You’ve always wanted to create your own GIFs for your digital marketing strategy but weren’t sure how. This guide will show you how to create a GIF with common, free tools.
GIFs are so valuable. Imagine writing a blog or social post that is just one large wall of text. This is how you feel about your readers…
A bored reader is one who clicks away. It’s amazing how much effort you put into this content. You don’t have to bore your audience with dull content.
GIFs can spice up your content marketing campaigns and social media. Even better, you can make them yourself. You only need a creative idea and some design knowledge.
A GIF, short for Graphics Interchange Format, is an image file that supports animated graphics. They have become so embedded in digital culture, they are now considered a meme.
Text is boring. (See the GIF below.) You need to embrace new content types to get your message across to the nearly 3 billion Facebook users.
GIFs are used to promote products, attract attention and connect with customers. GIFs work because they are easy to share across different platforms.
This guide is your GIF bootcamp. Are you ready to learn how to create your own GIFs
What is a GIF?
GIF stands for Graphic Image File Format. It supports animation. It stores multiple images together and sends them in a sequential order.
A software developer created the first GIF in 1987 to allow for animated images that were smaller in file size. GIFs are more common than the internet, but they weren’t mainstreamed until the 2000s.
GIFs were a popular tool for quick, easy-to-read, relatable communication as social media exploded in the 2000s.
Sure, they’re fun to share with friends and co-workers to express your feelings about Fridays or meetings-that-should-have-been-emails, but they’re also a prime opportunity to amplify your marketing content. GIFs can be used to convey emotions and make it easy for others to influence you.
GIFs are more informative than they are telling. How many paragraphs would it take to capture the “bored cat GIF” at the beginning of this guide?
Here’s a great example of a GIF in action: Fashion editors at The Huffington Post use one for styling a scarf. This is a huge saving of hundreds of words by only using one moving image.
GIFs can also be a great way for you to share your humor and make your brand more human to connect with your audience. It doesn’t take much to pull this off, such as a simple GIF of a cat riding a bike in an advertisement or a dancing taco at the top. You can also create a GIF showing your product at work, to make it more business-oriented.
93% of marketers who use videos say it’s an important part of their strategy. Why not make small videos and use GIFs everywhere? This is a quick and efficient way to make shareable memes or compelling digital stories for social networking promotion.
Nearly all major social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, allow users to create short video loops to be used as content posts. To send the right message, content creators can modify every frame in a GIF.
GIFs are being used by top brands to promote their products in innovative ways. Charlotte Tilbury uses them for demonstrating eyeshadow shades
Mailchimp uses these to showcase features on its platform:
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How to make GIFs accessible
Before we get into the details of creating GIFs, let’s take a moment to discuss the GIF’s role in digital accessibility.
You’ll need to do some extra work to make your GIFs available if you want them to be accessible.
Accessible Web recommends that your GIFs:
Instead of looping endlessly, stop after 5 seconds (or give users a way to pause). Include alt text that describes the GIFAvoid blinking or flashing
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines provide more information.
How to make a GIF with GIPHY
You don’t need expensive graphic design tools. GIPHY allows you to create GIFs online with just a few clicks. It is a simple tool that anyone can use to create GIFs from video without any complicated learning curve.
Here’s how you can make a GIF with GIPHY
1. Upload your video file to GIPHY
Original video files should not exceed 100MB in size, and must not exceed 15 seconds in length. Upload files to your computer, or copy the URL from an existing online video.
2. Adjust the Timing
Reduce the original video file so that it has the exact start- and stop frames.
3. Optional: Add Effects
To enhance the visuals of your GIF, you can add a caption or insert special effects. You can also decorate it with digital stickers.
To make it easier to find your GIFs, use descriptive language separated with commas. To credit the original image/video source, you can add a URL and set public/private settings.
5. Finalize your GIF
Click on the Create GIF button to save the file in.gif format. Your newly created GIF will be displayed in a new window.
GIPHY allows you to share your GIFs on social media channels.
How to make a GIF in Photoshop
GIFs are also possible in Adobe Creative Cloud for Adobe Photoshop professionals who want to use their native tools. This involves creating a series of still photos or video files.
How to create a GIF in Photoshop
1. Import Files to Photoshop
Open your software, and then upload your file or video by going to File > Scripts> Load Files into Stack. Click OK to select your photos. The import file will appear as a series layers. Each layer corresponds to a frame in your GIF.
2. Open the Timeline to Convert Layers
After your files have been uploaded, you can open the timeline and create a new frame animation. Navigate to Window >Timeline > Create Frame animation. Click the menu icon at the upper-right corner and then click Make Frames From Layers. To preview your animation, click the play button.
Manually add captions. Your abilities limit the number of effects that you can add to your GIF.
4. Set the Animation Loop
You can adjust how often the GIF will be repeated by going to the bottom of your timeline panel. Select the number of repetitions you want from the drop-down menu.
5. Export GIF File
After you are done with designing, export the file to a GIF format. Click File > Export > Save to Web. A menu of options will be available to you that allows for customization of the file’s format.
GIF 128 Dithered can be selected from the preset menu, and GIF 256 can be chosen from the colors menu. To limit the image’s size for web sharing, adjust the width and height fields. Finally, save the GIF file in the destination folder you choose.
How to Make a GIF using Ezgif
Ezgif, a simple but powerful GIF creator utility, is easy to use. It doesn’t require a download or account – everything is available online.
Here’s how to make a GIF using Ezgif
1. Upload your files
Upload either a series of images or a single video file. Keep the file size under 100MB
2. Arrange your GIF
Set the start and end times for a GIF created from a video. (Hint: The video preview window can be used to determine the exact time codes.
You can arrange a group of images into a GIF by dragging them and dropping them. To change the time each image remains on the screen before changing, you can adjust the Delay value. However, Delay is expressed as 1/100th of a second. You can leave the default Delay value at the default value if you aren’t sure.
3. Finish it off
Click Create a GIF! Convert to GIF A preview of your final GIF will be available.
You can make further edits at this stage like cropping, optimizations and effects. Click Save once you are happy with how your GIF looks.
Vidyard: How to Make a GIF
GIFs can be used to present your video content in email, especially if you send them video emails. Are static thumbnails not enough to grab attention? Vidyard can transform boring thumbnails into captivating GIFs that get more clicks.
How to create a GIF thumbnail using Vidyard
1. Vidyard – Upload your video
Register for a Vidyard account and upload your video to it. You can also create your own Vidyard account using the screen and webcam recording tools.
2. Select a GIF Thumbnail
Scroll down to the Thumbnail Section on your video’s Edit page and select Animated Thumbnail.
Vidyard automatically converts a few frames from your video to a GIF. You can manually select the section. Click Select from Video and click Animated. Then, use the scrubbers to set the in/out times.
When you share the video, viewers will see a GIF thumbnail. Clicking the thumbnail will take them to the video’s sharing site. It’s way more eye-catching than one still frame.
Tip: If someone is presenting in your video it can make the thumbnail more relatable. Choose frames that are off-center for your subject. A play button will appear in middle of final GIF thumbnail. This can cause the subject to be obscured if it isn’t taken care of. Awkward.
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Give the Gift of GIF
Use your favorite tools like GIPHY, Photoshop, or Vidyard to create irresistible, bite-size branding pieces that your audience will want to share. Now get GIFing!
How to make a GIF using Photoshop, GIPHY and Ezgif.