Entertainment Arts Global GIF contest makes use of public pictures

Global GIF contest makes use of public pictures

An image from Europeana was animated by last year's GIFITUP winner.
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An international competition is encouraging people to chop up the collections of some of the world’s biggest libraries – virtually, of course.

This is the fourth year of GIFITUP, which awards prizes to the best animated GIFs made from digitised cultural heritage collections from across the globe.

Artworks can use public domain images from digital archives Europeana, Digital Public Library of America, DigitalNZ, and the National Library of Australia (NLA) website Trove.

Trove’s Cheney Brew said the Australian online archive had been involved in the competition for the past three years.

“We just want to raise awareness of all the open licence content in our collection,” Ms Brew said.

Python-esque entries feature UFOs, fights

Many of the GIFs entered are reminiscent of Terry Gilliam’s cartoons for Monty Python, with characters from old books and drawings brought to life as animations.

“Children playing instruments, people getting married, characters dancing – there’s all kinds of things going on,” Ms Brew said.

She said her favourite entry in this year’s mix so far was based on the Johannes Vermeer painting View of Delft.

“Someone’s GIFed in some UFOs over the scenery, so that’s quite nice.”

Ms Brew said the competition always received good entries from Melbourne’s Monash University Library.

“This year they’ve animated a book plate of two characters having a bit of a fight.”

How can I enter?

Ms Brew said making GIFs out of images in Trove’s online archives helped people get a sense of ownership of the collection.

“We want to encourage people to have fun and to make things.”

She said the competition was “raising awareness of the kinds of things you can do with our reuse and adaptation licences”.

“I don’t think people were previously aware that there are plenty of images in publicly available online libraries that you can take and create your own artworks from,” Ms Brew said.

The competition page includes links to tools first-time GIF makers can use to help them create their animated masterpiece.

This year a major GIF website has come on board as a corporate sponsor.

“It’s quite exciting that they have come on board with us this year because we’ve got some extra prizes to give away, including prizes for things like first-time GIF makers, which we haven’t had before,” Ms Brew said.