GIFs are a fun, dynamic way to express yourself on the Internet. These animated files feature a short, looping video clip — usually one that expresses an emotion. Humans are visual creatures, and if a picture is worth a thousand words, then an animated GIF is worth even more.

Because they’re such a fun, clear, and succinct way to express a feeling, GIFs are incredibly popular. That’s why ‘reaction GIFs’ are one of the most common ways to use this kind of file. GIPHY, one of the biggest GIF platforms online, has an unbelievable 500 million active users — and they send 7 billion GIFs every single day!

One common use of animated GIFs is in private or direct social messages, and they’re also popular on sites like Tumblr. However, they also work well in many types of creative content, such as blog posts, landing pages, emails and social media posts.

How to Make a GIF From a Video in 6 Steps

There are GIF files made from looping images, or even still images, but this article is all about explaining how to create GIFs from a video. We’ll break down why you should be using GIFs, what makes a GIF great, and how to make a GIF from a video yourself — even if you’re a total beginner!

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Why use GIFs instead of videos?

GIFs give you all the expressive power of a video, with a much lighter file size that won’t slow down your page’s loading time or performance.

For example, if you’re writing a blog post about managing teams, it wouldn’t make sense to embed a bunch of short videos that illustrate topics like stress, productivity, belonging, and workplace trust. But adding in a few different GIFs will work — and they’ll make your blog post a lot more fun and engaging to read!

Especially because so many readers tend to skim through written content online, GIFs are a good way to make sure the overall messages of what you’re saying come through effectively.

GIFs also tend to be funny, so they’re a good way to keep things light hearted. This is a good strategy if you’re writing about drier content, and you still want the piece to be entertaining and dynamic.

GIFs are also trendy — and they’re not going anywhere. Especially for younger audiences, like Millennials and Gen Z, they’re an integral part of communicating online, expressing emotions, referencing popular culture, and harnessing the power of video in a quick and shareable way.

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How to make a GIF from a video

There are hundreds of millions of GIFs available online that you can use to express yourself, but making your own couldn’t be easier, so there’s no reason not to get creative! Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own GIF — you won’t need fancy tools like Photoshop to do it.

There are lots of options for online tools you can use to create animated GIFs, like EZGif, Imgflip, GifMaker, and GIPHY. And of course, you can also create a GIF out of JPG or PNG images. But GIPHY is one of the most popular tools, and GIFs that use video files, like movie GIFs, are one of the most popular types.

So here, we’ll be guiding you through how to make a GIF from a video, using GIPHY.

Step 1: Prepare your video

Make a GIF from a video

A good GIF starts with a good video, so you’ll want to make sure yours fits all GIPHY’s specifications.

Your video should:

  • Be up to 15 seconds long, but ideally 6 seconds or less
  • Be up to 100MB, but ideally under 8MB
  • Have resolution up to 720p, but 480p is best
  • Be under 200 frames per second, or ideally under 100 frames per second
  • Have content that will look good and be clear on small screens

Once you have a video ready that you’re happy with, click on the ‘Create’ button in the upper right corner of GIPHY’s homepage.

Step 2: Upload your video to GIPHY

Make a GIF from a video

Next, upload your video file to GIPHY by selecting ‘Choose File’ under GIF (since that’s what you want to create).

You can also enter a YouTube link, or another URL, to use a video directly from YouTube, Vimeo, or another video-hosting site.

 GIF from a video

Next, GIPHY does most of the work for you. You’ll just need to tell the tool which section of your video you’d like to transform into a GIF, by trimming your video and selecting when you’d like the GIF to start.

Step 4: Get creative

text for a meme style

GIPHY also gives you the option to decorate your masterpiece with stickers, filters, and a few different styles of caption.

If you’re in the mood to add text for a meme-style GIF, make it sparkle with stickers, or add a filter to make the subject of your video look amazing, now’s your chance.

Optimize your GIF

You’re done! All you need to do is hit ‘Upload to GIPHY’, and your creation will start uploading and ready to join the huge and thriving online GIF ecosystem.

You’ll then be able to download it to your computer, to use it in your brand content.

BONUS! Step 6: Optimize your GIF

optimize your gif

If you want to be extra sure that your GIF will look great on every platform, optimizing it is quick and easy. We like EZGif’s free optimizer, which makes it easy to find the right balance between a small, quick-loading file size, and a good compression quality so that your GIF looks crisp and beautiful. It also lets you customize your GIF with a few other tools, such as a crop or resize function, if you need.

What makes a good GIF?

Making a GIF is easy — but how can you make an animated GIF that’s as good as it can possibly be?

Well, the best GIFs start with a great video. So make sure the video you’re starting with is good quality, fits in with all the required specs, and most importantly, actually conveys the feeling, message, or idea you need it to.

Other than their expressive powers, GIFs’ quick loading capability is their other major advantage. So make sure your GIF isn’t too big of a file size, ideally by using the GIF optimizing tool we shared above!

Once you know your GIF itself is great, it’s all about how you use it. Try using GIFs to add interest, movement, and expressiveness to your blog content, email campaigns, and landing pages. They’re also great on social media, and fun to share with your team over Slack.

Go get creative!

GIFs are the perfect way to liven up many different types of content and keep things fun, current, and relatable. There are millions of GIFs to choose from, but making your own couldn’t be easier.

With GIPHY, EZGif, and a multitude of other options, you’ll be creating amazing GIFs from you videos in no time. Get your 7-day free trial at PlayPlay, the enterprise video creation platform, and become a superstar GIF creator!