A long, long time ago in a galaxy quite close to here- it was this column actually- we brought you the first two original Star Wars instalments redone in GIF form on MS Paint by a genius with a lot of time and the kind of dedication that inspired the building of the Death Star.
The creator- FoldsFive (otherwise known as part-time pixel-masher David Court) offered the following response on Digg when the A New Hope GIF found its way back into the collective Geek consciousness that calls itself the Internet:
Sometimes I find myself amazed by the internet. How something I made an age ago can suddenly pick up interest again. It was something I made for fun (as an experiment to see whether I could do it, more than anything) for a site (www.b3ta.com) that wouldn’t post anything bigger than 250k. I did it all from memory, so the stuff about my incorrect lightsabre colours couldn’t interest me less. (and jesus wept, people accuse ME of not having a life for making it). At the end of the day doing that stuff donkeys years ago ended up earning me enough money to pay the deposit for my house and got me a thank you letter from Lucasfilm and put me on their christmas card list.
Now that is an impressive reward, and it shows the value of those hundreds of hours web content creators dedicate to their nerdy endeavours.
Despite having done Star Wars Episodes 4 to 6 I refuse to do episodes 1 to 3 – mostly because they were all utter shite.
Can’t say fairer than that really. There was also an interview posted on Collider with FoldsFive, in which he offered some insight into how the GIFs found their way onto the net in the first place:
A couple of years ago out of sheer boredom I’d drawn a pixellated version of most of the cast of the original Star Wars Trilogy and the file had just been sitting on my PC. On a dull evening back in October 2005 I just started messing around with the concept of fitting a whole film (albeit heavily reduced) into an animated gif and having the cast already drawn made my choice of film a lot easier – added to the fact that I’ve seen the films in the Star Wars Trilogy so many times that I wouldn’t have to watch them again to be able to work out the sequence of scenes and animate it..!
And shed some light onto his creative process:
I would love to say I’ve got some great scientific and ordered method for creating them, but this sadly isn’t true. I tend to do the scenes for the films in a completely random order (probably subconsciously doing my favorite scenes or ones that’ll just best pixilated first, just to give me the impetus to finish the project). I draw backgrounds in MS Paint (occasionally touching them up with the odd Photoshop filter in the later projects), draw the animations as a separate layer and then overlay them. After a couple of hours I chuck them all together using imageready and see how much space I’ve got left to play with.. repeat until I’m happy or I’ve hit my 250k window for the end file size..!