As a site focussed on digging deep into understanding the production steps which go into creating our favourite pieces of work, we’ve never been keen on featuring filmmaker reels on our pages. However, the sheer infectious joy of Israeli illustrator/animator/character designer Eran Mendel’s Bing Bong GIF Reel (no doubt helped along by our eternal love of Super Furry Animals), convinced us to bend the rules slightly, in exchange for Eran providing an inside look into the processes he uses to create these infinitely shareable, looping mini masterpieces.

I’m Eran, an illustrator, animator, and animation director. This is my GIF showreel. I love making GIFs, and this showreel includes some of my favorites. In recent years I became more and more involved in creating GIFs, for personal use as well as commercial. I find this kind of media a very good fit to my style. It allows me to be a ‘one man show’, it doesn’t need crazy production, and in a relatively simple way allows me to create something that stands with high standards. I also love creating short loop animations and GIFs are the perfect way of showing this kind of work. Looping is fun! And it’s a great method for economizing the animation process. It’s very well suited to short projects, and some of my favorite pieces are based solely on loops. I wanted my showreel to feel like a worthy animation in its own right, not a mishmash of unrelated animations. And above all – I wanted it to be fun to watch!

The reel is made up of shots from personal and commercial project, including some GIFs from my Game of Thrones series. As a big fan of the show, I started creating a new GIF each week that corresponds with the most recent episode from season 6. It was a fun thought challenge, to come up with a good idea that would be funny and engaging, but also simple to understand and work as a loop and tell a story.

I immediately felt comfortable in this place. However, GIFs have their own technical limitations of file size, length, number of colors and frame size. Those limitations need to be taken into consideration when thinking about creating the story and the design. I’d say that these technical limitations are the kind of hurdles that you need to overcome and get used to when entering the GIF world. When putting this reel together, I came across some unplanned similarities…My inner pace is probably something very present in all my works.

The actual GIF creation process is very simple. After creating the animation (I use Animate/Flash but this is good for most animation software) I export a PNG sequence and open it in Photoshop, making sure to enable the ‘Image Sequence’ check box. Then I go to File => Save for Web and fill in the necessary settings there, such as size, number of colors, etc. Then I export, save it as a GIF and the process is complete.

Looping is fun! And it’s a great method for economizing the animation process.

While creating loop animation I always try to stay within a simple, minimalistic design, employing basic geometric shapes, flat color schemes, avoiding unnecessary details such as fingers and toes. I use simple strokes for hands and legs. To prevent ‘simple’ from becoming boring, I exaggerate some bodily features: make them huge or tiny, and I use contrasting, unusual color combinations.

And here are some outline examples which show the structure of my design and animation:

I’m planning another GIF series for the upcoming Game of Thrones season 7, so stay tuned! And please feel free to follow my other channels for more GIFs and other work at:
Vimeo: eranmendel
Dribble: eranmendel
Facebook: eranmendelanimation

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