How To Make a GIF [December 2020]
You love animated GIFs, those looping mini-videos of people incurring hilarious injuries, movie clips overlayed with bizarre captions, or flickering images meant to tell a story. In fact, you probably have a few GIF ideas of your own. We’ll tell you about the best tools for creating animated GIFs to make your friends laugh or to make a point.
While recording a video and uploading it to YouTube seems pretty straight-forward, you can’t for the life of you figure out how people make animated GIFs.
Are they code geniuses dedicating their talent to internet comedy? Is there some special GIF software that everybody’s computer has but yours? Where is this GIF party happening, and why was your invitation lost in the mail?
We have your invitation to the animated GIF party right here and it’s a lot easier to get into this party than you think. Read on to learn how to start making your own animated GIFs.
Ready in just a GIF
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format and has been around since, believe it or not, 1987. To put that in perspective, Zac Efron was born in 1987. That’s right, Zac Efron is as old as a technology that you still haven’t figured out.
If it makes you feel any better, it wasn’t until much later that GIFs became part of popular culture.
When GIFs did become popular, everyone was pronouncing it wrong. The acronym GIF was initially pronounced “Jif” as in “Jif Peanut Butter.” But if you try to use anything but a hard “g,” these days people will look at you have three heads.
Yes, GIFs are kind of retro but they are hotter now than they ever were.
Video Editors, a.k.a. Getting Fancy
Many aspiring web comedians and graphic designers use Photoshop, GIMP, or similar image editors to create GIFs. While there are easier ways to create or edit GIFs, if you have experience with an image editing package then you’ll have more flexibility to create exactly what you envision.
Video editing tools provide a great deal of control over the content, length, and quality of the GIF, making them ideal if you’re looking to accomplish something truly spectacular.
Photoshop and GIMP also make it easier to substantially edit images so your GIF will be a tailor-made masterpiece. However, they are far more complicated than some of the options we’ll discuss below. Using Photoshop to make a GIF takes about a dozen steps and a reasonably solid grasp of Photoshop.
Not to mention that Photoshop itself is not at all cheap, typically running you several hundred dollars over the course of a year if you’re subscribing to the cloud version.
We’re going to go out on a limb and say you were looking for something a little more cut and dry, not to mention inexpensive or free.
Online GIF Creators
If you’re not familiar with image editing programs such as Photoshop, then you can always go with an online tool. Even if you are a graphic designer, you might like the convenience and speed by which you can create an animated GIF with an online tool.
The programs listed here are but a sampling of what you can find online. Most of them are free, all of them are at least affordable, and they will certainly get the job done for you. So read on for a summary of some of the best GIF creation software.
Giphy is probably the most popular website for GIF harvesting and creating. Although the site does require a login before creation it is still free and you can share your GIFs automatically to your favorite social media websites. There’s even an app for those who want to create GIFs on the go.
If you want something free and easy to use and you aren’t concerned with video GIFs, consider GifMaker.me. This service is ideal for making GIFs that rotate a series of images. It’s not the most exciting stuff, but it will work.
This tool enables you to create animated GIFs, slideshows, and video animations, accompanied by an audio soundtrack if you’d like. Just upload the images, toggle the speed, size, sound (optional) and you’re good to go.
This free service allows you to make GIFs from YouTube videos, video files, images, and even a live webcam. Just choose the video and use the provided tools to edit the length and speed of the GIF. Sound too good to be free? Well, MakeaGif will leave an advertisement in the form of a watermark on any completed GIFs.
MakeAGif has these animated GIF source options:
- Pictures to GIF
- YouTube to GIF
- Facebook to GIF
- Video to GIF
- Webcam to GIF
- Just Upload a GIF
Whether you want to turn a YouTube video into a GIF or a silly picture, MakeAGif makes it easy. Visit the MakeAGif website and start creating your perfect animated snip.
ImgFlip helps you make basic GIFs from images or videos. Adding images is easy and the timing controls are precise. However, this free service is free for a reason. It’s more than a little buggy.
You can also use this website to create memes and charts. Fortunately, you won’t have to input any personal information to create your GIFs.
GIF Brewery comes highly recommended and with good reason. It provides excellent control over design and style. It lets you add captions, crop images, and adjust the length and size of the GIF. However, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is it costs $5 and only runs on Macs. The good news is if you’re a Mac user, then you can afford the $5.
GIF Brewery’s strength is creating animated GIFs from videos that you upload.
The TechJunkie website offers a series of tools, one of which you can use to convert your favorite video into a GIF. The site requires no login, it’s free, and it’s incredibly simple. Once you’re done converting your video, download it to your device and share it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I get in trouble for making a GIF with someone else’s content?
We aren’t lawyers so we can’t say for sure, but with Copyright infringement, it’s best to contact the original creator for permission before use. If you’re just sharing a GIF you made with your friends it likely won’t be a problem, but if you’re earning a profit for it, then you could be in hot water.
Can I make a GIF for Facebook?
We have an article with more information about this subject here. But, posting a custom GIF to Facebook isn’t as easy as some would think. You can post a GIF in a comment using the ‘GIF’ button, or upload a GIF from GIPHY or one of the other options.
If you wanted to comment with a customized GIF, you’ll quickly find that Facebook only provides so many options in the native GIF section. What you can do is copy and paste the URL directly in the comment box and your GIF will appear. But, you will need a URL linking directly to your GIF to do this.
There you have it. There’s no secret formula to being part of the online content creating community. Your favorite GIFs were likely made with similar programs. Now it’s your turn to start making other people laugh. Bring out the GIFs and the memes!