For some reason, animated GIFs have become all the rage. At first, I couldn’t understand what was so appealing about these silent video wannabes. Later on, I gave in a little and admitted that while they’re not very useful, GIF animations are sure fun to make with a webcam. Only lately, after receiving some really nice GIF animations of my cats made by a friend, did I realize that animated GIFs don’t have to be silly. They can actually be extremely cool.
There are several ways to make animated GIFs: You can use a bunch of pictures you took and combine them, you can create one on the go using a webcam, and you can take an existing video and turn it into an animated GIF. Most of the tools you’ll find below are meant for the first method. Turns out that by using a series of pictures you’ve taken yourself, or just some pictures you like, you can actually create some really beautiful things!
Note that none of these websites is going to win a design award – animated GIF tools are perhaps not the most lucrative business – but they work!
MakeAGif is a simple yet customizable way to make animated GIFs. You can upload a large number of pictures and choose the order you want them to appear. As for customizing, you can change the delay between pictures, and even set your own specific delay, resize pictures, and post them to one the available albums. You can also make your animated GIF private, if you don’t want it appearing in the gallery.
You can easily download, share and embed your GIF after it’s ready. The only thing missing is an easy way to go back and change something without having to re-upload all the images and start from scratch. Create a free account for more options.
ImgFlip provides several entertaining tools, such as a meme creator, a pie-chart creator, and, of course, an GIF animation creator for videos or photos. The upload is super quick, and the interface is a just a bit more modern than most of these tools, with a nice preview and bars you can move around to adjust delay, size and quality.
Don’t get confused by these bars, though, you can actually type in numbers that go higher and lower than the bars can reach. You can a short link for the final product, and that’s about it. You can right click and save as if you want to download the GIF.
While adding images to GifPal is just a bit tedious (why does each and every GIF tool have a tedious part?), the rest of the interface is pretty inspiring. For an animated GIF maker, anyway. You can use GifPal with your webcam, or upload already existing images. If you choose the second option, you’ll have to upload all your photos into GifPal, and then select them one by one, and add them to the animated GIF on the left.
You can immediately view a preview when adding more images, control the delay and quality, and even draw and write on your GIF.
Gickr is another very simple way to create animated GIFs, which works with your own images, a YouTube video or images from Flickr. Unfortunately, you need to add your images one at a time, which is a bit of a hassle, but other than that, all that remains is to choose your size and speed (from the presets or custom), and you’re on your way.
The final product comes with a download link and. There are no progress bars while the images are being uploaded, so you basically have to sit there and wait…
Before I even start, let me say this. Make-Animation has one of the worst interfaces I’ve seen in quite a while. Why did I include it, then? Because it’s actually a pretty good GIF maker. Only goes to show you that the old saying about judging by the cover is sometimes true. If you can get over the jumbled interface, find drag your photos into the green rectangle, and wait for them to upload (woot for separate progress bars!).
You can then play around with some interesting options such as fit mode and round corners, which sometimes have an effect and sometimes don’t, and create your masterpiece, which you can then download. The killer feature: you can go back and edit!
Last but not least is GifUp. GifUp has the most annoying upload method, but is worth mentioning for offering some interesting options. You can use GifUp to create animated GIFs from a webcam. Flickr, a website or from your own images. For the last option, you need to upload the images one by one, wait for each to finish uploading before you can choose the next one.
Once they’re all there, though, you can edit each frame separately, add image effects, flip, crop add text and more. You can also clone an image with a single click. When your GIF is ready, you can easily share it, embed it or download it.
So Where’s The Final Product?
After creating six animated gifts from the same images, I decided to share with you the one I made using Make-Animation. I just liked the tacky round corners.
So that’s me, climbing the stairs to Canada’s parliament building in Ottawa.
Want more? There’s plenty. Check out:
- How to Make an Animated GIF Image with GIMP
- A Quick Photoshop CS5 Tutorial To Create Animated GIFs
- GifBoom: Create Animated GIFs Quickly With Your [iPhone & Android]
- Easily Convert YouTube Video To GIF Animations Online
Now that you know about these easy-to-use services, it’s your turn to have an animated GIF party! Feel free to share your results in the comments, as well as other similar services you think I missed.
Image credit: film countdown image via Shutterstock