Easily Convert YouTube Video to GIF Animations Online

Angela Randall 08-09-2011

There are often times when you wish you could turn a video into a GIF file. Maybe you want to pass a short clip around the office without getting anyone fired for looking at YouTube. Perhaps you want to create an awesome icon for an avatar. Or maybe you want to create the perfect GIF for your Tumblr. There are lots of reasons to want to try it, but most people just don’t realise how easy it is.

There are plenty of free tools you can use online to help you convert a YouTube clip to a GIF animation. It’s really very easy to do and you’ll be making plenty of your own clips in no time at all.

1. Download The YouTube Clip

There are many, many ways to download YouTube clips. Here at MakeUseOf we’ve written about our favourites time and time again, including MiniTube MiniTube - An Entirely New Way to Watch YouTube [Mac & Linux] Read More , DownThemAll and BYTubeD The 5 Best YouTube Playlist Downloaders to Grab Videos in Bulk Want to watch YouTube videos offline? These YouTube playlist downloaders let you download entire YouTube playlists quickly. Read More , KeepVid The 5 Best Tools to Download Streaming Video From Any Website If you want to download videos from websites using online tools and programs, we've rounded up the best to get the job done quickly. Read More , Kiss YouTube and V Downloader How to Download a YouTube Video to Windows Media Player Read More . You can even jump straight to step two and use Zamzar to do both steps if you like.

My current favourite YouTube downloader is Easy YouTube Video Downloader for Firefox (also known as Best Video Downloader), so I’ll talk you through the whole process using that extension.

convert video to gif

The clip I’ll grab is by Cyriak, called Cows & Cows & Cows. We’ll get the video in FLV format because it’s easy to convert to a GIF. The YouTube downloader does all of this for you, really. If you don’t like this extension or you don’t use Firefox, just try one of the many other options mentioned above. They’re all equally easy to use.

2. Convert The FLV Movie File To A GIF Animation

This is another simple process which can be done using free online tools. The easiest online tools for the job are Zamzar and GifNinja.

Both Zamzar and GifNinja actually allow you to upload your FLV movie file and convert it using their web interface. There’s no need to download any program at all. Just tell it which file to convert, and in Zamzar’s case tell it what format to convert to and which email address to send the download link to.

convert youtube to gif

In fact, you can even use Zamzar to fetch the video from YouTube directly, just by plugging in the URL. This will save you from downloading and uploading the file, but since many people have good reasons for choosing their favourite downloader, such as quality, wanting to download whole playlists at a time or wanting to keep a copy for themselves, that step has been left in.

convert youtube video to gif

Now just wait and GifNinja or Zamzar will create your GIF animation. Zamzar will email you the link to your GIF download, which normally only takes a few minutes.

More on Video Conversion

We love to convert video here at MakeUseOf, so plenty has been written on the subject before. Here’s some other ideas you might like to try in order to convert to different formats.

Tomorrow Dave will be showing you how to make GIFs using an iPhone app.

What do you use GIF animations for? What do you usually convert and why?

Related topics: Computer Animation, GIF, Online Video, Video Editor, YouTube.

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  1. hjgdguixgf
    October 18, 2011 at 10:08 am

    so I get this, but is it going to gif the entire video or can I cut out a certain part of it for the gif?

    • Angela Alcorn
      October 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

      This method will gif from the start to as far as it can. If you want a gif of a certain section, try editing the video beforehand.

  2. John
    September 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Your awesome thanks for this tip.

    • Angela Alcorn
      September 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

      You're welcome!

  3. Ron Payne
    September 9, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    WOW! Great information not to mention the great links. Have booked marked all. Thanks.

    • Angela Alcorn
      September 11, 2011 at 10:23 am

      You're welcome - thanks!