GNU & Improved GIFs

PromisedLand2460

Big ups to my friend Barry Israelewitz, who wrote a shell script for ffmpeg (based on this article shared in this comment by Paul Wise) and taught me how to use Terminal on my mac to make much better animated gifs than Flash exports directly. Currently it’s significantly more work than just exporting .gif from Flash, because I have to instead export a PNG sequence, import the frames to Quicktime 7, and export as a new .mov to use as an input file for making the gif. This may be streamlined a little bit in the future, but for now at least I can make higher quality gifs if I need to.

Below are close-up details of single frames. “Before” is here, “after” is above.

before

before

after

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Here’s a smaller-sized (because fewer frames) animated gif for side-by-side before-and-after comparison:

before

before

after

after

Much better, no? Plus using Terminal is METAL.

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The Promised Land

PromisedLand2sm

Soon I hope to be able to make gifs that look a lot better than this. A friend is helping, but he first needs to teach me some command-line stuff which I’ve never done on my Mac. Meanwhile here’s a dithery giffy glimpse of the Promised Land that is smaller than 640×480 because WordPress has a 2MB limit for image uploads. My next modification to this scene will be adding milk and honey, and maybe some rainbows coming out of the flying unicorns’ butts.

Livestock Exodus

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32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.  –Exodus 12, KJV

A Bug in My Ass

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So I’m animating an ass for Seder-Masochism, so the Hebrews have something to carry their stuff out of Egypt so their arms are free to let them walk  jauntily and leap around. I export a test and see this weird artifact on the upper foreleg. Flash is rendering the shape as it looks in vector editing mode. If you look carefully you’ll see the point on the upper right has a little bezier handle. Weird, right?

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It’s a bug in Flash (pre-Adobe Macromedia Flash 8, the only Flash I use), the likes of which I’ve never seen before. To make the artifact go away I had to re-draw the foreleg. Below is a render sans bug.

ass3What’s great about this is it solved my problem about how to best use “ass” in a blog post title. I was considering “What an Ass” or “A Fine Ass” or “I Made Myself an Ass,” but this is much better.

 

Crossing the Red Sea

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Gettin’ pumped to conquer the Promised Land!

Every country that exists originated through violent conquest. The victims of these conquests were victors and conquerors earlier. Is violent conquest legitimate? If not, then no country or nation is legitimate. If nations are legitimate, then violent conquest must be also. I ask these questions as I animate the mythical Ancient Hebrews’ quest to conquer Canaan (which was already occupied). There’s just no way to make it look good by modern humanitarian values, and I wonder why that is.

Happy Heeb

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This Hebrew is getting ready to walk right out of Egypt, bouncing along to a song that has beats every 19 frames (oy!). Here’s how he looked in an earlier scene.

Parted Sea Waves

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You think you’re getting closer to the Promised Land, but you aren’t.

Moses parts the Red Sea

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There are better ways to encode animated gifs, but I don’t have access to them right now. This was exported from Macromedia Flash 8 (2005), so it’s dithered. If anyone knows of a safe, modern online .mov-to-.gif converter that uses a non-dithering encoder, or same to download for my antique (OS 10.6) Mac, let me know.

Strange Waves

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Water, like fire, is basically impossible for me to animate correctly, so I try to come up with extremely stylized ways to evoke it. Right now I’m designing water-walls for the Parting of the Red Sea. Not sure how it’s gonna work out, but here are a couple tests as I find my way.

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These little animated gifs have dithered colors which give them blue and purple flickers absent in the original animation.

Angel O’ Death T-shirts

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Available until December 3 2014 April 13 here! There’s a pull-down menu that lets you choose between men’s and women’s crew necks, v-necks, and unisex long sleeved shirts. Teespring worked great for the Passover Satyr shirts – I was pleased with the quality of both the screen printing and the shirt stock. This is a much easier way for me to produce shirts than trying to figure out demand in advance and paying for everything up front.

Moses Goes Down

Here is Exodus 3-7, too much to quote here. Featuring the Burning Bush, Moses, Hebrew slaves, strange gods (actually goddesses), Aharon, Pharaoh, a staff turning into a snake, and sing-along phonetic hieroglyphs.
The introduction to this scene is “God Calls Moses to Mt. Horeb”.

Music: Go Down Moses
Arranged and performed by Louis Armstrong (with Sy Oliver’s Orchestra, 1958)

Unlike most other Seder-Masochism scenes I’ve posted, this one isn’t primarily parody; the overall message is similar to that of the song. I still argue it’s Fair Use, and transformative. Parody isn’t the only way to transform (nor is transformation the only criterion for Fair Use). “Go Down Moses” itself was transformative without being parody: it made Exodus into a story of American slavery. Creativity is complicated and shouldn’t be dictated by lawyers. LET MY PEOPLE GO!

Like this work? Donate here.

The Ten Plagues of Egypt

Here they are, in order, in time for Passover: all Ten Plagues I animated for Seder-Masochism, my feature-film-in-progress. Yes, they will be joined together by a unifying narrative device in the final film, but for now they exist as separate clips. Click on each one for more information and higher resolution. Like this work? Donate here.

The Eighth Plague: Locusts (rough)

“4 Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:

“5 And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:” –Exodus 10, KJV

Wrapping up here with the final stanzas of Oingo Boingo’s 1982 “Insects,” which I also used in “Lice” and “Flies.” Lyrics:

Insects make me scream and shout!
They don’t know what life’s about
They don’t have blood
They’ve got too many legs
They don’t have brains in their heads

They know they’ll rule the world someday
They bite and sting me anyway
They bite and sting and SUCK
They bite and sting and SUCK SUCK SUCK
They bite and sting and SUCK SUCK SUCK

Dance (Dance)
Those insects make me –

 

Locusts “eat every tree which groweth out of the field”

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The Locusts are coming…

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Yes, I know locusts hop. But I also want mine to march.