How to Make a GIF: 4 Tried and True Methods

If you’re on social media in 2019, you need to know how to make a GIF. GIFs are helpful for creating eye-catching ads, or connecting with your followers through moments from pop culture.

Think of GIFs as the midpoint between images and videos. The main advantage of using GIFs is that you can tell a story or emphasize a point in a flash. Plus, they’re small files to load, and that makes them perfect for mobile.

GIFs have exploded in popularity in recent years. GIPHY, one of the web’s more popular GIF databases, claims to have over 300 million daily active users. In 2018, Google bought Tenor, a keyboard app and GIF archive designed to help users find the GIFs they want. Tenor processes over 400 million GIF searches per day.

This article will show you how to make a GIF using four different methods. Add them to your social media posts to delight and engage your followers.

Let’s get started.

Table of contents

How to make a GIF with Photoshop

How to make a GIF from a YouTube video

How to make a GIF on mobile

How to create screen-recording GIFs

Bonus: Get the always-up-to-date social media image size cheat sheet. The free resource includes recommended photo dimensions for every type of image on every major network.

How to make a GIF with Photoshop

Note: all screenshots used in this article are from Adobe Photoshop CC 2018 (19.1.2 release).

You can use Photoshop to string images together into a GIF. To make the following GIF, Fergus Baird used 20 photos taken in Photo Booth.

You can also use a short video file to make GIFs in Photoshop. The process is almost the same; only the first step will change.

Choose your own adventure:

If you’re starting with a photo series, begin at Step 1A.

If you’re converting a video into a GIF using Photoshop, start at Step 1B.

1A. Starting with photos: Load your deck of photos into Photoshop

In Photoshop, go to File > Stack > Load Files into Stack. Click Browse, then choose the photos (“layers”) you want to use by Shift-clicking on the full list. Each of these photos will be one frame in your GIF.

Tip: If you want to save yourself some time later, number your files (i.e., 001, 002, 003) to make sure they appear in order.

how to make a gif with photoshop

how to create a gif with photoshop

The “Load Layers” screen should look like this one below. Click OK and head to step 2!


how to create a gif with photoshop

1B. Starting with video: Load your video file into Photoshop

To turn a short video into a GIF using Photoshop, you’ll need to make layers out of the existing video frames. First, click File > Import > Video Frames to Layers…

how to create a gif with photoshop

A new window will pop up asking which portion of the video you’d like to import. You can select the range using the slider below the video.

Next, tell Photoshop how many frames it should import. It isn’t necessary to import every single frame to make a GIF. In this case, we imported one out of every three frames, and only half of the video footage. When you’re satisfied, click OK.

how to create a gif

Once you’ve imported your video file into layers, skip to Step 4.

2. Create a Timeline for your GIF

Under the “Window” menu, scroll down and click Timeline.

how to make a gif with photoshop

A small box will appear under the first image in your list: Create Video Timeline. Click this and change it to Create Frame Animation.

how to create a gif with photoshop

3. Convert your photo layers into a set of looping animation frames

In the top right of the “Timeline” panel you’ll see a little hamburger menu (outlined in yellow).

how to make a gif with photoshop

Click on the hamburger menu, scroll down, and click on Make Frames From Layers.

how to make your own gif

The “Timeline” panel will now show your animation frames in sequence. You can drag these around to reorder them.

Press the triangular Play icon (outlined in red below) to get an idea of how your GIF will look. Also, make sure Forever is selected in the drop down menu to the left (outlined in yellow), otherwise your GIF will only loop a set number of times.

make your own gif

4. Export your GIF

Click File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy)…

make your own gif

You’ll come to this menu below. It looks a little overwhelming, but don’t worry. Under the “Preset” menu, select GIF 128 Dithered.

make your own gif

Next, change your Colors setting to 256 (the max number for a GIF).

how to make your own gif

Now you’re ready to export your GIF.

To see how it turned out, click Preview… in the bottom left corner. It’ll open your default web browser and play a looping preview of your GIF.

how to create your own gif

Next, click Save… to name your GIF file, and download the GIF to your computer.

And that’s it! Congratulations! You know how to make a GIF in Photoshop.

