Librarians deserve all the love and support they can get. It doesn’t matter if you give them a gift or a simple Thank You card, showing your support is all that matters. So when Julie Gribble asked me to make .GIFs for some of the greatest librarians in the kid lit community, I was more than honored to lend a hand. .GIFs are hugely popular, especially .GIFs about new hit movies and shows, and they’re a great way to show your appreciation for something, whether that’s a book, movie, or a person. According to Google, .GIF is a lossless format for image files that supports both animated and static images, in other words it’s an image that acts like an animation and is internet friendly without all the buffering. Today I’m going to walk you step by step on how I created the #LibraryLove .GIFs. It’s fun activity for parents, teachers, and librarians to share with their kiddos!
Step One: Image Editing/Animation Software
I’m going to skip over the ‘Create an idea, story, etc’ for obvious reasons and cut to the chase. The first step should always be opening your Image Editing/Animation Software which will act as your tool for creating a .GIF. Photoshop is what I used to create the #LibraryLove .GIFS, by creating a template and using layers to animate each sequence. Each layer served as an animation and when you put all of those layers together and press play the end result is a full animation. I use a Cintiq tablet to illustrate, because it makes controlling the movements of the layers much easier.
Step Two: More Layers
Once you have your basic template, you might want to add more animation to your .GIF, such as squiggly text that all of my KidLit TV .GIFs usually include. The simple movements the text makes is hand drawn on the tablet and used as a separate layer from the actual drawing. Try this out in your own style and see where this handwritten animation takes you!
Step Three: Coloring
Time to add some personality to your .GIF! The #LibraryLove .GIFs are based on Mr. John Schu, Rocco Staino and Betsy Bird‘s love of reading and represent all they do as librarians, so of course I had to choose colors that complimented that (especially because these .GIFs were made for Valentine’s Day). When creating a .GIF always keep in mind that colors are one of the most important steps because this represents what your .GIF stands for.
Step Four: Saving for the Web
When you save a .GIF for the web always make it web-friendly by keeping it RGB and switching the looping option to “Forever” instead of “Once.” This is why the #LibraryLove .GIFs are able to replay over and over and over and over on a webpage and social media!
Making .GIFs is a combination of illustration, animation, tech skills and patience. .GIFs make great gifts and virtual greeting cards and can really show appreciation to the person you are making it for. But there are many ways to show kindness to librarians, because they are all about the joy and love of books that help children of all ages grow up to be avid readers!