Tabletop Whale is an original science illustration blog.

Made with love by a designer with a molecular biology degree. New charts, infographics, or illustrations published every two to three weeks.

Tabletop Whale's guide to making GIFs


Recently I've been getting a lot of emails asking for a tutorial on how to make animations. So this week I put together a quick explanation for anyone who's interested. I archived it as a link on the menu bar of my website, so it'll always be easy to find if you need it.

This is just a run-through of my own personal animation workflow, so it's not a definitive guide or anything. There are plenty of other ways to make animations in Photoshop and other programs.

I've never tried making a tutorial about my own work before, so sorry in advance if it's confusing! Let me know if there's anything I wrote that didn't make any sense. I'll try to fix it if I can (though I probably don't have room to go into detail about every single Photoshop function I mention).

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An animated guide to breathing


As promised, this month's infographic is packed with actual science. I decided to illustrate how different animals breathe, and I picked three species that I thought were particularly awesome. The topic really lends itself to a short looped GIF so that was an added plus.

In other news, I'm getting my new computer this week! It's going to be awesome working on something that can have more than one heavy-duty application running at once. And to make things even better, it's almost Halloween. Have an awesome weekend guys :)

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Flight videos deconstructed


This week's post isn't entirely scientific, but I thought I'd upload it anyway since it's related to animals and patterns in nature.

When I worked in an insect lab as an undergrad, I helped out with an experiment about mosquito larvae. As part of the process we used a Matlab program to manually input the larva's location during thousands of video frames.

It was a fun experiment, and I wanted to make something similar from Youtube videos. I found slow-motion videos of five flying species, and mapped out specific points on the wings during one wingbeat. I ended up with 15 frames per wingbeat, and I connected every frame using imaginary curves that went through all of the 15 mapped points.

Of course, 15 frames isn't nearly enough for any kind of factual conclusion, so this week's post is just an art exercise. But hopefully you can enjoy this as an artistic pattern based on real life :)

P.S. My next post will be more grounded in fact, so don't worry if you weren't that into this art post.

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