It all started with a Tweet

Viv said ‘Spike will start miaowing next’ to illustrate the idea we were in a parallel world where the impossible was now possible. I said I would make it digitally true as soon as I got a Spike Gif. 

I knew I had John Johnston’s plug in installed in my sandbox domain. I knew Viv had made some Vines of Spike eating a bone. 

How hard could it be? The rest of the post outlines the process; not because it is elegant but because sometimes you go around the houses to do something and it takes you right back to doing it the hard way!

I got an email that now allows you to do frame by frame editing and tweening with their editor. I have tried their editor before but the result is not the quality I have come to expect from my gifs. Still, I thought I would give it a go because it said it take a Vine Video and turns it into a downloadable gif. Easy.


I thought I would add a dancing sticker as above with the new features download it and boom upload my my sandbox domain add cat sound and done. 

It kind of worked. The new features are….shall we say glitchy? I started 1 day ago and could not get the gif with the frame by frame editing to save ( yes, I have written to them to let them know). In the end I thought, how about just the gif from the Vine movie and then I can add the sound without the sticker. Yes, that worked. Download gif. 

Forgive me, but who on earth finds joy in watching a 250×250 shaky gif? With a logo that takes up some of what little space is there, it was a waste of time for me. I would no post **that** even on my sandbox domain. 

So, I went to my usual workflow with the crappy gif. I cut the logo out as I really did not think they deserved it. Photoshop aligned the frame, I selected 20 frames out of the 48 frames in the original, I cropped, I changed the resolution and the image size, I dithered on 128 colours using the soon to de dead ‘save for web’ in Photoshop. Bingo. I had a decent gif. I am still not happy with it as the edges are too close to Spike and…but it was good enough for the wee gif(t) I wanted to make for Viv and David. 

How hard could it then be to find a cat making the right noises? Harder than you think. If it is not the right sound at the right pace it does not synch well with the movement. I tried 3 different cat sounds from Of course, the one that worked was a .wav not an MP3 so pop into Audacity and export as MP3. 

Once I had the image and sound right, it was a breeze to use John’s plug in and publish a post with Spike miaowing! Head over to my sandbox to see the first dog miaowing ever!

The moral of the story: Don’t try to shortcut art, it will not be rushed. 

Useful websites

John’s plug in for WordPress rocks! great for finding strange sounds. (they may get the new features working and it is great that you can just add ‘gif’ to a YT URL and it takes you straight to their editor to make the gif. I have never been able to use output as quality is not good enough for me)

I also wanted to try gifgrabber and I thought I had it on the Apple store to install as I had used it before. No. It turns out it is now giphy capture (they must have bought it) and let us say that the reviews did not inspire me to download. It does not allow you to grab high def quality gifs as the previous app did. I did get miffed by the fact that Giphy decided to alter my potential old version download to the new ’version’ which is really not a new version at all, but a new app. Bad Giphy.

I usually grab with Screenflow but it is not free and I think it is only Mac. It is awesome as you can edit, add captions, it have actions that means you can do typography; you can scale and crop….I don’t even know half of all it can do.