7/31/13
8:00 am

MacMost Now 898: Creating Animated GIFs

Creating an animated GIF from a video is easy if you have an app to do it. Learn how to use GIFBrewery to create a quick GIF from a video. You can view these GIFs in the Finder, or in a web browser. You can also share them and upload them to many web sites.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's look at creating animated GIFs on your Mac.

It turns out you can't create an animated GIF with tools that come with your Mac. You can't do it in iMovie. You can't do it with QuickTime Player. You can kind of, sort of, do it using Preview but there are no options and you can't make it loop. So I won't even go into that.

Of course you can install various sorts of software. A lot of command line things you can use in Terminal. But in the end this seems like the kind of task that you should just get an app for.

So I searched in the App Store and I chose GIF Brewery and I'm going to show you how to use that to create an animated GIF.

The first thing GIF Brewery wants is a video. So I'm going to give it this QuickTime Movie that I took with my iPhone. I'm going to open it up. Now this is a huge 1920 x 1080 video so you are only seeing the middle of it here. So the first thing I want to do is get it down to a size where I can view it all on my screen here. Let's do a high quality resize here and I'm going to resize it to 640 x 360. Now I can see the entire thing.

I can scrub through it here at the bottom and let me go an pick a good spot for a start. I'm going to do here and you can Set Start and then go here and let's just pick a spot here and Set End. There, now we see the area that will be exported as a GIF.

Now there is a bunch of other things here you've got as options. For instance there is a bunch of Filters here. I don't want to do those because I like the video just the way it is. I can go and add a Caption to it as well. So there is a bunch of different things that I can do. I can go into GIF Properties here and change a bunch of different things.

So this is going to create a 24 frame GIF no matter how long the video is here. I can also say forget that. Just create 10 frames per second so a longer GIF if I give it a longer segment. Let's leave it here at 24 frames per second. Frame delay of 100 ms, in other words 10 frames per second will be shown. I can do a bunch of different things here including setting Looping Mode to normal, Reverse Looping, or Palindrome which means it goes all the forward to the end and then reverses and then forward again which could be useful in some cases.

Once I get those to what I like I'm going to go and say Create GIF and it is going to actually create it and show it to me. It is not going to just export it. So here I can see it and I can see the final size of it. So it is pretty big. For a lot of GIFs what you want to do is create something small.

For instance I can hit Discard here and let's go and I think this will be good as a smaller GIF. So do a 320 x 180 and that should cut the size quite a bit. So I want to hit Create GIF now and I'm going to get something that instead of almost 4 MB in size is just over 1 MB in size.

I'm going to save it out. It will allow me to save it out as a GIF. I can give it a name. Now I get the final send out since it already created it saving it out only takes a second.

So now that I see the result I can do several things. One is that I can simply look at here in the Finder and I can see it there. I can also drag and drop it to Safari where you are probably going to want to upload to your Facebook page or something like that and people can see the final version there.

A few things about animated GIFs. First of all is it pronounced "gif" or "jif". Well, I've always used GIF so I'll just stick with that. But there is an ongoing battle about how to say it.

So GIFs, whether animated or not, use something called a color palette. You see in a normal digital image, like of a photograph that you've taken, each pixel is represented by red, green, and blue values that could represent millions of different colors. Every pixel has its own unique color.

But in a GIF it is different. A GIF has a list of up to 256 colors and each pixel has to be one of those 256 colors. So what happens when you create a GIF is the image is analyzed. 256 colors are picked out that best represent the image and each pixel simply uses one of those colors. So you don't get quite the image quality that you normally would with say a jpeg.

This means when you export an animated GIF, which is even worse because there are multiple frames of images there, these 256 colors, that restriction, is going to make the quality a lot worse than which you may be used to with say a HD video. So when making an animated GIF you want to make it as small as possible dimension wise, say the 240 x 160 size rather than the huge HD size. You also you should not expect the same quality you would with a normal video.

But you are going to get a smaller file size for that and of course you get the neat effect of being able to post it anywhere on a Facebook page or whatever and have it animate.

So in making an animated GIF using a tool like GIF Brewery or something else you want to make the image as small as possible while still getting the point across. You can also adjust things like the palette size. I was actually able to make this image smaller by going into the Properties and say instead of using 256 colors only use 48. It made something that was still pretty passable.

Keep in mind the files are still pretty big. Even at a smaller size I was able to get this down to about half a MB. With my fast connection it only took a second to upload that half a MB and if I saw one online it would only take a second for me to see it. But a friend of mine might not have as fast a connection and when they go to view the animated GIF that I tell them is so cool they might get frustrated by delays or worse if they are trying to view it using a mobile device and they have a slower connection or band width limits then they might not appreciate a larger file.

So let me know if you found this useful. I will include a link to this app in the description here at MacMost.com.

Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 5 Responses to “MacMost Now 898: Creating Animated GIFs”

    Douglas Brace
    7/31/13 @ 11:04 am

    Something to keep in mind because you said it several times… Facebook does not support animated GIF files.

      7/31/13 @ 6:39 pm

      Ways to get around that include Facebook apps and simply storing the GIFs on your own site or storage and linking to it.

    CCFLYER
    8/1/13 @ 10:52 am

    Is there an app to create an animated GIF of your signature? Sometime ago I had an animated GIF created from a scan of my signature. I keep it in Dropbox so I can insert it at the end of my Gmails. I get lots of positive comments on how cool it looks.

      8/2/13 @ 11:55 am

      I don’t know of one. I suppose if you are signing with a tablet you could use QuickTime Player or any screen capture software to record you while you do it. Then export as a video and convert to GIF.

    Jerome
    8/2/13 @ 5:56 am

    Don’t know yet what am I gonna do with that but I bought it from your affiliate link according to recognize and thank you for your awesome job and content on you blog.
    Cheers

Comments Closed.