Everyone loves GIFs. From starting off on old forums to making their way into Facebook comments, they’ve certainly come a long way. Needless to say, these short, and to-the-point “moving” images have taken over social media. And if you want to learn how to make a GIF - you’ve come to the right place.
At times, you’re unable to find an animated GIF that properly conveys the message.
The good news is – it’s easy. With the help of a few tools, even your grandma could make them.
Let’s get started.
Two Tools to Help You Create GIFs
You don’t have to be a high-level graphic designer or video editor to create a GIF (or Graphics Interchange Format).
All you need is an internet connection, and a tool or two.
There are 3 ways you can go about creating a GIF:
- Creating a slideshow of images
- Trimming a section of a video
- Using an online GIF maker to convert a section of a YouTube or Vimeo video
To keep things as simple as possible, we’ll keep this tutorial limited to two of the most popular tools:
- Adobe Photoshop
First, we'll take a look at GIPHY.
With more than 500 million active users, GIPHY is the most popular platform when it comes to finding the perfect GIF.
Their GIF maker lets you create GIFs on the go.
Let's look at the three different ways you can create a GIF with this platform.
Method #1: Creating a GIF with a URL
You can trim and extract a section of a YouTube or Vimeo URL as a GIF with GIPHY.
All you need is an internet connection and a URL.
It took us less than 3 minutes to make this GIF:
First, go to GIPHY’s GIF maker (linked above), and log in/create your account. Don’t worry – it’s free.
Once you’re in, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Copy the URL of the video and paste it on the given field.
- Step 2: You’ll land on the “Trim your video” page. Drag the duration and start time sliders to trim away the unwanted bits. Once done, click the “Continue to Decorate” button.
- Step 3: You can now add captions, resize/move, play with the fonts, and even animate the text. In addition, you can add fun stickers, apply filters, and even draw on your custom GIF. Once done, click “Continue to Upload.”
- Step 4: Enter tags to make your GIF discoverable. You may also choose to share it with the public, or keep it private. Once everything’s good to go, click on the “Upload to GIPHY” button.
Et viola – you’re done.
Now you can share, download, or embed your GIF. Go ahead and give it a try.
Method #2: Using Images to Create a GIF Slideshow
If you want to merge multiple images into a slideshow and create a GIF out of it – GIPHY has you covered.
On the main page, select the “Choose Photo or GIF” option, which will open a file upload window.
Now follow these steps:
- Step 1: Choose the image files that you want to use to create the GIF.
- Step 2: On the “Slideshow Settings” page, you can change the duration at which you want the images to pop up. As of now, the tool doesn’t let you set different lengths for individual images. You can, however, reorder them and/or add more.
- Step 3: You’ll be taken to the same editing page, where you can add custom captions, apply filters, and make your GIF awesome. When you’re done, click on “Continue to Upload” button.
In the end, add some relevant tags, set the privacy, upload your GIF, and start sharing it.
Method #3: Using a Video File to Create a GIF
If you have a stunning video (remember, you can always use Lumen5 to make those), but haven’t uploaded it on YouTube or Vimeo, GIPHY's got your back.
You can upload a video file (not exceeding 60 seconds) and turn all or a part of it into one of those moving images.
Start by selecting the “Choose Video” option, locate the video you want to use on your device, and upload it.
From there, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Trim away the unwanted parts by dragging the duration and start time sliders. Once done, click on “Continue to Decorate.”
- Step 2: Again, you’ll be asked to add captions and decorate your GIF. When you’re done, click on the “Continue to Upload” button.
- Step 3: Upload and start sharing your GIF.
Depending on the file size, this may take longer than the other options.
Remember – you can also use free stock footage if you don’t have any video of your own.
A few other online GIF makers include makeagif (which lets you create GIFs out of Facebook and Webcam videos), and ScreenToGIF (which allows you to record a certain portion of your screen and convert it into a GIF).
There’s a lot you can accomplish with Photoshop, that’s why it’s considered one of the most essential digital marketing tools.
For the sake of explanation, the screenshots you’ll see in the steps below are of Adobe Photoshop CC 2019.
Now, there are two ways you can go about doing this:
- Create a slideshow of images
- Trim and convert a video
Let’s discuss both.
Method #1: Creating a GIF Slideshow Using Images
If you have multiple images that you’d like to convert into a slideshow GIF, you can do so with ease using Photoshop.
- Step 1: First, open the software and navigate to “File > Scripts > Load Files Into Stack,” like so:
Then upload the images that you want to use. You can sort their order here, as well. Once done, click on “OK.”
Step 2: Now, navigate to “Window > Timeline,” like so:
The timeline will pop up at the bottom.
- Step 3: In the middle, click on the little drop down menu icon and select “Create Frame Animation.” Then click the button again to create a new frame animation.
- Step 4: Click on the hamburger menu icon (located at the top right corner of the timeline), and select “Make Frames From Layers.”
You’ll then be able to preview your animation by clicking the play button (or hitting the space bar). You can also reverse the animation by opening the hamburger menu and selecting “Reverse Frames.”
- Step 5: To set the duration of each frame/layer, click on the little arrow (next to 0 sec.).
- Step 6: You’ll now have to set a looping animation for your GIF. To do that, click the arrow in the bottom-left corner, and select “Forever.”
- Step 7: Export your animation as a GIF and you’re done. To do that, navigate to “Files > Export > Export As.”
Then, select the format as GIF, click on “Export All.”
You can also create a GIF out of a video using Photoshop, which brings us to:
Method #2: Creating a GIF Using a Video
Though not meant to be a “video maker,” you can import videos to Photoshop and convert them into GIFs.
To do so, follow these steps:
- Step 1: Navigate to “File > Import > Video Frames to Layers,” like so:
Then locate and find the video file on your device.
- Step 2: Now, you can trim your video. You can also use the entire clip.
- Step 3: Click on the hamburger menu and select “Make Frames From Layers.” This will break your entire clip into several different frames.
- Step 4: With the loop set to “Forever,” export your file as a GIF file (same as before).
That’s all there is to it.
Now that you’ve learned how to create a GIF - go crazy.
Include them in your brand’s content or simply share them with your friends and family – the possibilities are endless.
Obaid is the Founder & Creative Director of Planet Content. His focus lies on content creation, 2D animation, and taking the boring & annoying out of marketing.