Meet the Woman Who Makes Porn GIFs for a Living

Meet the Woman Who Makes Porn GIFs for a Living
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

A hot brunette slides her panties down beside a beautiful marble tub. Already submerged in the tub, another equally hot, equally naked brunette looks on with anticipation.

The above scene is about 2.5 seconds long, and it's an example of a porn GIF, a mesmerizing, snack-sized clip that plays over and over again. 

No longer relegated to just cute animal clips and bonehead moments with sliding glass doors, GIFs are one of the most widespread ways to view erotic media today. In 2013, for example, TechCrunch reported that over 11% of the GIF-centric blogging platform Tumblr's most popular accounts were porn-related.

Unlike some favorite cat GIFs floating around online, though, porn GIFs don't just appear out of nowhere. In fact, some are made by full-time professionals who know what, exactly, makes a good porn GIF. (Note: The following images are somewhat NSFW.)

A GIF from a scene from "The Innocence Of Youth #8," starring porn performers Marley Brinx & James Deen, directed by Paul Woodcrest (NewSensations)
Source: New Sensations/KinkyMarie

An emerging digital trend: Marie-Chantal is a self-described "porn GIF-making gamer girl" in her mid-20s. She lives in Montreal, runs her own NSFW Tumblr and makes exclusive GIFs for some prolific porn producers, including Blacked, Tushy, New Sensations and Girlsway. She's one of a handful of people who make GIFs to promote the content porn companies are producing, and she's among the most popular: Marie-Chantal gets hundreds of Tumblr notes (NSFW) per day, and some of her posts garner thousands of reblogs or reposts.

Two years ago, Marie-Chantal was stuck in a dead-end job, so she decided to go back to school. She took a multimedia production course, where she learned the basics of everything from Photoshop to After Effects. Eventually, she started her first porn GIF blog on Tumblr.

"I started making [porn] GIFs as a way of sharing moments I liked from the scenes I was watching," she told Mic. "Tumblr being one of the best place to find porn GIFs, I started my first blog on it."

Marie-Chantal spent about a year growing her site and her GIF library, focusing more on summarizing scenes than capturing key moments. After noticing another "giffer" had partnered with a porn company and was posting GIFs with affiliate links, she attempted to monetize her efforts in a similar fashion. She said she gained nearly 50,000 followers before an inadvertent terms of service violation resulted in her first account being yanked from Tumblr. But by then her name, KinkyMarie, was out there.   

"With my GIFs circulating, I caught the attention of a few porn companies that liked what I was doing and wanted more of it," she said. 

She's been doing it full-time for about a year. 

A GIF from the movie "The Father Figure," feat. porn performers Kasey Warner & Mark Wood, directed by Jacky St.James (NewSensations)
Source: NewSensations/Kinky Marie

The art of the XXX GIF: GIFs can capture a brief, fleeting moment in an erotic encounter, whether it's IRL or in your favorite porno, that plays on repeat in your imagination. But while the GIF-making process itself is technically fairly simple — you select image frames, pop 'em into sequence and poof, you have a digital flipbook that plays over and over again — the art of high-quality GIF-making is fairly complicated. 

Marie-Chantal said she can generally summarize a porn scene in about 10 GIFs. Scenario-heavy content (or porn films with more elaborate plots) requires a greater number of GIFs per scene. There are also many tiny details that must be taken into account, such as camera angles, file formats and file sizes, to pay attention to.

Identifying key moments from a scene and recreating them via GIF is more artful than just slapping a few images together. Bad timing, bad angles and low number of frames per second make for choppy, poor quality GIFs, while high-quality GIFs usually capture a scene's unique elements.  

"For me, the 'how they got to fucking' is more important than the actual fucking," Marie-Chantal said. "I try to always include moments that are out of the ordinary or shot from an angle that you don't see often."

