Get Your GIF on With DSCO by VSCO

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DSCO is a new GIF app from the makers of VSCO Cam.

VSCO, one of the few apps to give Facebook’s Instagram solid competition with a photo editing application aimed at more serious mobile photographers, is today releasing its next new creation.Inside you’ll get the searchability of the desktop version, as well as easy share options that allow you to post to Facebook, Twitter or, of course, Facebook Messenger. The upgrade sees the app rebranded from an add-on utility for Facebook Messenger users, to a fully-featured, standalone app for finding and sharing GIFs across a number of channels, including social networks, text messages, Messenger, email and more. As you may remember, Giphy launched its first mobile application back in March, with the debut of Giphy + Messenger – an app built on Facebook’s Messenger platform.

But VSCO as a company is much more than just VSCO Cam — in the past two years, it’s built a community, launched publishing tools, and funded various artist initiatives. The difference is that Giphy’s app plugs into the other apps on your phone, so you can tap a share button and send a GIF to Facebook or Twitter, into a text message, or wherever else supports both sharing and GIFs. At the time, the app was focused on allowing users to search through Giphy’s database to find a GIF which they could then share directly in the Messenger client. Other apps in the space include Phhhoto (an inspiration for Boomerang); Giphy, which has both GIF-sharing and GIF creation tools; vhoto; GifLab; Giffiti; and others. The launch was able to expose Giphy to a wider audience – after all, Messenger today is typically the No. 1 or No. 2 free application on the App Store.

The new app, which is available for the iPhone today, lets you create short GIF animations (up to 2.5 seconds long), add a basic filter, and then share it to your VSCO account. (It can then be shared to other social networks, and DSCO will save both a GIF and MP4 video to your camera roll for each shot for later sharing.) DSCO’s interface is very sparse, and many of its interactions are undeniably Snapchat-like in their simplicity, and it’s not dissimilar to Instagram’s just-launched Boomerang GIF app. Its design has been updated here and there, but the real improvement is the ability to share to any platform — essentially, it’s now a lot more useful. VSCO CEO Joel Flory says that the creation of DSCO was driven by demands made by VSCO’s community, who wanted more creative tools than just still photos. (Co-founder Greg Lutze insists that the DSCO name doesn’t stand for anything in particular, it just fit the feeling of the app as it was developed.) Flory notes that while testing the app internally, DSCO quickly became the most widely used feature in the company. GIFs are all but meaningless if they’re not shared, but with Facebook turning to Riffsy for GIF delivery on the desktop, it made sense for Giphy to move in its own beat as well. Afterall, the Giphy API already gives services – like Slack, for example – access to its library of animated images, so moving toward allowing access to the library rather than having it operate completely dependent on a third-party platform makes a lot of sense.

In any case, the number of editing tools available in DSCO is far lower than what the proper app offers for still images, making DSCO a bit more approachable for casual users. The app also has a more elegant and refined look-and-feel, similar to the company’s main app, VSCO and one-screen user interface that takes you right to the viewfinder. You can then tweak with VSCO-like filters and presets that play with contrast, brightness and saturation to give the image an old school film photo look.

Instead of images or video that disappear after a short while, each DSCO GIF is instantly published to a user’s VSCO account after it’s created, where it will remain indefinitely unless the user deletes it. The whole process is designed to be as streamlined as possible and to make it easier to share things without thinking too much about the process itself. That means the new DSCO app can tap into the existing user base to grow its footprint among pro’s and other serious shutterbugs who are already heavy users of the flagship app, while also attracting a mainstream user base thanks to its simple GIF creation and sharing tools. For now, Flory says VSCO is focusing its efforts on bringing its VSCO Cam app for Android to parity with the iOS version before bringing new features to Google’s platform. The only thing you can make a GIF out of is what you capture in the app itself. (You can see examples of DSCO GIFs on Lutze’s VSCO Grid here.) While DSCO already produces some of the best looking GIFs I’ve seen, they still look like GIFs, which means there will be image artifacts and a sort of inherent graininess to the images you create with the app.

While that lack of polish isn’t what VSCO users will be used to, it’s the norm for GIF makers, said Greg Lutze, Visual Supply Co.’s chief creative officer and co-founder. “Part of what makes GIFs appealing is an almost lack of quality to them,” Lutze said in an interview. “GIFs aren’t about nailing the perfect lighting or shot. They’re just about being creative and fun.” Even the app’s name was selected simply because it’s fun, Lutze explained. “VSCO is an acronym for our company’s name, Visual Supply Co.,” he said. “DSCO… There’s no real acronym to that. The overarching goal is to get users to share more things to their VSCO accounts, whether that’s a single image, a moving GIF, or a longer form story.

Once created, the GIFs can be shared all over the web, including to top platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram, but they’ll mainly be published to VSCO itself – a feature that could impact the vibe the photography community has today. It’s just fun, it’s a party, and it’s a nod to the joy of creating and expression.” Follow WSJ.D on Twitter, and get our Personal Technology columns delivered right to your inbox.

Though VSCO is light on the details, for now, the company says that DSCO is the first in “a series of new apps and offerings” planned for the coming months.

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