Unpleasant GIFs & Typos

(Haze) #1

I haven’t been collecting long, but I’ve come across a few things that reduce some of the pleasure received when opening what should be highly-sought-after cards. Specifically, chase cards that feature a poorly-made process animation GIF, and card-titles or flavor-text that feature typos.

I’d like to expand on the issues with the few GIFs I’ve encountered but first I want to know: can creators change elements of their cards after release? Can they change card titles, flavor text, or the card artworks after people have started collecting?

I suspect creators are not allowed to make changes after a set releases, but, if it is confirmed as possible, I would start messaging creators about the specific minor issues I found problems with. I’d love to have my feedback be able to affect change and improve an artist’s work, to make a card more enjoyable for myself and for other collectors.

Back to the GIF topic. I like the idea of a creator sharing an animation, and think that animations can make for particularly good chase cards. Whether that’s an animated figure, a still image in front of a fancy animated background effect, or an animation showing the process of creation from sketch to line-art to flats to final colors.

Two of the series I collect have among their chase cards animations showing the “process of creation” of cards from lower rarities. Both series’ animated cards have the same problem: they are three-frame animations but the first frame displays for a tiny fraction of a second, making it largely invisible. This is a particular shame because that first frame is the frame most-unique to the chase card; that first frame shows the original sketch or line-art that the artist started with. The flash past that first frame, which is largely white due to being blank paper, also provides an unpleasant visual flash or flicker when viewing the card, since it flips past the white frame to colored frames that hold longer.

Since I noticed this across the only two series I collect that feature animations, I’m curious if this is a common problem across all animated cards on the site. Has the frame delay on the first frame of other animations similarly been eliminated? I noticed these animations seem to be in the MP4 format though the card titles given by the artists state they are GIFs; were they uploaded as GIFs and converted to MP4 in the upload process and, if so, is that where the animation was hurt?

If these files cannot be changed with an alternate upload, future creators should be warned about the problems with animations.

Also, I would like to suggest that a process animation that flashes from sketch to line-art to flats to final colors is not very appealing, even if the errors with the first frame are eliminated. The quick, hard cut from frame to frame feels a little lazy, or a little too jerky or sudden to be appreciated, in my mind. Adding a quick transition (like a wipe) between long holds on each stage of the process could make this type of card much nicer. A more elaborate speed-painting style animation, showing much more moment-by-moment detail on the artwork’s creation would be the most ideal. I’d love to see creators upload something like that.

The frame-skip issue is present viewing the MP4 files in-browser both on Chrome on a mobile device running Android and in Firefox on a laptop running Windows 10.

(Xanderjakeq) #2

I just started creating. Making edits on a released series is not possible (maybe if it’s actually necessary). Creators can’t make edits after hitting the submit button for review.

I like your idea of having collectors critique the creators’ work. As a creator, I like to get feedback from collectors. Unfortunately, there’s no comment feature for the series.

What I am trying to do is create a discord server so artists and collectors could interact better.

Hope to see you there because I don’t know what I’m doing :joy:

(Mckayrulez) #3

Gifs are hard on this site. In my experience, it feels like neonmob speeds up the frame rate drastically then how the actual gif file plays on my cp. The only thing I can do when I make gifs is slow down the frame rate when I’m making the gifs and hope for the best when I upload.

(Haze) #4

Thank you for confirming that creators cannot adjust their work after submission, @xanderjakeq. That’s in line with expectations set by the emulation of real-life printed collectable cards; adjustments can only be made if a second edition is printed. It’s one of the areas that a digital collection need not emulate but it’s an understandable choice.

@mckayrulez, thank you for confirming that the problem with the speed of animations’ initial frame goes beyond just the two series I found it in. You repeatedly mention GIFs, so I take it you are actually making GIF files and uploading them to NeonMob as GIF files, correct? Confirming the transformation to MP4 video files happens on NeonMob during the upload process?

