How-To: Make a GIF Like a Pro
You’ve seen them in emails, on social media, and in blogs. GIFs are everywhere and it’s become even easier to participate in this growing trend. If you don’t know how to get started, that’s where this guide comes in.
GIFs are a great way to increase engagement with your content and online brand, and the process of using them is simple and fun. You can choose to surf through a directory, or you can create your own. Both options work well, but if you’re going to make a GIF yourself, you need to find the best tools.
This guide goes over ways you can make a GIF based on the approach you want to take. You’ll learn how to make GIFs like a pro without needing heavy-duty software, such as Photoshop, to get high-quality results.
You want to create a GIF from a video on YouTube.
This is the typical approach to making GIFs. There are several tools out there to help you with this process and they make it an easy, seamless task.
Perhaps your best option is Gifs.com. With this tool, all you have to do is insert a URL, such as the one from that YouTube video you like. The program will give you the options for what part of the video you want to use, and you’ll be able to add a caption, crop, and do other cool things with your new GIF.
The Steps to Follow
- Go to YouTube. Find the video you want to clip from for your gif. Under the video screen, you have the option to share the video. Copy the link that appears.
- Go to Gifs.com, and paste the YouTube share URL into the box centered on the page. You will be directed to a new page.
- On the new page, you’ll see the YouTube video moving from start to finish, following your movements on the screen. Here, you’ll select the start and end times for your gif. When you’re happy with your gif’s timing, click on the green check mark at the bottom left of the window.
- Along the left side of your video, you’ll see a list of tools you can use to enhance your gif, including adding a caption or cropping it. Use any of the tools you think would make your gif better, or move right on to the next step.
- When you scroll down along the left sidebar, you’ll see several extra effects you can add to your gif. You can experiment as needed without risk because there’s an option to undo changes.
- When you think your gif is done and ready for final use, choose “Create Gif” in the green box at the bottom of your screen.
- Before you’re directed to your final gif, the website will offer to add a backlink to your gif, such as to a social account or a custom website. You can use this as an opportunity to bring traffic to your website, for example.
- Did you forget to add a caption to your gif? If you forgot to use the tools from step 4 or changed your mind, use this step as your second chance. The tools from step 4 are available in this stage as well.
- You have the option to share your new gif directly to your social profiles. They offer several of the leading platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
- Gifs.com gives you three different ways to access your gif online. You can copy an optimized link, direct link, or embed code. Use the code for adding your gif to your website or blog.
- Lastly, download your gif as a file on your computer by using the option provided. It’s good to do this every time to preserve your work. It also makes it easier for you to access your gif without needing a link. Now you'll be able to use your GIF wherever you like.
You want to create a GIF from photos.
Say you have a series of photos you want to combine into an animation. You can use tools such as Make a GIF that’ll do this for you. You can choose the speed of the animation and even add music if you plan to add the file to YouTube. When looking for a tool that’ll let you combine photos, make sure it gives you options for file size, shape, and downloading. Ideally, the tool should give you an embed code so that you can easily add the GIF to your website.
The Steps to Follow
- On the Make A GIF homepage, you’ll see an option to create a gif from your pictures. It should be the furthest left option in the menu.
- On the next page you’re directed to, you’ll be asked to upload your photos from your computer. Choose the photos you want to include, and you’ll be sent to the next stage.
- After you’ve uploaded your photos, you’ll be prompted to rearrange them or move on. Do any rearranging and continue.
- The next stage gives you multiple ways to customize your gif. You’ll have a chance to give it a name, choose the speed, resize your gif, and more. You’ll have a chance to make it private and even for mature audiences only.
- When you’re ready to finalize your gif, choose “create a gif” and wait for it to be processed. This may take a minute or so if you’re using a free account.
- When your gif is final, you’ll have the option to download it to your computer. They offer a custom link to it, and you can save it to a folder on the site.
- Your final results will look something like this:
You want to create a GIF from a screen recording.
When you’re showing something on your computer, such as how to do a task, and you want to turn those instructions into a GIF, use a tool that’ll do that for you.
Recordit is one of the tools you can try. It’s a software download for Mac and PC, and it records your actions when you choose. It then turns that activity into a GIF for you to share.
For example, you’re showing your client how to collaborate in Google Docs. They don’t know how to add trackable changes, so you create a GIF that’ll take the client step-by-step through the process of changing their actions to suggesting mode. It’s a great way to use GIFs in an instructional way.
The Steps to Follow
- Download Recordit on your Mac or PC.
- Open the program by clicking on the icon on your desktop. Make sure you have the screen you want to record open and easily accessible.
- On a Windows computer, go to the program menu on the bottom right of your screen. Select the Recordit icon with your window already open on your screen.
- You’ll see that your mouse is directing four lines in the shape of a plus sign throughout your screen. This is when you choose the part of your screen you want to record. Click on a start location, and while holding down, move your mouse until the shape you want appears.
- When that is completed, and you’re ready to record your actions within that window, select “Record” right underneath your selected screen area.
- Act out what you want recorded, and choose “Stop” when you’re done.
- The program will tell you that it is uploading your video, and when done, it will say: “Success - click here to watch your recording.”
- Select to watch your recording, and you’ll be directed to the video online.
- Your video will show on autoplay, and you’ll have the choice to share the video on social or make it into a gif. Choose to make it a gif by selecting the option on the bottom right of the website.
- Your video will be made into a gif in its own webpage. You’ll have the option to save the gif as a URL or save it as a gif file on your computer. To save it as a file, right click on it, and choose “save image as.” It will automatically save as a gif.
You don’t want to create your own GIF.
If you want to explore a directory of existing GIFs rather than spend time creating your own (or you need inspiration), you have options.
- Buffer has a mood board that gives you handy GIFs for sharing on social media.
- Giphy is the leader of the pack for both creating your own and exploring existing GIFs.
- If you want to use something a little more simplified, try Google image search, but be sure to set your search for copyright-free GIFs. Otherwise, you’ll have to give credit.
Whether you’re using GIFs for email, social, internal communications, or otherwise, you want them to be fun, funny, educational, or all of the above. They’re a great way to engage with your audience, so take full advantage of this trend while it’s here.