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 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.
There’s only one problem. 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 technology that you still haven’t figured out.
Do you feel that sting? That’s what almost everyone feels like when they’re trying to figure out a technology that’s been around for a while.
If it makes you feel any better, it wasn’t until much later that GIFs became part of popular culture.
And by then, 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 like you were born yesterday.
Yes, GIFs are kind of retro but they are hotter than ever now.
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.
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 am audiio soundtrack if you’d like.
Just upload the images, toggle the speed, size, sound (optional) and you’re good to go.
Here we have another image only GIF creator. This one stands out a bit though in that it allows you to upload up to 800 images to add as frames into your GIF.
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.
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.
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.
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!
GIF Brewery’s strength is creating animated GIFs from videos that you upload.