(Mckayrulez) #5

Sorry if I wasn’t clear enough. Yes, I can confirm that all of my various series that contain animated pics where made as gifs. (I use GIMP2 to create my art) I never knew they where changed to MP4’s on Neonmob until you pointed it out. I checked a couple of my images and yes they are now video format MP4s.

I think that’s interesting. Maybe it has something to do with page loading or the fact this site has so many pics it may take up a lot of room or it’s just how they operate? idk, just some guesses. Anyway I hope my answer helped you haze.

(Shawn) #6

MP4 files use less space without sacrificing quality. With that said, file conversion has, at times, resulted in an uneven image sequence. Please point out the images you’re referencing, as it’s possible to modify (depending on the original file format).

Regarding typos, all names and descriptions are created by the artist. Therefore, typos are considered part of the artistic expression and will only be corrected at the request of the artist.

(Wyando) #7

Hell, I do love this statement! <3

(Haze) #8

@mckayrulez, thank you for clarifying. I did a little reading on MP4s and it sounds like their compression gives them significantly smaller file-sizes over GIFs while MP4s also feature a wider range of colors than GIFs, It seems MP4s are ideal for a great variety of web applications involving animation. GIFs are still highly useful for small animated icons since the format supports transparency while MP4s do not.

From an Adobe After Effects Discussion Thread, I learned that animated SVGs exist, and would be superior to both MP4s and GIFs for creating an animated logo for a website. From a CreativeCOW Forum Thread I learned that MP4s technically do support alpha transparency, but seemingly not in a way that is useful on a website; a software consultant named Mo DeJong posted a tutorial on his blog explaining how to combine two M4V files within an iOS app to achieve this effect. Programmer Ricardo Kagawa goes into detail in a Quora thread to answer why video clips end up having bigger file sizes in the GIF format compared to the MP4 format. Digital Experience Monitoring and Optimization company, Rigor, also posted an informative article about the benefits of this video format over the older GIF format, but they also go into some interesting history around the formats and it was in this article that I learned NeonMob’s automatic conversion to MP4 is following in the footsteps of Twitter, Facebook, and imgur.

While MP4s seem unquestionably superior for any video clips involving detailed motion, I’m still unsure if they truly are superior to GIFs for simple three-frame animations. Do the file sizes really end up smaller in that case? I’d also be a little concerned learning that MP4 is a lossy format; a creator’s work might develop minor artefacts that would not be present in the original GIF. A comment by David Austin on the Rigor article expresses similar concerns. All that said, it’s possible the large canvas size required here and the MP4 format’s greater color pallete make MP4 the best option. Also, NeonMob seems to be quite adept at resizing these animated cards to fit all types of browser screens, and that feature might not be possible in the GIF format.

@NeonShawn, the particular images that served as inspiration for this thread are SYMBIOTE *PROCESS GIF* from LIVING ON THE SUN SUCKS, and the six animated chase cards from Anatomic Friends 2. For the latter, I can only confirm the animation problem exists in the two chase cards I own, as unowned cards only display a still frame and no animation when previewed. Still, I imagine the problem is consistent across those six cards.

Shawn, if more collectors or creators discover their animated cards have this flaw in animation, is this forum thread the best place to bring those cards to the attention of those who could adjust them?

(7nik) #9

I see the same problem with gifs in all animated cards from Anatomic Friends 1 & 2 and Taste of Creepiest I & II.
I downloaded the MP4 and found that delay between the first and the second frames are just ignored :scream:

@NeonShawn, I also noticed that videos have two sources: MP4 and WebM. And the second has better quality though it is bigger in 4-6 times than the first. But the MP4 is mentioned first so a browser first tries MP4 and only if it fails then WebM. Herewith support of MP4 is much wider than WebM. Hence WebM is used almost never although it has better quality.

(Haze) #10

The mp4 conversion seems to have similarly affected the new series Pixelites by Kristen Angeles. This series is composed entirely of animated cards. The reduced delay on the first frame seems, to me, a little more noticable in cards with rotating objects like Coin and Life. Much less jarring than with the process animations I’ve mentioned earlier in this thread.