You have undoubtedly seen a GIF before, even if you are unable to describe the term. They played a key role in shaping the early internet, and they’re more common than ever. However, what precisely is a GIF and how can you use one?
This article describes the definition of a GIF, how to open one on a computer or mobile device, how to create or modify one, and how to convert a GIF to another picture or video format.
Table of Contents
A GIF is what?
Graphical Interchange Format is the name of the file type that has the GIF file extension. Most people use GIFs, which are typically small image files and are pronounced “gif” or “jiff,” to generate animated images to post on social media. But you may also use a GIF with big files.
A GIF (pronounced “gif” or “jiff”) is essentially just an image file. The GIF file format can be used to create still images, just as the JPEG or PNG file formats. However, the GIF format has a unique function—it enables the creation of animated images.
GIFs aren’t truly videos, which is why we refer to them as “animated images.” Actually, they resemble flipbooks more. One is that they lack sound (you probably noticed that). Additionally, animations were not intended for the GIF format; it simply so happened that way. See, GIF files can store numerous photos at once, and people discovered that if these pictures are decoded in a specific way, they can load sequentially.
The GIF format was introduced by CompuServe in 1987, and the latest revision was made in 1989. GIF so predates the World Wide Web by two years and is older than around 35% of the US population. It still plays a significant role in internet culture and helped define early GeoCities webpages, MySpace pages, and email chains. In fact, it’s possible that GIFs are becoming more and more popular.
Tips for Using GIFs
Although GIFs don’t include audio, they are frequently used online to communicate video clips. Additionally, websites frequently employ them to display animated elements like buttons or header graphics. When used with GIF compression, images don’t lose quality because they are preserved in a lossless format.
Here is the most effective technique to look for and use GIFs as of right now:
- The majority of social media networks include a GIF search function built in. Facebook Messenger and Twitter are two examples. These search bars immediately integrate with platforms like GIPHY or Imgur, making GIFs as simple to use as emojis.
- Copy the Link: GIFs can be copied to your clipboard using tools on websites that contain images, such as GIPHY, Imgur, and Gifycat. Simply select the GIF you want and click the “copy link” button. After that, paste the link where your GIF should appear. The GIF will typically function automatically on websites.
- Use Gboard: GIFs may be used anywhere, including in text messages, thanks to a built-in GIF capability in the Google Keyboard for Android, iPhone, and iPad.
Why Are GIFs Becoming More Popular?
GIFs are becoming more and more popular because, like memes, they are effective at conveying humor, feelings, and concepts. Additionally, websites like GIPHY and Gyfcat make it incredibly simple to share and make GIFs. These services are as simple to use as emoticons or “stickers” because they are integrated into apps like Twitter, Facebook Messenger, and your phone’s keypad.
GIF is a really out-of-date format, to be honest. Since GIF files are 8-bit, they can only contain 256 colors and nearly never look good. Semi-transparency is not supported by the GIF format, and uncompressed GIFs frequently have huge file sizes (larger than MP4 video files).
The GIF format has been attempted to be replaced. Always fall short. Ten years ago, Mozilla’s APNG (animated PNG) format was developed to take the place of GIF, but that completely failed. There are many reasons why GIF has endured, but for the sake of time, we’ll just offer you the three main ones right away:
- Every Browser Is Unique: Browsers have their peculiarities, and occasionally one really bad browser can stop the web from progressing. Want a certain illustration? The Microsoft Edge browser only started to support the Mozilla APNG format this year, despite the format’s release in 2008. You are therefore using an outdated version of the Edge browser if this animation doesn’t work. For a very long time, animated GIFs have been supported by all browsers.
- Prior to the 2014 release of HTML5, the HTML specification lacked functionality for video. GIFs persisted because they were simpler to share than actual videos because of this. Adobe’s Flash plug-in was widely used on websites for videos, however, Flash was incompatible with mobile devices like iPhones.
- GIFs Are Simple to Create: With GIFs being so simple to create, why switch to a new format? Most photo editing software may be used to create GIFs, and GIF-making websites have been around for ages.
Creating Your Own GIF
You will need to start with a video no matter how you make a GIF (unless you’re making a GIF from scratch, in which case don’t bother). It doesn’t really matter whether you utilize a video that is saved to your phone or one that you found on YouTube.
Whatever length you choose for this video, it doesn’t really matter. Whatever GIF-creation tool you use will assist you in condensing the movie to a suitable GIF. If you want to, you might even be able to add text and effects.
The following are the top platforms for making GIFs:
- There are many websites that allow you to create GIFs. Use the video-to-GIF tools on Imgur, Gifycat, or GIPHY as they are simple to use and output HTML5 movies, which are technically superior to GIF files.
You can send a link to a video on YouTube or Vimeo to the GIF maker. Then, it will provide you with several choices for customizing and trimming your GIF.
- Using an app: You can create GIFs while on the go, yes. The most well-known GIF-making apps are GIPHY CAM (iOS/Android) and GIF Maker (iOS/Android). In the GIF creator, you drag a video and edit it to your specifications. (The Google Gboard app for iOS and Android also allows you to create GIFs.)
- In Digital Art Software: Photoshop, GIMP, Sketchbook, and other well-known digital art programs all allow you to produce GIFs, but it’s a pain in the neck. If you want a lot of control over your GIF, this is a good alternative. (Remember that HTML5 movies created by services like Gifycat appear better than standard GIFs.)
Converting a GIF File
Using an online file converter makes it simple to convert a GIF file to another file format. In this technique, you can convert a few GIFs without having to download a tool.
An amazing website called FileZigZag transforms GIF files into video file formats like MP4, MOV, AVI, and 3GP as well as picture file formats like JPG, PNG, TGA, and BMP. Zamzar is an additional online GIF converter like that one.
There may be more alternatives for saving the file in a different format, such as the GIF viewers already mentioned. Given that the majority of those tools are image editors, it’s likely that you can use them to alter the GIF and save it in both video and image file formats.
The majority of converters can also convert a picture or video to the GIF format in the reverse direction.