Going through One Terabyte of Kilobyte Age Archive I came across the so-called Papercat and realised how important it was back in the days. A web cat before LOLcats! It is fascinating because it seems to break through the imaginary wall, as if there is something behind the browser. A room? A garden? Cyberspace?
Early browsers didn't necessarily implement the GIF89a specification correctly, and this animation was originally made for buggy browsers. While it displays nicely up to Netscape version 3, later browsers have the cat disappear and leave a closed eye behind. There is also an issue with transparent pixels that obviously should be opaque white.
I decided to bring Papercat back to life, to the modern web.
I started by recovering the winking eye: opened the destroyed GIF in Photoshop and repaired the animation. Additionally, I went through the archive of GeoCities pages where Papercat appeared on (300 are available), and along the way set up a wallpaper archive of 113 pieces. You can go through them by flipping in between front and back of the Papercat.
The next step was to fill in the transparent pixels and give Papercat a new and contemporary look. For this purpose I re-drew the Papercat from scratch on my graphic tablet in double resolution, colored it in and animated it.
And Papercat 2k16 is complete!
To give the Papercat a new dimension, I thought of its missing parts: her back, her paws, her tail. Now with the help of the flip-animation you get the feeling you can see behind the wallpaper and the browser!