4chan was founded in 2003 and quickly rose to become one of the go-to sites for memes and bizarre behaviors. Users remain completely anonymous while discussing a variety of subjects through its many boards.
From violent comics to antisocial virgin neckbearding, it’s easy to find content of all sorts on the site. Recently, the image board added support for WebM files, which provide higher-quality animations while taking up less space than GIF animations.
1. Animated GIFs
GIFs are among the most-visited image files on 4chan, the notorious image board with a reputation as “the butthole of the internet.” Content promoting misogyny and other forms of online abuse often appears on its various boards; its anonymity allows people to post any content they deem unsuitable for general consumption, which then spreads virally across the web.
CompuServe introduced the GIF format in June 1987 as a color version of their run-length encoded black and white image formats, using Lempel-Ziv-Welch (LZW) compression to reduce file sizes without degrading visual quality, enabling relatively large images to be downloaded quickly over modem connections.
GIF files consist of a fixed-length header that specifies its version number, followed by a Logical Screen Descriptor giving details on pixel dimensions and other characteristics pertaining to the first image in a sequence. There can then be zero or more images stored within, along with potentially an optional global color table for faster transfer on specific systems.
GIF files store images with a maximum palette of 256 colors selected from 24-bit RGB color space, making this format unsuitable for photographing complex color gradients or photographs with numerous layers but ideal for graphics and logos with solid areas of color. A GIF file can also be looped to provide animation.
GIFs have fallen out of favor in some parts of the world in favor of video formats and HTML5, which offer more visual impact and fluid motion on websites than GIFs do. This trend stems from video files’ more significant visual impact than GIFs can provide, as they’re easier to playback on modern browsers without plugins such as Flash. Furthermore, the video also resolves many of the limitations caused by their frequent usage on the web – for instance, they offer more excellent frame handling flexibility through codecs, can surpass 8-bit color limits per image support, and offer superior frame rate support compared to GIFs – among others.
2. Still GIFs
GIFs are commonly known for their looping animation, but still, GIFs can also be created as images to give an idea of the illusion of movement without actually using any animation techniques. Instead, this technique displays multiple static bitmap images sequentially like movie frames – adding another visual layer to scenes. This technique is frequently combined with animated GIFs for added visual impact.
Still, GIFs are made using similar techniques as animated GIFs, with one key difference: still, GIFs cannot contain any movement. A still GIF might have either one image or multiple ones arranged in such a way as to move – such as several still pictures depicting one person moving from room to room as the background for an animated gif showing that person being shocked or upset.
GIF files are bitmap image formats that utilize 256 colors to represent an image. Colors within GIF files are identified using their index numbers (hexadecimal values) from a color table, unlike PNG and JPG formats, which support 24-bit color depth, which makes GIF less efficient as an image format.
GIFs dominate reaction memes and short sequences of content due to their simplicity; no other image format appears capable of catching up to them anytime soon. But WebM – the new standard for compressed video – may prove worthy competition for GIF’s reign.
WebM offers superior image quality, supports more than 256 colors, and requires less bandwidth – but its video file nature makes it harder to work with than image files. Still, 86% of 4chan visitors utilize browsers with full or partial support for WebM files – plug-ins may also be available to accommodate those that do not.
If WebM is successful, its popularity will likely first begin where GIF did: image boards on Reddit. But in order to outstrip its predecessor, WebM must become more accessible for its users to use and upload, which will require building an active community of supporters.
3. Video GIFs
If you have been online for any length of time, chances are you have come across memes, videos, and other nonsense generated by 4chan. While its popularity may have decreased over time, its content still quickly makes its way onto social media feeds and into discussions online.
Though 4chan may be known for being an anonymous forum, it has also generated some noteworthy memes and behaviors that have found their way into mainstream online culture. One such trend is “reacting to bad news” GIFs, which have spread virally across social media. News outlets have even taken note of this phenomenon and used similar GIFs as part of coverage to explain controversies or significant events.
GIFs don’t usually contain sound, but they can be encoded with audio and accompanied by MP4 or WebM video files to produce looped animations that look similar to GIFs but contain audio tracks instead of just visuals. Adding audio has become particularly popular on 4chan, where reaction-themed GIFs tend to thrive.
GIF files may include various metadata elements, including comments and plain text. Furthermore, an application-specific extension block identifying which software was used to create the image can also contain color tables – the 87a and 89a specifications allow color tables of size 2n; most graphics applications support tables with 2, 16, or 256 colors for faster downloading times and smaller tables may help reduce file size as well as file download time.
Many programs use dithering to approximate more colors with a limited color palette, but this often degrades image quality by introducing visible artifacts and rendering the image fuzzy on screen. Furthermore, patterns of dithering interfere with compression algorithms – one of the key goals behind GIF.
GIF remains popular on the web despite its limitations, with small file sizes and support for 8-bit pixels providing advantages over video. PNG is another alternative that offers better image quality with support for more than 256 colors and compressed image data, although PNG has yet to gain widespread acceptance as a substitute.
4. Audio GIFs
GIFs are image files which may or may not include sound. By default, GIFs do not contain sound; those containing audio must first convert their GIF to video formats such as MP4 or WebM before creating videos with both audio and visual components.
Though GIFs may not be ideal for photorealistic photographs or those featuring complex color gradients, they do work for many types of graphics and can be downloaded in relatively little time. GIF89a supports up to 256 colors while further decreasing file sizes via Lempel-Ziv-Welch lossless data compression.
4. Chan is famous for reaction memes that are hilarious or designed to stir certain emotions; many can even be made entirely up by users themselves! A large proportion of its GIFs feature these popular reaction memes. These may be humorous or intended to provoke particular responses based on actual events or made entirely up by them; these reaction memes have proven very popular across 4chan.
These memes have been at the center of various controversies and criticism, being labeled sexist, racist, and violent by critics, yet remain immensely popular among adolescents and young adults. Of particular note have been 4chan’s promotion of Gamergate, cyber attacks in America, as well as child pornography content posted to 4chan.
Though 4chan imageboard hasn’t always been popular among teenage users, its funny memes and reaction GIFs remain immensely appealing to them. Additionally, teens are more likely to have Facebook accounts, which means more likely exposure to 4chan content on social media feeds such as theirs.
4chan is one of the most popular platforms for creating and sharing gifs, used by people from diverse backgrounds to discuss gaming, anime, and music topics. Accessible globally with an intuitive user-friendly interface, making navigation simple for all.
4chan has long been known for its cat pictures. Most often depicting mistreated or injured cats and featuring text that describes their situation, these images have become part of internet culture over time and continue to become part of everyday conversation.