I Like GIFSoup, But I Can’t Praise It Just Yet

For this week’s “Other Sites I Like Post” I want to tell you about GIFSoup (www.gifsoup.com).  Not unlike Graphjam, which I wrote about two weeks ago, GIFSoup is just plain fun.

(I want to give a nod to my friends at Japers’ Rink who introduced me to GIFSoup.  Thanks guys!)

Unfortunately, despite the capabilities that I describe below, which are pretty neat, GIFSoup continues to have problems that prevent me from really praising and recommending it.  I’ve delayed this post for about 24 hours, hoping that the site would get back to being functional.  It hasn’t.  That is unfortunate.  Googling a bit showed me that the site has had problems before on more than one occasion.

For any that don’t know, “GIF” stands for graphic interchange format, which was introduced by Compuserve in 1987 to display pictures.  In the 1990s, Netscape introduced the ability to animate a GIF and show motion in the picture.  For more on GIFs than you ever want to know, visit this Wikipedia article.

GIFSoup provides a service that allows any user to create an animated GIF from most YouTube videos.  It does not allow private YouTube videos to be used.  However, you can make a personal video temporarily public, copy it over, and then make it private again.  The animated GIF repeats an action sequence in an infinite loop.  Once you’ve created the animated GIF, it can be used as a static picture would.  It can be pasted in presentations, in emails, on message boards, blogs, etc.

GIFSoup offers two services.  The free services allows each user to create 100 animate GIFs up to 15 seconds long each.  Each GIF created for free also carries the GIFSoup watermark.  For $2.95 per month, users can create unlimited animated GIFs up to 25 seconds long each without a watermark.  Based on the site’s problems, I wouldn’t make the $2.95 per month investment just yet.

Creating an animated GIF on GIFSoup is very easy.  Once you find the YouTube video from which you want to create the GIF, you paste the URL (the web address) into a box on the home page and click “Create GIF.”  The video loads and you are taken to the next page, where you can view the full YouTube video and select the starting and end points for your animated GIF.  GIFSoup also allows you to preview your sequence and modify before saving.

When the site worked, I had some fun with GIFSoup before writing this post, and I created four animated GIFs.  They are all sequenced below.

Marcia Gets Hit in the Nose by a Football

Jordan Beats the Cavs

Keep in mind that GIFSoup has its share of problems.    So, as cool as it is, be ready for the frustration.  Unfortunately, it is the only site of its kind that I can find and, when it works, it is great.

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UPDATE — Frustrations aside, two days later, I was finally able to upload a video of my son on the Flow Rider on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas from YouTube and made an animated GIF.  Again, because the site was up and functioning, it took all of a few minutes.  I also noticed this time that GIFSoup allows each user to make their GIFs private.  As noted above, once I created the animated GIF, I was able to go back to YouTube and make my video private there as well.

Here’s what I created:

The Flow Rider on Freedom of The Seas

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In Praise of Graphjam

If you work in corporate America or in consulting, then you’ve seen your share of charts and graphs.  Thanks to PowerPoint and Excel, graphing anything has become way too easy.  Why talk about market share or profit growth or sales in text or bullet points, if you can show it in a graph?

Now, with Graphjam, you can express much, much more with the same types of charts.  As a regular creator and viewer of graphs and charts at work, I find Graphjam is a great spot for mid-day comic relief.

Graphjam is part of the Cheezburger network of 49 humor sites that post humorous (sickening?) photos from all different perspectives.  Each site allows users like you and me to post or create our own art and to vote and comment on others’ postings.  The Cheezburger network includes sites such as:

My favorite, however, is Graphjam.  Graphjam allows users to create pie charts, venn diagrams, line graphs, bar charts, and equations that tell a story you want to tell.  One of my recent favorites:

Each of us, however, has our own story that we can tell with a graph.  Here’s one I quickly created that conveys a simple reality.  Have fun making your own.