By Jia Xin Quek – 16 January 2020 Visualising a 3D object based on a set of 2D images isn’t easy. In saying that, GIFs provide a good solution to visualise these 3D structures because they support frame-by-frame animation. However, the “auto-play” nature of GIFs makes them loop continuously, not giving the user much control [Thankfully there are plugins and web components that can change this! Websites like EZGIF ( and video editing tools like Photoshop CS and Avidemux ( can help adjust the speed and resolution of GIFs. Gfycat is also great for hosting GIFs (].
A GIF we made, hosted on Gfycat.
Fyuse is another interactive way to view specimens. This application exports animated image files as Fyuses which are special files that mesh together many photos to create a model that is seemingly 3D.  By simply tilting your smartphone or swiping your finger across the screen, you can view multiple angles of an object at your own pace. It is also accessible on desktop – but they are much more blurry on desktop compared to the phone due to poor resolution.
Preview of a Fyuse we made, access it on Fyuse via this link:
Based on our experience, we find that GIFs work well as a quick “preview” of the specimen. Meanwhile, Fyuses are good for interactive learning as it gives the user control over maneuvering the specimen. When it comes to detail, GIFs can have better resolution compared to Fyuses (but ultimately photogrammetry 3D models are the winner in this aspect). Here’s a little breakdown of what we’ve found:
GIF Fyuse
User control Autoplays, can’t pause or slow down GIF (unless a plugin/web component like Gfycat is used) Can rotate the specimen by tilting the phone or swiping your finger/cursor
Quality/Resolution Can have high resolution with external software Poor resolution when viewed on desktop
Purpose Quick previews, macroscopic view Interactive learning, better engagement
summary table of GIF vs Fyuse