MIT Media Lab Master's Thesis, 2015
Glyph is a browser-based tool for generating expressive gifs from video, including seamless loops and cinemagraphs.
Glyph was developed to create video excerpts for emerging interfaces, such as social feeds and ambient or wearable displays. On these platforms, there's value in presenting video in a way that’s immediately evocative, preserving its richness in an excerpt as “glanceable” as a still image. Glyph makes simple transformations to gifs and video clips that might otherwise require photoshop, allowing you to automatically detect perfect loops that occur in a video, create the appearance of seamless motion in a non-looping clip, still some regions of movement in a clip to highlight others, or imbue a still frame with subtle dynamism.
I developed Glyph for my Master's thesis at the MIT Media Lab. The tool can be used to quickly create beautiful, interesting, or funny gifs that loop gracefully. In my thesis, I specifically explored how seamlessly looping gifs can be used in visual journalism. There's an emotional dimension to the informative function of the news. When we read the news we participate in a collective emotional experience, like grief, celebration, worry, or wonder. News video is a crucial vector for these shared emotional experiences, which can propel civic action. But video comes at a high cost in time and attention. Powerful video excerpts and gifs can reach us on high-volume news and social feeds like Twitter, or on mobile and wearable devices— the interfaces we depend on to peripherally and intermittently connect us throughout the day to the world beyond our first-hand experiences. Quickly creating or remixing media to build immediate, powerful, cogent, moving images can have civic impact.