This post is for Mark Armstrong who introduced me to the creative possibilities of Animated GIFs. He suggested I try making a GIF of a bee landing on a flower (he must have seen the photos I did of bugs after I got my macro lens!). The bees were too busy to become involved in this project, but I did have a colorful Hoverfly on a nice yellow flower and it said it would might be interested in participating.
So I stuffed the Hoverfly into a 295X200 pixel file in Photoshop Elements (it took a lot of pushing and shoving to get what was actually a big hoverfly into such a small space!) Then I extracted the Hoverfly and saved it as a separate layer. I did a bunch of other things until I had five layers, four with a Hoverfly in different positions, and one with no hoverfly. Finally, I saved the whole thing as an animated GIF.
TaDa – The Hoverfly visiting a yellow flower, over and over again. Of course, if I was going to do it right, I should have moved the wings and legs a bit to enhance the feel of movement. But at this point, the hoverfly was quite tired of my demands, so I called it a day.
This is just a simple example of what can be done with Animated GIFs. Much more intricate results can be obtained by manipulating a video. These are called Cinemagraphs,. Some wonderful examples are at From Me to You.