GIFs and Vine – Animation Promotional Tool or Nuisance?

gif-club animation

GIFs pretty much inhabit the internet these days. You can’t click a link without stumbling across one, and God help you if you think you’re going to get very far down your Tumblr dashboard without seeing at least a dozen. Yes indeedy, GIFs are a great piece of the larger internet puzzle which has been discussed on this blog before. That said, are they becoming more a nuisance?

Peanuts and Vine: Together At Last

Today’s post comes courtesy of the announcement that the Peanuts gang are set to star in 12 videos to be launched on Twitter’s Vine service. iKids describes the new content as being:

Commissioned by Peanuts Worldwide, [Khoa] Phan will develop a dozen original, six-second videos using the app. Videos will be based on 12 Peanut themes, including the kite-eating tree, Schroeder’s music, Linus’s blanket, Lucy’s psychiatry booth, Snoopy’s dog house, Snoopy himself, the Red Baron, Woodstock, baseball games, football games, the Great Pumpkin and the Little Red-Haired Girl.

So far so, well, brand synergy-ey. Vine has proven to be quite popular (animator Marlo Meekins has become even more infamous famous thanks to her creations) and has found its way into sharing ideas that one would never thought worthy.

The coming together of Peanuts and Vine sort of makes sense given the latter’s comic strip origins and the requisite focus on a single gag. Vine would essentially replicate this on a motion picture scale. That said, there are concerns that have been raised.

Does It Reduce The Stature of Animation?

OK, this one’s a wee bit out there, but it’s still valid. Plenty of TV shows and films (animated or otherwise) are being reduced to GIFs by fans. Sure, they’re sharing the content they love and using GIFs as a discussion tool, but there is an inherent danger that the larger meaning or story behind a GIF could be lost by its brevity.

So is there a danger that animated content is being reduced to an extremely short-form of content or is this another opportunity for the technique?

The case for the latter is certainly strong. We’ve already seen animated GIFs used for unique creations; an encouraging sign.

The Nuisance Risk

As with anything on the internet, there is a habit of taking things about as far as they can be tolerated. Animated GIFs are just the latest in a long line of things to mollify the internet (glossy buttons anyone?). With such prevelance comes the risk of over-exposure. Memes have already reached a level of notoriety that has seen them banned from various discussion boards and subreddits. Animated GIFs could be next.

Using GIFs for promotional purposes is where the line may well be drawn. Tumblr has come in for some flack over the use of GIFs in promoted ads on the site. Ditto for corporate GIFs whose sole purpose is to either sell stuff or incite a consumer response. The concern is that all are perceived as being advertisements and therefore to be avoided.

Are GIFs the latest internet fad or are they really the new old way of distributing content? Share your thoughts with a comment!

Dennys GIF

Blue Sky And Peanuts: It’s Not the End of the World

Via: Peanutsblog

The news broke earlier on today that FOX subsidiary Blue Sky is tackling Charles Schultz’s classic Peanuts strip in an all-new feature film. The alarm hence raised, many proclaimed the end of a classic property, the smearing of Schultz’s memory and the surety with which the eventual film will suck. The A.V. Club weighed in by pointing out the hilarity of the press release in declaring a feature film possible at this point in time thanks to the current state of technology.

But enough about the armchair commentators, what does the deal really signify?

For starters, Schultz’s estate is not short of cash. Peanuts characters (particularly Snoopy) continue to abound in merchandise and the various books continue to sell. The seasonal specials are a staple of American television and air religiously on an annual basis.

The few features that were made by Bill Melendez back in the day are less well known today (although they’re still readily accessible in my mind, as my 4th of July post exemplifies) so what it comes down to is the Schultz estate’s desire to implant the Peanuts legacy into a new generation of youngsters for whom the beloved characters do no not hold the same level of nostalgia that they do for older folks.

Now the estate has some control over the look and nature of any theatrical project but their choice of Blue Sky is an interesting one. The details remain secret, but FOX may have been willing to pay the highest royalties or percentage of profits. On the other hand, now that FOX has a distribution deal with DreamWorks, it has to find a suitable use for Blue Sky outside of the Ice Age franchise.

I am skeptical that we will see a 3-D CGI version of the Peanuts characters. By all accounts we should have seen them already seeing as plenty of other classic characters have already undergone the transformation (Rocky & Bullwinkle and Scooby Doo spring to mind). Might Blue Sky surprise us with a CGI-assisted 2-D version? Disney’s Paperman short suggests that the technology exists in some form.

So let’s not count the chickens before their hatched. The film is not due for a couple of years yet so we’ll just have to hold our breath until the first glimpses emerge. What is known though, is that the Schultz estate has a proven track record of asserting the necessary control over Peanuts-related projects to ensure they maintain a suitably high standard.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, check out the groovy title sequence from the 1972 feature, Snoopy Come Home: