How to make a GIF

The use of GIFs is a great way to share funny and candid thoughts to internet users. But, how do you make a GIF? Here is a basic and simple guide to help you to get started:

Choose your preferred method

There many ways of creating a GIF, but it always boils down to the two simplest methods: using a set of images or using a very short video clip. If you want to use a set of images for your GIF, you may opt to use various online tools instead, which can be easier and faster. You can simply search on the web, using the correct keywords, and the instructions will follow.

A good example would be Jiffy, a Chrome extension that uses Youtube videos to create GIFs instantly by selecting the video and time frame with which you wish to create your GIFs. For videos, however, you need to use software applications and other local tools. Thus, this brings us to the next step.

Choose the tool or software that you need

Software applications that are specifically designed to create GIFs are ideal since most of its features and functions are optimized for ease of use. Most of these software focus on screen capture features, which means that you need to open a media player, select part of the screen where it plays, and then stop recording to the part you wish to turn into a GIF.

One of the best examples of this is the Giffing Tool, which offers the simplest interface (if that’s even an interface) and editing options to finish that GIF in a snap. For the best editing options, however, you may want to get a bit more technical. First, you need a media player that can record the portion of the video you want to make into a GIF. Then, you need full software that can edit the video. One general example is the all-purpose Photoshop, which can extract the video into layers via File > Import > Video Frames to Layers (remember to have the correct plug-in for it to appear!). From there, you can fine-tune each frame with a variety of editing options to fully edit it into the GIF that you want to make.

Additionally, here are a few GIF-making tips and pointers to help maximize what you can do:

Take note that GIFs need to be as compressed as possible in terms of file size. This means that you need to compromise its quality and size considerably for it to be easily loaded on a web page. Otherwise, you will simply annoy the heck out of all the users that dare to touch your would-be “high-quality creative masterpiece.”

A maximum of about a few seconds is all that GIF needs. If you think it is going to take more than five or even ten seconds, reconsider and re-edit. Cut down some of the scenes or frames you don’t need, or redo the entire file.

GIFs usually convey a clever message, be it either funny or stimulating. If you plan to go for a scary GIF, go wild with the fear factor. If it’s intended as an elaborate reply, then make sure you capture the emotion perfectly with good captions.

Never go overboard with your first attempt. Well, sure if you want it as grandiose as you want it to be, then go ahead. But don’t expect to complete one in a jiffy or in a considerable short period, especially if it is the type that needs comprehensive software editing.


Christian Crisostomo
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