‘He helped shape the modern world’: Motion picture inventor Stephen Weilheit dies after contracting Covid | Technique

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a moving picture is worth millions. The image file format has been a defining element of Internet culture for decades, with DiCaprios for glass breeding And the Obama drop the microphone Facilitating self-expression in an anonymous digital world. And we have one man to thank for all the jokes, sarcasm, and praise: Stephen Weilheit, the inventor of the motion picture, who died last week, at the age of 74.

Willheit, who lived in Milford, Ohio, contracted Covid two weeks before his death, and his wife, Kathleen Welheit, NPR . said.

Stephen Wilheit, a lifelong programmer, created the gif in 1987 while working at CompuServe. The Compressed image files were useful At a time when internet connections were cut off. Sandy Trevor, who managed the Wilhite team, told daily point In 2012.

A man and a woman standing in front of the camera
Steve Willheit attended the Webby Awards in New York in 2013. His wife, Kathleen Welheit, said creating the motion picture was his proudest achievement. Photo: Stephen Lufkin/Getty Images

“Wilheit invented motion pictures himself – he did it at home and got it into the business after he mastered it,” said Kathleen Weilheit. the edge. “He would figure out everything in private in his head and then go to town and programmed it into the computer.” She said it was an achievement she was most proud of.

In the same year, the update resulted in a cartoon. “I think the first motion picture was a picture of an airplane. It’s been a long time coming,” Stephen Wilheit told the Daily Dot in 2012. In fact, according to Giphy, the go-to website for motion picture researchers, this picture was:

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Wilhite worked at Compuserve until 2001, when he had a stroke. Meanwhile, the popularity of motion pictures spread, including to early social media sites like MySpace. By 1996, one of Wilhite’s favorite pictures, Dancing Child, was He told the New York Times, Pasted across the web and attached to emails. In 2012, Oxford American Dictionaries named “gif” the best word of the year. The following year, the New York Times called the shape “the aesthetic calling card of modern internet culture.”

The following year, Wilhite received the Webby Award for Lifetime Achievement. Called to the stage, he kept his poker face as he delivered the acceptance “speech” in proper format:

Wilhite continued programming for the rest of his life. He was also passionate about model trains, Kathleen Weilheit told NPR, and the pair were avid campers. His obituary says, “I love to travel.” Besides his work and hobbies, “He was probably one of the kindest and humblest men I’ve ever met,” Kathleen Wilheit told Radio Network. “People loved him and respected his work, and that meant to him more than anything is how they respected what he did…I miss him more than anyone can imagine.”

Honor flowed into his country obituary page. One wrote: “It has changed the way we speak as a society, immortalizing countless moments that would otherwise be fleeting.” Another wrote “Thank you for helping the modern world take shape.”

Giphy gave his own tribute, praising “the simplicity of the format, the power of the ring image. We are indebted to the creativity and vision of Mr. Wilhite.”

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For those who want to honor the memory of Wilhite themselves, there are plenty of cartoon This salary Salutation for them Inventor. Perhaps even better, you can listen to his unmistakable advice: pronounce it “Jeff.”

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