Click here to preview the new Fast Company

Want to try out the new

If you’d like to return to the previous design, click the yellow button on the lower left corner.


8 Mind-Bending Animated GIFs By Micaël Reynaud

Now the medium’s getting really exciting, with artful experiments that are one part goofy, one part surreal.

Let 2011 be known as the year of the animated GIF. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but it conveys Co.Design’s collective love of a new medium that has held us in thrall these past six months. To recap: First, we posted Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg’s artfully rendered New York tableaus, which blurred the line between photography and video. Then we stumbled across Gustaf Mantel’s earlier GIFs, which re-create Stanley Kubrick’s creepiest film scenes.

Now, Micaël Reynaud has opened our eyes to the creative potential of the format, with GIFs that are like surreal digital flipbooks, though Reynaud describes them as "hypnotic very short films." The freelance designer also works in stop-motion animation, though he’s partial to GIFs for their added fluidity. His chosen motifs range from morphing portraits to pizza bubbling in the oven: "I think no matter the subject, everything can be interesting," he tells Co.Design. "And most of the time, it’s a pretext for playing and experiment."


Made using 15 portraits from Michael Jang’s "Summer Weather" series.








We can’t wait to see how GIFs develop into 2012. In the meantime, we’ll savor these.

Add New Comment


  • Living Photos Fan

    GIFs have evolved so much in the last year. The birth of a renaissance for this space. Love Cinemagraphs as well. Can't stop playing with this new App that lets you do them easily.

  • Tony

    "That first one, Amalgamation... it's a shop. I can tell by some
    of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time."By "a shop" do you mean done with Photoshop?  If so, why would it be surprising that someone used Photoshop to make animated gifs?  And why would it be a bad thing?  I mean do you expect them to write it in Notepad?  As ubercool code writers insist you use for css?I really don't understand why the author acts like Animated Gifs are something new.  I have been making weird animated gifs for ~8 years.

  • Danny

    2011 Year of the animated gif? They've been around for years, Outlook doesn't support them any more :-(

  • thingswelike

    I prefer the ones that make better use of the animated gif format (i.e. small areas of movement that bring to life a larger image.

    These ones would probably be smaller filesize if they were flash and the first runthrough is very very slow. I didn't realise the first two were meant to be quick until I scrolled back up the page. (although I thought the moonfoot one worked better painfully slow).

    No doubting that Amalgamation is beautiful though.

  • Susan Jacoby

    The images in this piece transported me a bit and captured my imagination, for sure. Love the inspiration, thank you!

  • molecularities

    The Offices & oscardelic -- artists have been using GIFs on the web as an artistic means since they've been around. There have been GIF-specific artists that were doing elaborate animations/optical illusions manually before someone decided to export-to-GIF some filtered video footage from After Effects.

    What do you think kids have been doing on 4chan all these years? 

  • FartAtTheMoon

    That first one, Amalgamation... it's a shop. I can tell by some of the pixels and from seeing quite a few shops in my time.

  • rballermann

    They are still just animated gifs, however lovely. I'll wait for the next breakthrough.

  • oscardelic

    I think people are missing the point. The idea of it being a new medium is from an artistic perspective, not a functional one. Yes. Animated GIFs have been around for a long time, but their use was to be cutesy or add some interest, which ended up looking more yawn-inspiring than awe-inspiring. Comparing something like the beach scene or the amalgamation graphic to those early graphics of spinning envelopes to denote an e-mail link is asinine.

  • The Offices

    Let's give Belinda a break it's not a new medium, but the past couple years have seen extensive interest and usage of gif artwork online. It's absolutely rife on file sharing sites, ffffound, tumblr, etc.  I'm sure some of you have been ' kicking it ' since the mid 90's but I wouldn't say that you saturated the landscape in the manner we're seeing now. Yes?

  • Luddite

    No way! You mean GIFs can be animated!!?? Never! Next thing you're going to tell me computers can be connected, and we can access them remotely to get at their data and stuff!! The mind boggles...

  • Andrew Jenkins

    I think I almost puked watching that beach scene. Awesome, yes, but it messes with ya!