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Animated GIFs are one of those things on the Internet that people either love or hate. The state of the art for the Internet of the 90's they are simple images that move or change. They can spice up a webpage, a Facebook page, a forum signature or simply entertain your friends. It is also a fair amount more work than a single image and something most people don't know how to make. GIF SHOP makes creating GIFs far easier by allowing you to use the iPhone camera and a simple program. It also lets you impress your friends by sending those GIFs you have created to Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr, and since most people don't know how to make them they will seem far more impressive.
Let's explore further in our GIF SHOP review...
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While making GIFs has been moderately difficult in the past, GIF SHOP makes it almost too easy. This is because rather than having to take pictures and link them together, the program and the camera are connected. This saves a lot of time and effort and makes GIF SHOP, in many ways, better than any program you are going to put on your computer -- simply because you don't have to find a series of images that work as a GIF and link them all together. You simply tap the screen as you video tape something and create a GIF.
The app is extremely simple to use. Once you have started GIF SHOP, you are effectively videotaping your target, but you only save images when you tap the screen. This takes a photograph. Continue to tap the screen and you'll take more images as the target moves. You can do this as many times as you want, with the only real limitation being that the more images the GIF is made from, the longer it will take to load. These images then appear at the top of the screen. Once you have taken the image you can then scroll through them to see how it works as a GIF. In this way you can become a sort of Ray Harryhausen creating stop motion animation that are turned into animated GIFS.
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The interface of GIF SHOP is one of the things that makes this app so useful. The only difficulty in making a good GIF is learning just how much movement you can make and still have the GIF remain smooth. Even this isn't a real problem though as you can take more images than you need and could even take images fast enough to watch something at full speed. Once you have created the images there isn’t all that much to do. You have a bar at the bottom of the screen which lets you move forward and backwards in the GIF easily. Beyond that there is a single button that gives you a few simple choices for sharing your GIF. If none of these are what you want, it also gives you a URL to share the GIF. All of this is simple enough that anyone should be able to master it in a few minutes and then focus on making GIFs which requires a bit more time to learn.
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In reviewing GIF SHOP, there are a couple of minor flaws I should mention, but the only major flaw is the inability to import images into the app. At this time, the only way that you can put images into GIF SHOP is to use the camera on the iPhone. This is fine if you want to put a picture of yourself as a GIF into the program, but dramatically limits the value of it for anything else. You couldn’t, for example, draw a few pictures and put them into this program. It would also mean making a GIF of a celebrity impossible -- unless you happen to know that celebrity of course! This is a huge limiting factor and turns this from a very useful app into one that is far more limited.
In addition, though a more minor point, you are also unable to save the GIF files you make to the iPhone, so you’ll have to download it to your computer if you want a copy of it. Since creating a GIF with other images would be considerably slower though, it isn’t something you’re likely to do very often, and if you want to do so there are a number of programs on the computer which would let you do that.
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In concluding our GIF SHOP review, I can summarize that it is a very simple app, but also one that is more nostalgic than truly useful. It returns you to the Internet of the 1990’s, but with an app that is far easier than anything that existed either then, or now, to create GIFs. Still, there are limitations to this app just as there are limitations of GIFs themselves, but by connecting the app directly to your camera you are not forced to search through and connect images, you simply have to take the pictures. So, if you've ever seen an animated GIF and wanted to create one, this is one of the best choices.
(Cost: 1.99 )
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- Source, author's own experience
- GIF SHOP for iPhone, http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/gif-shop/id410174605?mt=8
- Images, Screenshots courtesy of the app developer.