In Focus: Ori Toor shares his pro-tips for making looping gifs
Tel Aviv illustrator and animator Ori Toor is best known for his multi-coloured, experimental loops.
Remember to embrace the GIF aesthetic. Create something short, with a rich but limited colour palette.
Ori Toor describes himself as ‘a vegetarian and failed vegan who likes riding his bicycle and watching other people play video games’, he has also undoubtedly turned gifs into an artform.
Curious about his creative process, we spoke to Ori about his impressive portfolio, exploring key software techniques and tools for making brilliant gifs.
How are GIFs typically used commercially – what purpose do they serve?
There is no one true way to gain attention and popularity as a GIF maker.
I’ve seen GIF’s being used as a promotional moving image, an alternative to a music video (much like a lyrics video) and sometimes an editorial illustration. They’re also a sub genre of video art. Absolutely no rules here.
My experience taught me it’s better for me to approach any art project without knowing exactly what I’m doing.
Can you talk us through your creative process?
If I have a general idea, it’s better to keep it vague and start working immediately and not to flesh it out too much beforehand with sketches and the like. With Gif’s it is no different.
To get started, first I open up a new file (it used to be in flash but now I like doing animation in Photoshop). I create a new video layer and start drawing a shape. Then I draw a movement frame by frame. I try to make it interesting and to loop back to the first frame. Once there’s a loop I can export it to After Effects where I duplicate the loop and treat it as sort of an animated LEGO block.
I build something with the blocks and sometimes combine other loops as well. I play around with the sizes and rotation and position of the loops but also with how they relate to each other on the timeline – the don’t start and end at the same time.
What I end up with is a very organic abstract sculpture that is constantly moving. I export it as a MOV file and take it back to photoshop where I save it as a Gif (save for web). Sometimes the entire process takes place in Photoshop and the outcome is an improvised loop.
Key tips for making gifs by Ori Toor
- Remember to embrace the GIF aesthetic. Create something short, with a rich but limited colour palette.
- In order to create a GIF that’s compliant with most web platforms, you will have to compromise the quality of the image. That means you’ll have to either create something that’s very short, has a limited palette or is very rich but then very compressed.
- Don’t expect to make a 10 second HD animation with tons of color.
- Look through the Tumblr guidelines and prepare yourself in advance!