Animated GIFs. You see them everywhere, usually as a response, reaction or qualifier that adds extra oomph to any statement. For the longest time GIFs have been associated with the Internet’s funny bone, but now brands are finding ways to incorporate this form of visual content into their marketing. After all, GIFs occupy a space between images and video that leaves much room for exploration.
Here we’ll review 12 tools to get you started with creating, discovering and hosting GIFs. Some of the tools below require a bit more practice to master, but you’re guaranteed to find something that’s right for your GIF needs.
1. Giffing Tool
This is a Windows tool that allows you to create customized GIFS. With features like trimming video frames, adding text, and quality settings adjustments you can be well on your way to creating a library of GIFs that you can go back to and edit as needed.
Currently in beta, Gfycat is a great place to host your GIFs. Often times, GIFs can be very large and may take more than the desired time to load, but Gfycat hosts your GIFs by using HTML5, which can make you GIF load-time feel nonexistent. Once you’ve uploaded your GIF you can change the configuration by playing it in reverse, slo mo, sped up, or paused frame by frame.
For those in a rush or who already have a GIF in mind they’d like to use, Giphy can be a great site for discovering animated GIFS. You can search by category, artist or keyword. While the site is primarily used for discovering GIFs, keep in mind that you can upload your own so it can be discovered and shared by others.
GIFYoutube is a web-based tool to help you convert any Youtube video into a quick GIF. If you don’t want to go to their site to convert the Youtube video, you can easily add “GIF” to the beginning of the URL (ex. www.gifyoutube.com/watch?v=AiVKfNeRbPQ) and your GIF will appear waiting for you to configure it for your needs. Unfortunately you’re not able to download the GIF, but you are given a link to the GIF that is easily shareable and does not contain a watermark.
Available for both Mac and Windows, Recordit is a useful plugin that allows anyone to create a quick recording of their screen. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the tool, simply click and choose what portion of your screen you’d like to record. When you’re ready click the red button in your toolbar and you can record for up for up to 5 minutes. Once complete, you’re given a link to the GIF to either save or tweet.
Like Recordit, Gyazo is an app that easily lets you capture your screen. Available for all platforms, once you open the program all you have to do is click to capture your screen, release and the recording will start. After capturing this, a private link automatically gets copied to your clipboard. Only those with the link will have access. Given its lack of sharing ability, this tool may be better suited for working within teams so you can document your steps. A tool with potential, Gyazo is a great tool to have top of mind when thinking about internal content.
Imgflip is a basic free web-based app that allows you to capture visuals with uploaded images, video or any video URL. If you’ve done your fair share of GIFs and want to use other visual content, Imgflip also has a pie chart maker and meme generator for those moments that could use some extra humor.
8. GIF Brewery
A Mac OS X app and currently in beta, GIF Brewery automatically extracts frames from videos and converts them into GIFs or PNG sequences. Like Giffing Tool, you can add lines of text to your GIF making it more useful to your audience if the visuals might be out of context when shared. GIF Brewery also gives you editing control over effects like sepia, color correction and CMYK halftone. Although there a small fee of $4.99, the UI and added features make for a convenient and seamless experience for created GIFs.
Makeagif is a standard web-based tool for putting together a quick animated GIF. You can upload up to 40 images and rearrange them afterward depending on how you’d like them to appear. In addition to uploading your own images, you can pull video from Youtube, use your webcam, or upload your own video as well. Giving you full control over the frame speed and GIF size, when uploading the GIF Makeagif lets you choose whether you’d like to make your creation public or private. If you don’t mind a small watermark, it’s a great easy to use tool whose GIF quality is up to par.
For a more hands on approach to creating GIFS, GIMP is an open-source image editor. Equipped with more functions than just creating GIFs, like photo retouching, image composition and image authoring, GIMP may be the tool for you if you’re looking for a free alternative to Photoshop. Just like the previous tools, GIMP strings together individual images and the frames are brought together by animation. The great thing about GIMP is its ability to single out specific frames and adjust the timing for that frame independent of the others in the GIF.
GIF Maker allows users to upload and string together images to create a GIF. After uploading the images, users can fine-tune the canvas size and animation speed. This tool doesn’t allow for many more adjustments, but it’s especially handy if you already have an existing GIF and want to do quick resize without having to launch other apps. If a silent GIF doesn’t cut it for you, this tool also allows you to grab audio from any Youtube video.
Do you have a killer deck on SlideShare that you’d love to turn into a GIF? This is the tool for you! Simply grab your deck’s URL from SlideShare and GIF Deck will quickly convert it so you can get on your way to sharing it in emails or have it play natively on Twitter.
Which tools do you recommend?
Stephanie Castillo is a digital marketing specialist at Visually. She has a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and History of Art and Visual Culture from University of California, Santa Cruz. Follow her on Twitter: @StephanieIvania.