What’s the most insignificant hill in tech you will die on?
For some, it’s the GIF. The fact that its pronunciation creates such a squabble shows just how much we all value GIFs.
Yesterday the internet found out that Stephen Wilhite, the man credited with creating the GIF, died. It responded with gratitude for the engineer and reflection on what GIFs have meant to pop culture. Some got nostalgic for simpler times when a GIF of a dancing baby was all anyone could talk about. Many shared the backstory behind the Graphics Interchange Format — tl;dr: Wilhite created the GIF after being tasked with figuring out how to distribute high-res color graphics quickly at Compuserve. The prototype took about a month to build and GIFs launched in June of 1987. The first image Wilhite created was a picture of an airplane.
Hard G-ers, this might also be your day to face the music, in honor of Wilhite, who has clarified without hesitation that it’s pronounced “JIF,” with a soft G. “The Oxford English Dictionary accepts both pronunciations. They are wrong. It is a soft ‘G,’ pronounced ‘jif.’ End of story.” Ouch.
In our own ode to Wilhite (We LOVE GIFs — was it not obvious?), we’re highlighting a handful of the newest products that make GIFs easy to create and tons of fun. Without Wilhite’s work, none of these products, and so many more, would be possible.
- Text Chat Animator - Simulate a messaging conversation and create a GIF of it
- Sergif - Record a GIF with your webcam and share it with your friends
- Simplified Animation Maker - Animate your designs in one click and share as GIFs (and more)
- PaintSnap - Turn your photos into paintings. This app creates a GIF of the brushstrokes
- KIKLIKO - Like Giphy but for GIFs with sounds to share in messaging apps and beyond
- GIF Export - Export GIFs from Figma
- Meet Cam - Overlay fun GIFs, meeting timers, and more on your camera
Got a Product Hunt launch coming up soon? You can also check out this How-To on creating an animated thumbnail with Lottie and Canva.
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