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We Made a Full-Screen GIF Viewer (But it doesn't work well with pixel art)

By Michael Connor

Screenshot of Google Chrome logo resized in Google Chrome.
When we began working with Jesse Darling on her recent Performance GIFs series, she had a request: she wanted all of the GIFs to open full-screen in their own window, like this. In order to accommodate this, Rhizome's Senior Developer Scott Meisburger made a new full-screen GIF viewer app, GIFZoomer, which we open-sourced and made available on Rhizome's GitHub repository.
The viewer was designed around the specific requirements of the GIFs in Darling's project, all of which were photorealistic (as opposed to line drawings or pixel art) and had large file sizes. Jules LaPlace of OKFocus came across the app, and wrote up a really interesting issue about it on GitHub. Basically, when GIFZoomer tells the browser to enlarge an image, the browser typically "smoothes" the image to avoid a lo-res, pixelated appearance. However, for "pixel art" GIFs, like these:
 The pixel effect is destroyed by the smoothing, which blurs their sharp lines and edges. It would be better to resize such GIFs via the nearest-neighbor method, which unfortunately is not supported on all browsers.
LaPlace's grasp of the issue is sophisticated, and the post is well worth reading in full for those interested in this issue. For now, Scott has implemented a stop-gap CSS solution inspire by this blog post by Nullsleep (Jeremiah Johnson). Unfortunately, this doesn't actually work in Chrome these days. The issue remains open  on GitHub if anyone has further ideas.

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