How to make your own GIFs

Nowadays it seems you can’t scroll through a Twitter feed, Google+ page, Facebook or forum of any kind without seeing at least one GIF in the timeline. They’re fast becoming an essential part of the way we interact online, so learning how to make your own seems like a total no-brainer. We trawled the depths of our internet know-how to bring you a quick guide to making your own.

GIFs (or Graphics Interchange Format, if you’re an acronym-phobe) are short video snippets, often edited with captions or subtitles. Not just created in celebration of the beautiful, the crazy or the cute, they’re also a great way to show a certain reaction or respond to other content posted online.

Your GIF can be anything, but we find an apt expression (borrowed from your favourite celebrity or show) animal capers or television nostalgia to be the most effective and usable in the majority of situations. After all, do you really want to be exempt from contributing valuable input like this…

Before we launch into the method, it might be worth pointing out that there are quick GIF making apps and sites floating about in the ether. Some of the more noteworthy ones include: YouTube (just open the video you like and pop the word ‘gif’ in front of the word ‘YouTube’ for instant magic) Cinemagram for iPhone and fotodanz for Android. For this tutorial, we’re going to be using Photoshop.

1. Choose your video and download it
We don’t like to be biased, but YouTube is probably the fastest and easiest way for you to find and download the video you’re looking for. There are a number of ways to download an internet video, but KeepVid is our method of choice.

2. Import the video into Photoshop
To import your video, just select File > Import > Video Frames to Layers. This will essentially convert your video into a series of still images which can be edited.

3. Tinker with it
Now comes the hard bit: finding the balance between getting a good GIF while still keeping the file size small. Ideally you don’t want it any bigger than 1MB (you know, for web etiquette). If you don’t plan on doing anything fancy, like adding text or embellishments, all you’ll need to do is some basic tinkering to reduce the size of the file.

Here are a few ways you can cut down on those megabytes:

  • Up the colour settings
  • Resize the image
  • Cut down the number of layers

4. Save and host!
Once you’ve saved your GIF, you can start splashing it across all your most favourite sites. Our favourite for this is imgur, but you can use any good file hosting site. And boom! You’re done!

If you’ve successfully created your own GIFs and have any tips, drop them in the comments box below.


David Brookes-Lennon
08 Oct 2015 20:35
Love this
David Brookes-Lennon
08 Oct 2015 20:35
Love this
13 Oct 2015 07:41
Gif's are really underused, great in web design too.
17 Oct 2015 08:41
Interesting blog, thanks :-)
Sarah Crosby
07 Dec 2015 12:57
I never even knew you could make gifs in Photoshop!
01 May 2016 13:14
useful to know this
23 Mar 2017 10:30
i didn't know you could make them in Photoshop either, useful links here - thanks

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