At my November checkup my doctor did the same routines he has done 4 times a year for the last 5 years I’ve visited, but this time he came up with something new.

“I hear a heart murmur.”

Murmur? Is that like a heart having a speech impediment?

I recalled listening to my Dr’s explanations and calming words that there were a lot of things that could cause it.

I forgot them all.

My heart.

I got a referral from my primary care doc to a cardiologist earlier this month. He is a cool doctor. Literally, he is Dr. Cool. I asked him if he had ever been to his town in California.

2012/366/15 It's Cool Here
flickr photo shared by cogdogblog under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

No. Don;t you think this guy has heard every joke and then some?

Dr. Cool explained how undiagnostic the stethoscope is, and even the EKG readings where he noticed 2 odd lines was not definitive. Nothing was until they did an ultrasound.

So that’s where I was last week, a vey kind technician giving me a continual explanation and answers to my question as she moved that gel covered sensor around.

I’ve never seen my heart doing it’s thing, and it’s rather amazing when you think about it.

Animated GIF of my ultrasound, made from a short video I took off the screen.
Animated GIF of my ultrasound, made from a short video I took off the screen.

That’s the big valve doing it’s flapping; it looks kind of like a person with no dance moves trying to clap along with a song.

It seems overly obvious, but I was gobsmacked (as they say over where they say dag-NAB-it like dagna-bit) to think how that thing just does that all the time.

No days off. No time out. No sleeping. The heart just does that like a gazillion times, and you never even give it much thought. Well I don’t.

I also learned that the heart is rather unique in being able to generate its own electrical impulses. You may be impressed with your new mobile phone or 3D printer, but the sheer design and longevity of that pulsing blob in my chest? Well yeah. I like this model.

I am waiting on a call from Dr Cool, but the technician sad she saw nothing unusual.

That whole thing to me, in its usual-ness, was highly unusual!

I heart my heart.

I’ve been wanting to write some more ds106-ish “howtos” for my animated GIFs. My use of masks, layers, and the Photoshop timeline tools have notched up some this year. This one had no realy special complex trips, but I tried something I never thought of.

The 6 second video I used for the GIF was what I took in a dark office of a computer screen with my iPhone 6, as hand held goes, it had that movement that makes GIFs jerky. Just tossing this into an EasyBake GIF tool would produce GIF that bounces all over the place; I want the only movement to be my heart.

Here is the original video, unsuitable for making a worthy GIF:

Check out this trick.

As usual, I used File -> Import -> Video Frames to Layers.... I selected the video, and asked for every 8 seconds. This gave me 23 layers / frames where each one bounced around a bit. The idea of trying to match them was not pleasant.

So check this out. I used File -> Export -> Layers to Files, to create the 23 frames as 23 files on my computer.

Exporting all the layers to frames
Exporting all the layers to frames

I then started a new empty file, and used File -> Scripts -> Load Files into Stack....

Loading the files back into PhotoShop
Loading the files back into PhotoShop

And here is the key- after selecting all 23 files, I check the option for Attempt to Automatically Align Source Images.

Check the Align Source Images option on importing back into Photoshop
Check the Align Source Images option on importing back into Photoshop

I do this often for my GIFs I make from photos, and it does wonders.

When it’s done, you will see all the layers. To get it GIF ready, open the Timeline window. Click the button Create Frame Animation.

Wait, all you get is one frame!

What kind of animation is this? Only one frame! We are not done.
What kind of animation is this? Only one frame! We are not done.

Look for the menu on the top right of the Timeline window. Select Make Frames From Layers, which then populates the timeline. Getting there!

All the frames are now layers on the timeline
All the frames are now layers on the timeline

Wait, there are a few more things to do. First, from experience, the frames are going to be reversed. So select all the frames, go back to that menu in the top right of the Timeline window, and select Reverse Frames.

While they are all still selected, open the bottom menu that reads “0 sec) and choose a new frame duration for all the frames.

Change the rate for all frames to maybe 0.5 seconds per frame
Change the rate for all frames to maybe 0.5 seconds per frame

For more advanced editing, you can do things like making one frame freeze for 5 seconds, then the following three frames go at 0.5 seconds per frame, and maybe the one after that at 0.1. You have a ton of fine grained control

Just one more thing! On the bottom left of the Animation window, is a little menu that reads “Once”- this means the animation won’t loop.


Change this to Forever… because thats what Animated GIFS do.

Once this is done, you can then go and start your frame editing. In this case, it’s just as simple as cropping it so all the frames are full. And then export the GIF- I tend to keep my maximum dimension as 500 or 600 pixels; a smaller width will shrink the size of the file.

There are lot more things I usually do, for this one, that’s all it takes.

I would not be surprised if there is an easier way to do this, but thinking about helps me conceptualize the process. Import a video into Photoshop to break it into frames, then export, and reimport to align the images.

Heart the heart, indeed.

Top / Featured Image: A photo I took at the cardiologist’s off of the ultrasound image of my own heart. It’s my own heart, damnit, it’s my heart. I used it under the ITS MY OWN BODY DAMNIT license.

The post "<3 This <3" was originally assembled from spare parts of a 1957 Chevy at CogDogBlog ( on January 24, 2016.


  • pumpkin

    Um, you forgot the punchline – how *is* your heart?!

    • Alan Levine aka CogDog

      Still going. I am waiting on a call back from Dr Cool.

      I love saying Dr. Cool.

      Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool. Dr. Cool.

  • rowan_peter

    I <3 your <3 too!

  • Sandy Brown Jensen

    It’s beautiful to heart the heart.
    My mom at age 89 (90 on Valentine’s Day ??) thought she was going to die recently because she could feel her heart skipping beats. The cardiologist said no problem, Mickey, you’re set to rude that bronc all the way to 100+.

    May it be so with you, too!

    The gif was cool and perfectly integrated with your text, which is how I like to see them. But your process seemed arcane: why couldn’t you just put the video in Giphy and let it loop?

    • Alan Levine aka CogDog

      I will add the video clip to explain why. Because it was recorded with a hand held phone, it moves around- doing it the “easy” giphy way would (a) produce a GIF that jerks around, and detracts from the movement (I want to isolate the movement on the sreen) and (b) a GIF that is not 2MB – the easy method produces extraneous data not needed.

      Cooking a home cooked meal seems arcane, why do you not by a frozen dinner and let it microwave? ;-)

  • The Mighty Animated GIF | Cool Web Stuff

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