How to make a GIF from a YouTube video

If you don’t have access to an Adobe Creative Suite subscription, don’t despair: there’s more than one way to GIF a cat.

1. Go to GIPHY.com and click Create

giphy homepage

2. Add the web address of the video you’d like to make into a GIF

how to make a gif

 

3. Find the part of the video you’d like to capture, and choose the length

Choosing a longer duration in the top slider will add more time after the “start time” you select in the bottom slider.

how to make a gif

 

4. Optional step: decorate your GIF

There are a variety of options in here. You can add text, or jazz up the GIF with stickers, filters, or even hand-drawn annotations. I didn’t add anything because the baby getting body-slammed by a cat really speaks for itself.

how to make a gif

5. Optional step: add hashtags to your GIF

Add hashtags if you want people to find your GIF and share it widely. Include your brand name and some common related terms in your list so it’s easily searchable. Think of what you would search for if you were trying to find this GIF in a hurry.

how to make a gif

6. Upload your GIF to GIPHY

how to make a gif

And with that, you’re done! To include the GIF in your social media posts, simply insert the Giphy link or download the Giphy file and attach it.

You can follow these same steps to upload a GIF you’ve made yourself. Just add a link to the GIF URL in place of the YouTube video link at the start. You can also use these steps to create a GIF from your own video — just start by uploading it to YouTube.

How to make a GIF on mobile

Mobile apps like GIPHY Cam allow you to make GIFs on your phone. These are extremely easy to use: if you’ve ever used Snapchat, you can handle GIPHY Cam. If you have not used Snapchat… you can still handle GIPHY Cam.

1. Launch the app and record your GIF

Tap the photo button to take a short burst of photos, or hold it for a longer GIF.

2. Optional step: choose a filter, or add stickers/text

how to create a gif

3. Save your GIF and share it with the world


How to make a screen-recording GIF

Apps like GIPHY Capture, ScreenToGif, LICECap and GifCam allow you to make GIFs of your on-screen activity. This is a great option if you’re writing a short instructional article (like something for an online help center) and want to show steps visually.

1. Launch the screen-recording GIF software

When you launch the software, you’ll see a recording overlay like the red-outlined section in the screenshot below.

how to make a screen-recording gif

2. Pull the mask over the area you want to record

With GIPHY Capture, you can record anything within the recording overlay (again, outlined in red). To enlarge this area, click and drag the bottom-right corner (outlined in yellow).

how to make a screen-recording gif

Bonus: Get the always-up-to-date social media image size cheat sheet. The free resource includes recommended photo dimensions for every type of image on every major network.

Get the free cheat sheet now!

3. Record your on-screen activity

Press the circular red button in the center to record, then press it again to stop recording. You should see a thumbnail preview of your GIF pop up in the bar below the recording overlay.

how to create a screen-recording gif

4. Customize your GIF settings

Minimize the recording area and take a look at the GIF options menu. Here, you can customize your GIF, including the loop type (normal, reverse, or ping-pong) pixel size, and frame rate. Drag the tabs in from the left or right to trim your GIF. You can also add captions from this menu. Just click captions next to options.

how to make a screen-recording gif

When you’re ready, you can click the blue Calculate size text to get an idea of how big your GIF file will be. Under 3 MB is ideal for fast loading.

5. Save your GIF

You can choose to save your GIF to your computer, or, in the case of GIPHY Capture, upload it straight to GIPHY’s online archive.

However you choose to use GIFs in your marketing strategy—social or otherwise—make sure your approach is carefully considered and stays true to your brand values. And don’t forget to have fun with it!

You can add your newly created, hilarious GIFs to social media posts with Hootsuite. Easily manage your social channels and engage followers across networks from a single dashboard. Try it free today.

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The post How to Make a GIF: 4 Tried and True Methods appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

Article syndicated from HootSuite https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-make-gif/

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Editor in Chief at here SMNZ, I have a passion for social and digital media. When not writing and managing SMNZ I am the Head of Innovation at TAG The Agency, a digital ad agency and the Head of Sales and Marketing for End-Game, a software development agency. I'm also involved with a number of startups and I am always keen to support those that are bold enough to give things a go. Start something, better to try than to live wondering what if...

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