That seems to play well on Tumblr, where the seemingly endless variety of porn styles and genres leave room for nearly every sexual taste imaginable. "You can find the full range of ... kinks on Tumblr, in very tasteful ways," Alex*, 28, a Tumblr porn fan, previously told Mic.

As an example, Marie-Chantal cited one of her most popular GIFs: a POV shot of porn performer Jelena Jensen sitting on Adriana Chechik's face in part three of Girlsway's The Turning: A Lesbian Horror Story (link very, very NSFW). Essentially a close-up vulva inching further toward the screen, the GIF is an out-of-the-ordinary shot, but it's also highly erotic.

Family roleplay scenes — "fauxcest" titles along the lines of Punished by Step Daddy, etc. — are usually a hit, she told Mic. (This makes some sense, given the increasing popularity of such content.) Anything with some element of BDSM comes in close a second.

A GIF from the movie "Discovery Girls: Part One," featuring Scarlet Red, Sierra Nevadah, Dani Daniels and Chloe Foster (Webyoung/Girlsway)
Source: Kinky Marie

Giving it away for free: In an industry where porn companies are competing with free tube sites and piracy-based tube sites have become the norm, why would a porn producer want to dole out those tantalizing moments for free?

To answer this question, Mic spoke with Greg Lansky, chief creative officer of Strike3 Holdings, the organization that operates Blacked and Tushy. According to Lansky, GIF-making is marketing, and it's part of an effort to snag media-saturated consumers who have been brought up on a diet of snackable digital content.

"If [GIFs] are good, they can captivate your attention for a while. Next thing you know, you're watching the thing on loop," Lansky said. "It's that sweet spot of a few seconds of something special."

Lansky said that an effective GIF can get people to slow down for a moment and tune into the content. And given the overwhelming prevalence of content piracy, capturing a viewer's attention with a good porn GIF is invaluable.

That said, nothing on the Internet is safe from piracy. Even GIFs are constantly getting pirated — and pirated GIFs on Tumblr and GIF feeder sites often link back to piracy-based tube sites.  

"I see people posting GIFs I made after they removed the watermarks," Marie-Chantal said, referring to a common way that pirates mask copyright infringement. "They get the retweets and reblogs instead of me, and that makes it challenging to stay motivated."

It's also difficult for her to keep up in terms of output: While automated GIF makers and posters make hundreds of low-quality GIFs a day, often without watching the scenes, Marie-Chantal typically posts one high-quality GIF set a day. "By looking at the amount [of these types of GIFs] being shared, there seems to be a bigger demand for mediocrity," she said.

Marie-Chantal's observations mirror what's happening to porn content proper, with the popularity of free tube sites like Pornhub and Redtube speaking to the public's penchant for quantity over quality.

"I hope I get some people to see there's more out there than just settling for tube sites," she said. "There are quality porn sites, and they're worth paying for."

A GIF from "Restraint," featuring Sara Luvv & Xander Corvus. Directed by Jacky St.James
Source: KinkyMarie/New Sensations

The "strangely hypnotic" nature of GIFs: Marie-Chantal works full-time making digital porno snack food for the masses. Given her huge following, it's clear she has a large audience — as does GIF porn on Tumblr in general, which is becoming increasingly popular among Tumblr's predominantly woman-friendly user base. As one Tumblr GIF porn fan told the Telegraph, GIF porn is "quick, concise, all under one roof and it's strangely hypnotic to watch oral sex on loop in a GIF."

The popularity of GIF porn may speak to our collective ever-shrinking attention spans, as well as our endless desire for free goods (often regardless of the impact the "free" label has on the workers responsible for creating said materials, as evidenced by the porn industry's fight against Internet piracy).

We might not know what specific neurological processes are at play that make them so mesmerizing, but we do know that if you put the right GIF in front of the right person, it can captivate a hot spot in the mind, mimicking those secret thoughts and memories that make us shiver involuntarily. No one really understands how or why, but if you watch the GIF that does it for you, you can definitely feel it — which makes it the latest facet of modern sex we can't ignore.