The Man Behind the Best Nature GIFs on Tumblr
Tumblr is home to millions of animated GIFs so standing out in the crowd can be quite a challenge. Head Like an Orange is a unique blog featuring high-quality GIFs of nature’s most jaw-dropping moments. It’s creator, Marinus Olde Loohuis from the Netherlands, has been creating GIFs since 2011 and his love of the natural world inspires him to keep creating five second masterpieces. The international business and languages student recently answered a few questions about his site via email.
What got you into making animated GIFs?
Tumblr did. I’m not even sure if I knew what a GIF was when I started my blog but when I did start, I noticed a lot of people were making these moving pictures, so I decided to try to make some myself.
How do you find the video clips you turn into GIFs?
I always try to keep up to date about what nature/science documentaries are on TV at the moment. I watch them to find interesting bits that could make nice GIFs. Sometimes I also look on Vimeo for videos.
A lot of your GIFs are seamless. You can’t tell when they restart. What is your technique?
There are certain things you can do in Photoship to make water or clouds loop, but that doesn’t really work for a lot of the GIFs I post. You have to find a certain point in a video from which the whole motion starts again, which is quite easy to do for a bird bouncing on a twig, but a lot more difficult for a flying bird.
Most of your GIFs are of nature and wildlife. What draws you to those subjects?
I’ve been interested in the natural world since I was a child and collected fossils and animal skulls. Like many people, I’m fascinated by the diversity and beauty of fauna created by evolution. I try to show some of that variety on my blog.
The quality of the GIFs are very high. How do you achieve this?
Mainly by using HD videos. Due to the limitation of a GIF (maximum of 256 colors) and Tumblr (upload limit of 1MB) it can be quite difficult to come even close to the quality of the original video, so you have to mess with it a bit in Photoshop. I like the limitations though because it gives me a bit of a challenge.
Do you think making GIFs is an art form?
The other day I read an anonymous message on a blog I follow saying that his posts shouldn’t be featured on the “Artists on Tumblr” tag because GIFs aren’t art. I totally disagree with that because there are a lot of people who do very creative things with their GIFs and often create them from scratch. Although, I’ve seen people refer to me as a GIF artist. I don’t think what I do is very creative or should be considered as art but I do believe the people involved with making the documentaries I use for my GIFs are true artists.
What are your thoughts on using GIFs as a storytelling method?
I think in some cases they’re more useful than photographs and video to explain something. I’ve tried to do it in some of my own posts. Somehow, GIFs seem to grab the attention of the person looking at them more easily than photos and they don’t require the person to take any actions like pressing a play button.
What are some of your favorite GIF sites that we should be checking out?
I’m probably forgetting some but these are certainly worth following:
Made by ABVH
Interview by Ryan R. Reed