Will Brand May 21, 2011 at 3:50 am

Just saying, Google’s decision to use CSS sprites and JavaScript to animate them was the most bandwidth-efficient way to create a cross-browser animation. On a page where an extra byte ends up costing you thousands of dollars, I’m willing to forgive them for not using the preferred file format of art.

Anonymous May 21, 2011 at 10:07 am

I assume the advantage of using a GIF in this case would be portability, but since no one likes it anyway, I’m not sure this is a real problem. 

Anyway, @bpiana told me yesterday that my comments about google’s animation made me look bitter. I’m not sure what I’d be bitter about, but maybe I should editorialized a little more. It’s sad to see the company use such horrible graphics, but this isn’t exactly new. Google is known for many things, but good design has never been one of them. 

tom moody June 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Re: “Google’s decision to use CSS sprites and JavaScript to animate them was the most bandwidth-efficient way to create a cross-browser animation”

Where is the proof of this? The CSS sprite sheet is 312 KB – that’s big. The reason CSS sprites are “efficient” is they require less HTML requests to a server but a GIF also only loads once.

Duncan Alexander May 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m really not seeing what was so “ugly” about the animation.  Is it because of the antialiasing, or the color and line? Inquiring minds and all.

Also, that Brainstormers thing is way vague. They’re culling their audience to only those who feel comfortable sending emails to a random address. Looks like it’s maybe one of those “Snapshot of a day” things that everyone has done already?

Anonymous May 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Really? It’s color and line for me. Usually you’re supposed to get something additional through economy of line and form. That doesn’t happen here. 

As for the Brainstormers thing, it’s vague on purpose no? It’s pretty standard not to reveal the details of a performance before its launched and the email isn’t really random. It’s the address they use for all their performance work. I’ve received and sent emails to that address on multiple occasions. In any case it doesn’t say anything about “snapshot of a day” so I’m not going to draw that conclusion unless I actually see it. Of course, if that’s what I actually see, I will draw that conclusion. 

Duncan Alexander May 21, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Heh, I guess I’m immune from the over-design itch in Google graphics at this point. Must be too many helpings of DeviantArt at a young age or something. Anyway…

“There are three main components: an anonymous online survey, an
anonymous handwritten record of a particular day, and two digital

I’m extrapolating I admit, but usually when I’ve seen crowdsourced art projects request anything related to a particular day they’ve turned out to be one of those “art around the world, all on one day” kind of projects. This strengthens my assumption: “Since we would like to portray as broad a cross-section of the contemporary art world as possible…”

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Jump_Day , http://www.facebook.com/pages/One-Day-World-Photo-Archive/101552718543 . Also similar but not: http://www.zefrank.com/sandwich/ Now I really want to know just to prove my point, so I’ll zip them an email for the team and post what I find out.

Anonymous May 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Sounds good. I want to see the results too. Of course, if that is what they are proposing, maybe they will read this thread and be dissuaded. 

Brad May 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Damn, Hainer article is totally great- thanks for pointing me to it. 

(&hope the bathrooms are treating you right)

Tim Whidden May 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm
tom moody May 22, 2011 at 2:52 am

The “preferred file formats of art” are jpeg and Adobe Flash.
Duncan, the Martha Graham drawings are ugly because of the sepia fake ink wash and middlebrow idea of modern dance. The anti-aliasing is the final layer of unnecessary pseudo-refinement.

Anonymous May 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Isn’t flash less dominant than it used to be?  

Also: the Martha Graham drawings are ugly because of the sepia fake ink wash and middlebrow idea of modern dance. The anti-aliasing is the final layer of unnecessary pseudo-refinement.

This is exactly right. 

tom moody May 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Paddy, there’s an effort to phase out Flash and move to other codecs that are seen as more open but it is still ubiquitous. H264 is the current “hot” spec but it’s not really open source (as GIFs are). Google has changed its mind a couple of times about the YouTube standard. (See notes from Wikipedia below.)
I guess I should be clearer and say “Flash, H264, or whatever file format runs or has run in YouTube” is the “preferred” animation file choice of art, along with DVD (mpeg2) and Apple’s .mov format. Use of scripts or CSS or whatever to animate frames in the browser is an even less common method of web animation, but it’s one Google would obviously like to see in greater use. A handful of upstarts have been using GIFs–by all means let’s make a sarcastic dig at them.

From Wikipedia on H264 (supposedly Flash’s successor-to-be): “Controversies surrounding the H.264 video compression standard stem primarily from its use within the HTML5 Internet standard. HTML5 adds two new tags to the HTML standard: and for direct embedding of video and audio content to a web page. HTML5 is being developed by the HTML5 working group as an open standard to be adopted by all web browser developers. In 2009, the HTML5 working group was split between supporters of Ogg Theora, a free video format that its developers believe is unencumbered by patents, and H.264 which contains patented technology. As late as July 2009, Google and Apple were said to support H.264, while Mozilla and Opera support Ogg Theora. However, in January of 2011, Google announced that they were pulling support for H.264 from their Chrome browser and supporting both Theora and WebM.”

Duncan Alexander May 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Hey City slickers,
I was right. As a participant in the Brainstormers project I have been asked to participate in several ways. I get the gist that they don’t want the exact details out, so I’ll just say that it involves a long survey and some “random” tasks related to a point in  time  earlier  in the week. The nature of the requests lies somewhere between “snapshot of a day,” a nutrition survey, and an Art Work discussion. Lame-o. I’ll complete my side out of obligation but not impressed so far.

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