Ubiquity by Design

Examining 3 man-made objects that have spread across the globe

To make a GIF in Photoshop, you need to start with a short recorded video. Open the video file with Adobe Photoshop, and convert it to a frame animation. Open the animation timeline from Window > Timeline. The Timline allows you to change which layers are visible for each frame, select the timing, and create the transition between the frames.

Keep in mind that Photoshop will only let you have a 500 frame animation.

These GIFs are of 3 man-made items increasing in scale that have spread throughout the world, and achieved a ubiquitous status; cigarettes, plastic water bottles, and the Monobloc plastic chair.


James Bonsack invented the cigarette-making machine in 1881, which was followed by inventor Boris Aivaz's cellulose filter in 1925. Since then, nearly 4.5 trillion cigarette butts have been cast off into the environment every year, and have become one of the most ubiquitous forms of garbage on the earth.

The cigarette was very difficult to keep stationary despite using some extra surgical tubing and a bike pump to 'drag' the cigarette. However, the effect of the burning end proved to be very compelling.

Gif 1 - The Cigarette

Plastic Bottle

In 1941 the Calico Printers' Association of Manchester, England patented Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Plastic bottles used for soft drinks, juices and water may account for 30% of PET manufacturing demand worldwide. The plastic water bottle's environmental impact is currently a contentious issue, but it's status as one of the most abundant man-made items on the planet.

The bottle was much easier to capture than the cigarette, and the pouring of the water maximized the gif's looping effect.

Gif 2 - The plastic bottle

Monobloc Chair

The Monbloc chair by the Italian designer Vico Magistretti in 1967 is by far the world's most common chair. At $3 each to produce, the chair's affordability has led to it's spread across the world.

The chair is such a static item that I chose to use the surrounding environment to provide the loop. Unlike other furniture design, the Monobloc chair is free of context providing little clues as to specific origins of the image.

Gif 3 - The Monobloc chair