More and more people use animated graphics or GIFs to express themselves on their phones or computers, especially on social networks. Let’s start with something basic. The word is spelled GIF and means graphics exchange format (by its English name: graphics interchange format). The creators of the GIF pronounce it JIF (yif). But many people say GIF (guif) with a strong G. Technically, they are all accepted ways to call them, although we warn you that some people may be very passionate about how the name should be pronounced.
Finding GIFs to publish is quite simple, but creating your own is not so easy. There are dozens of ways to make a GIF on your phone or computer without using Photoshop.
Turn a video into an online GIF
Many websites specialize in how to convert a video or set of photos into a GIF, but the one I use most often is Ezgif. It seems easy to use and works on both a phone and a computer. To convert a video file into a GIF, first go to ezgif.com.
At the top of the site, there are some tools that allow you to make a GIF or modify an existing one.
- Click the Video To GIF button and then the Choose File button to select the video you want.
- Then, click on the blue Upload video button. You can control the progress of the load at the bottom of your browser window. Once loaded, you will see a playback window with your video.
- In that window, you can adjust the length, resolution and frame rate. All this will affect the size of your GIF file.
- If you don’t want to make any adjustments, click on Convert To GIF and enjoy the animation of the patient kitten while your video transforms into a GIF.
- If you are satisfied with the result, press Save. And ready. Seriously, it’s that easy.
Read more: How to publish GIFs on Instagram easily
However, if you want to take your GIF to the next level, you can go back to the playback window and edit the duration. Look for a short and nice fragment of 2 to 4 seconds. While playing your video, you can select the start and endpoint with the blue Use current position buttons located below the video player. As for the file size, make sure your GIF is between 5 and 7 megabytes.
You can then customize your GIF: crop it, resize it, rotate it, add effects. I like this process because you can change the color and background, as well as add filters, overlays, and text. Once you are satisfied with the results, press Save and you will have your GIF ready.
I really like Ezgif, but depending on the phone you have, there are other ways to create a GIF.
Giphy App for iOS and Android
In the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, there are dozens of applications to convert a video into a GIF, but my favorite is Giphy. You can make a GIF and publish it openly for others to use and share (if they like).
To start, open the application and touch the plus sign (+) at the bottom. You can record a video from scratch or use an existing one on your phone.
Next, a live preview of your GIF will appear, which you can edit and also add text, effects or stickers. When you’re done, touch the purple arrow. Once you have created the GIF, you can upload it to Giphy for anyone to use or touch Share GIF to save it to your phone or send it to a friend.
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The built-in GIF creator of the Samsung Galaxy
If you have a Samsung Galaxy S8 or newer phone, you can make a GIF using the Edge Panel. Basically, there is a tool that allows you to make a GIF from anything on the screen.
On the Galaxy S10, for example, go to Settings to turn on the Edge Panel. There are a lot of panel themes to choose from. Select the one called Smart Select.
To capture a GIF of what’s on the screen, open the Edge Panel by slowly sliding your finger from the right edge to the left. The first time I tried to open the Edge Panel, it took me a couple of attempts to achieve it. Once it is open, tap the GIF icon. A GIF capture window will appear as an overlay. What is inside that window will become your GIF. You can resize and move the capture window, and when you’re ready, tap the record button.
I should point out that while the screen is recording, you will not be able to navigate your phone. When you’re done, touch the stop button. You can share your GIF immediately or save it to your Gallery.
iPhone Live Photos are not GIF, but you can create one with Shortcuts
The iPhone has built-in tools to record GIFs, but they are not very good. Don’t be fooled by the Live Photos loop animation option in Apple’s Photos application: it creates a video file, not a real GIF.
But thanks to Apple’s Shortcuts application there are many ways to create GIFs. To get started, download and open Shortcuts. In the lower right, touch the Gallery button. The gallery has thousands of pre-designed shortcuts that you can install to do different things on your phone. You can search for the word GIF or simply scroll down to the shortcuts section of GIF.
The specific shortcut you need is Video To GIF. Its icon is a blue rectangle. Simply touch it to install it. You can reach this Shortcut (and any others you have installed) through the Share menu or in the Shortcuts application on the Library tab.
To create a GIF, tap on Video To Gif and choose a video (although the shortcut calls it “image”). Then you can edit the video, although unfortunately, it does not give the possibility to add stickers or text. When you’re done, press Save.
Now you will see the GIF on your screen, but in reality, it is not yet saved. Press the Share button, in the upper right corner of the screen, to save your GIF to Photos, or send it immediately to your friends.