Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The ancestor of the animated GIF

Animated GIFs have had a new lease of life and are bursting onto our screens at the moment ever since Facebook has enable them on their software, but did you know that this type of animation had started long before any computers were invented?

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Nearly 155 years before CompuServe debuted the first animated gif in 1987, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau unveiled an invention called the Phenakistoscope, a device that is largely considered to be the first mechanism for true animation. The simple gadget relied on the persistence of vision principle to display the illusion of images in motion.

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Via Juxtapoz:

The phenakistoscope used a spinning disc attached vertically to a handle. Arrayed around the disc’s center were a series of drawings showing phases of the animation, and cut through it were a series of equally spaced radial slits. The user would spin the disc and look through the moving slits at the disc’s reflection in a mirror. The scanning of the slits across the reflected images kept them from simply blurring together, so that the user would see a rapid succession of images that appeared to be a single moving picture.

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

And although Plateau is credited with inventing the device, there were numerous other mathematicians and physicists who were working on similar ideas around the same time, and even they were building on the works of Greek mathematician Euclid and Sir Isaac Newton who had also identified principles behind the phenakistoscope.

155 Years Before the First Animated Gif, Joseph Plateau Set Images in Motion with the Phenakistoscope history gifs animation

Feeling dizzy yet? Check out the rest of the original article from Colossal here.