By Michael Bosley

    WARNING: MAY CONTAIN GIFs!   giphy (2)   For years the GIF was the tacky joke of the internet; synonymous with flaky, home-made websites from the 90‚Äôs and the calling card of a web designer who didn’t know when to stop.   Chris Piascik             Chris Piascik   But the GIF (or Graphic Interchange Format) is experiencing something of a renaissance - which may come as a surprise in a¬†multimedia world where every article, story and blog is now splattered with high quality, lazer-sharp, eye splittingly realistic 96000p HD videos and animations. Thanks to news media websites such as Buzzfeed and also more recently, Channel 4‚Äôs 4newswall, who heavily utilise the humble 28-year old format, the GIF has found a new home amongst the Vines and YouTube videos thanks to its comparatively small file size, ease of implementation into websites and general unobtrusiveness; no ‚Äúplay‚Äù buttons, no unexpectedly loud noises and its simple ability to loop endlessly, captures us in a state of mesmeric catatonia.   anigif_enhanced-26933-1443475139-9   Introduced by CompuServe in 1987, this compressed image format was designed to be used with still images as well as animated ones, but it was the latter feature of the format that gained popularity with the rise of the internet. In the early days, when download speeds were measured in units of days rather than seconds, websites had to be compact and fast. GIF‚Äôs were generally rather small, irritating distractions used to embellish a dull looking website or for small navigation buttons or banner ads. devourer¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†cc_logan¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†ovalanm¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†uefalink¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†Banana-gif-bananas-30667445-140-140   But the 90‚Äôs craze for GIF‚Äôs exploded when web hosting services like Geocities allowed amateur website designers to go completely nuts with their websites, often culminating in an eyesore of epilepsy-inducing proportions.   [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azl5jxcXCZk[/embed]   Plugins such as Macromedia‚Äôs Flash allowed for slicker animations and transitions on websites and as bandwidth grew and technologies advanced, the GIF soon began to look clunky and amateurish. Fast-forward to today and despite the GIF being threatened with obsolescence by the more efficient PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format, it‚Äôs arguable as popular as it ever was. As well as its aforementioned application within articles and news as a way to enhance the main story, the GIF format has grown as an artistic platform for animators to produce quick, conceptual works of moving art using computer graphics, still photography and conventional drawings.   Tech Noir Tech Noir   Organisations such as the Giphoscope Awards exist purely with the aim of recognising the work of GIF artists around the globe and websites such as Tumblr and Giphy let artists showcase their creations; from the sublime to the bizarre.   Clay Rodery Clay Rodery   Skip Hursh Skip Hursch   George RedHawk George RedHawk   giphy (3) Trolli Another enduring legacy of the GIF will be the heated debate regarding the pronunciation of the word “GIF”. Creators of the format insist that “Jif” has always been the correct pronunciation of the format, whilst others steadfastly stand by the term “Gif” - with a hard “G”. So what do you think? Let us know Maudit

panel management