You’re browsing Twitter and you spot A tweet that says “current status” followed by a link. The link turns out to be an animated photo of a cat trying to sit inside a tiny box. You chuckle a bit and wonder, what was that thing? That little animation is most likely an animated GIF. These animated snippets are nothing new necessarily, but they’ve seen some increased traction lately.
Gifture is a new iPhone application that enables you to easily create and share some really cool animated GIFs. Think of an Instagram, but only for GIFs. If you haven’t seen any of these little things you’re in luck; they’re pretty entertaining to view, and now with Gifture, they’re even more fun to create.
Design and Interface
The comparisons with Instagram will continue in this area as well. The interface is quite similar in its layout, but does definitely differentiate itself from a design perspective. A bottom navigation bar is consistent throughout the application and holds the core functionality of the application. The design is nice and feels fresh, but at the same time it isn’t anything too different from what you’re used to seeing with other applications.
One of the main sections of the application is the Feed. This will show the recent GIFs posted by those users that you are following. The application will open to this screen so that you can see what your friends have been creating right away.
You’ll also have the ability to comment on or favorite a GIF. The comments and favorites will display within the feed as well so you can see how popular any single GIF has become and throw in your two cents if you’d like. It’s a fun way to socially interact with others in this space.
Because of the nature of what is being shared, if you aren’t on a decently quick network you will feel some pain with GIFs loading. While we’re not talking crazy slow here, you will notice the difference when compared to photos loading in an application like Instagram.
A section of the application is dedicated to highlighting the most popular, recently posted GIFs. These appear in a tile format in the Popular section of Gifture.
It’s not completely obvious how GIFs make it to this section, but my guess is that they are recently popular and not historically the most popular as they do change regularly. However it works, I really like this section for exploring outside of your feed, especially when dealing with a newer service it can be a little difficult to discover what people outside of your bubble are doing. This area serves as a perfect place to widen your viewing angle.
Activity and Account
Your activity and activity related to you will be tracked and can be viewed in (you guessed it) the Activity section. You’ll see when people start to follow you as well as when they comment on or favorite one of your GIFs. You can also see the flip side here and view the activity of those that are following you. So essentially, two different directions in which to view Gifture activity.
The Account section is pretty standard and includes functionality to maintain your profile and your friends and some other settings. It’s pretty self-explanatory for the most part. You’ll be able to change your name, avatar, username and things like that.
The Friends area within the account settings is actually quite helpful in locating Gifture users. There is some good search functionality that allows you to search by username specifically or even check your address book, Facebook or Twitter friends lists. This is a really helpful area to aide you in getting started, it makes it quite easy to find your friends. It’s not in the most obvious position, but be sure to make note of it. There’s a good chance it’ll come in handy for you at some point.
Now we can actually get to the core of Gifture. Creating animated GIFs. As fun as these things are to look at they are even more fun to create. Gifture has built a fairly flexible utility that makes it dead simple and a lot of fun to do some really cool things.
First, I should mention that you can use photos taken outside of Gifture in your GIFs. You can simply select photos right from your photo library. The easier method however, is to utilize Gifture’s two different shooting modes.
The auto mode is the best way to create very quick and cool, more smooth animations. With auto mode activated you just press the shutter button and Gifture will snap ten photos for you and link them all together.
You’ll be able to make some adjustments to the GIF after you’ve shot it. Changing the frame rate from one frame per second all the way to ten frames per second is very easy and can create some pretty interesting effects. You’ll also be able to apply one of seven filters to it. While it doesn’t feel quite as cool or needed in this scenario as compared to static photos, it is pretty fun playing with the different filters to see how it alters your creation. It is also possible to edit the individual photos that make up the GIF.
If you’d like a little more control then you’ll want to shoot in Manual Mode. With Auto Mode you’d essentially let Gifture shoot a series of photos for you, whereas in Manual Mode you press the shutter button for each photo. Here’s where you can start to do some really creative things, everything from short-stop motion type creations to GIFs that span multiple locations over long periods of time. This mode really does open up a whole world of possibilities.
Sharing your GIFs within the Gifture ecosystem to all of your friends here is nice and your creations will post into the main feed, but you also have the ability to share them via Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr as well. Connecting to those services is very easy and sharing to those services is as simple as tapping an icon.
Gifture is a really cool and fun application for a couple different reasons. First, viewing GIFs is quite addicting and almost always entertaining. Just browsing the Gifture feed is a total blast and you’ll discover it’s quite easy to burn good chunks of time explore what people have been creating. The second, and probably most important, is that it has created a new platform for making the process to create very impressive animated GIFs super easy.
Taking a creative photo is one thing and as we’ve seen that that can be encompassed in a pretty great service, but Gifture and GIFs in general open up the door to almost endless creativity. Everytime I browse the feed I’m blown away by what people are creating with this thing and I think that it will only continue to expand upon itself. Gifture is free, it’s a lot of fun and it’s super easy to use. I’m pretty confident in saying that this service will continue to grow as more people are exposed to it. Do yourself a favor and go check it out and create some cool GIFs. I promise you’ll have a great time.