this day a win.

So here’s the big question: What is your favorite Gif maker and why? I am particularly interested in something that gives you more freedom with how you share your gifs.

More Resources: 
15 Sexy, Easy-to-Use Multimedia Tools to Up Your Visual Content Game

Geek is the New Black: GIF 101

See also: How my teens make stop motion movies using Legos and a Giffer app

Okay, technically they are not new.  They are just now mega popular.  So I asked Christie to ask That Guy (who is tech support), how do these things work?  Because like all new tech – at least new to you – there is a learning curve.  So I have been investigating and thought I would share because that is what I do.  See: Librarian, one who shares things.

First thing you need to know, it is pronounced “jif”.  Yes, like the peanut butter. I found this out the embarrassing way.  I will save you.

Second thing you need to know, it stands for Graphics Interchange Format. They are those moving picture thingies that you see around the web.

The Internet is GIFtacular

Although GIFs can be used any time and any place, Tumblr and Buzzfeed are the haven of GIFs.  They are also both sites that I am obsessed with because they make sharing easy and fun.  If you do not have a Tumblr, you should.  I like the way that Tumblr makes it easy to choose to share a quote, a website, a video or a picture.  And I love the way it handles pictures – quick, easy and stylish.

If I had to guess, I would say that the most popular GIFs tend to spring from Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock, 80s movies, superhero movies, and Disney Princesses.  They are often used to convey emotion to punctuate what someone has just said.  For example, if you were talking about a book that made you cry and feel all the feels, you would add this:

crying gif photo: crying zoey crying.gif
From Photobucket

See, GIFs are fun.  You can find some at Reaction Gifs, Gif Bin and Gif Soup.  You can also find them at Photobucket, PicGifs, and Flickr.

There is info on how to use/add them to a post here.

How to Make Them

You can find a ready supply of GIFs on the Internet, but issues of copyright can be tricky.  Many believe they basically fall under the halo of “Fair Use”.  There is a good discussion about this issue here and here.  If you are worried about the Internet police coming after you, you can make your own.  There are tools and tutorials out there.  They include:

Find out more here

Make an animated GIF in Photoshop
GifBoom (app!)
Cinemagram (also an app!)
Gizmodo: How to Make a GIF in 5 Easy Steps
Free Online GIFmaker
Make a GIF
Mashable: Make Reaction GIFs with These 7 Tools
Mashable: How to Make GIFs
8 Free GIF Maker Apps

GIF are so popular there are even artists out there specializing in GIFs, and they are amazing.
YPulse: 3 Rising Artists of the Digital Age.

Which brings about a new way to get teens involved in the library: Have Them Make GIFs.  Have a contest. Ask the members on your TAB to create GIFs for you to share.  You don’t have to sit back and do all the marketing yourself, you can get teens involved.

Whatever you do – happy GIFfing!

More About GIFs
Mashable: The History of GIFs
What Journalists Need to Know About GIFs
5 Ways to Find Best Animated GIFs
YPulse: Why GIFs Become the Sweethearts of the Internet