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11 Best Free Animated GIF Makers | Make GIFs from Photos/Videos

Last Updated on Nov. 11, 2022 – by David Morgan
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GIFs (graphics interchange format) are animated images for adding context or humor to online content. With the right GIF, you can make your content immediately relatable, engaging, and shareable.

While millions of GIFs are available online, you can’t use many of them without crediting the creator or seeking their permission. That’s because, like other original creative works, GIFs are subject to copyright.

Instead of jumping through hoops to use someone else’s GIFs, grab a free animated GIF maker and make your own. To help you accomplish this, we’ve reviewed the 11 best animated GIF makers with instructions on how to make GIFs using our editor’s choice. So continue reading to see which GIF creator suits you best.


Top 3 Free Animated GIF Makers Snapshot

PowerDirector Logo

1. PhotoDirector - Best Animated GIF Maker Overall

PhotoDirector is our top choice for best animated GIF maker because we found its tools to be the easiest to use to make and export files in GIF format. It also has tons of photo editing tools you can use to edit your GIFs and supports both video and photo GIF creation. Detailed Review >

Flixier Logo

2. Flixier - Best Online Tool

Flixier is an online video editor and animated GIF maker. Flixier has GIF editing tools and wide format support. Detailed Review >

Adobe Photoshop Logo

3. Adobe Photoshop - Best for Professionals

Adobe Photoshop is a professional-level photo editing software that advanced users can use to create high-quality GIFs from videos and photos. Detailed Review >

How to Choose a Free Animated GIF Maker

No two animated GIF makers are alike, so how can you choose the right one for you? We’ve listed some things to look out for when choosing a free GIF maker: 

Ease of Use - If you are a beginner, you’ll need an animated GIF maker that is easy to use and has tools that are easy to find. 

Compatibility - Make sure the free GIF maker is compatible with your device. If it is downloadable software, check that it works on your operating system and that you have the space on your computer for it to work properly. If it is web-based, see if it works on your preferred browser. 

Format Support - Some of the animated GIF makers below only support videos and won’t animate photos and vice versa. And of those, some only support specific types of video files. Check to see that your preferred formats are covered before you use the program to make GIFs. 

Features - The best animated GIF maker will provide editing tools to customize a GIF to fit your exact needs.

11 Best Free Animated GIF Makers | Make GIFs from Photos/Videos

1. PhotoDirector - Best Animated GIF Maker Overall

PhotoDirector Interface - GIF Maker

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

TechRadar Rating: 5/5

GIF Creation Tools: 5/5

Price: Free
*Premium subscription available for $3.33/month

Key Features:
  1. Motion Stills™ tool
  2. 4 Million+ royalty-free stock images
  3. Hundreds of stickers, overlays, and filters

Who It’s For

PhotoDirector is a powerful and easy-to-use photo editing tool for beginners and seasoned pros to create viral animated GIFs quickly. It’s a favorite animated GIF maker among creators because it is easy to use, free to download, and has tools to make GIFs from any video or image file.

Why We Picked It 

Whether you have a Windows or Mac system, you can use PhotoDirector to capture any moment in a video and convert it into an eye-catching GIF. You can do this by using this free GIF maker’s Video-to-Photo Tool. Alternatively, you can use the Multi-Exposure feature to capture and compress a video sequence into a single frame. PhotoDirector also has excellent text tools that are fully customizable. 

Bottom Line

Why settle for an animated GIF maker that can only make GIFS? With PhotoDirector you get fully functional photo editing software, slideshow maker, thumbnail maker, graphic design tool, and animated GIF maker all in one. Versatility, unique video-to-photo tools, and photo animation features make PhotoDirector the best animated GIF maker on this list. 

Pros
  • Quick and user-friendly software
  • Option to create GIFs from videos or photos
  • Superb editing tools for adding effects and text to GIFs
  • Works online or offline
Cons
  • Stock library only available with subscription

With PowerDirector, the only limit to your GIF creation possibilities is your imagination. Download the best animated GIF maker by clicking the link below and see for yourself.


2. Flixier - Best Online Tool

Flixier Interface

Compatibility: Web Browser

G2 Rating: 4.7/5

GIF Creation Tools: 5/5

Price: Free
*Premium subscriptions available for $14/month for Creator and $30/month for Business

Key Features: 

  1. Google Photos integration 
  2. 2000+ fonts
  3. Add logos and watermarks to GIFs

Who It’s For

Flixier is a free GIF maker for anyone who prefers to make GIFs online, without downloading software. Out of the many online options, we think Flixier is the best because it is easy to use for those with no experience, but it is also a full video editor. More experienced users can add their GIFs to the editing timeline and make further adjustments, such as adding filters and video effects.

Why We Picked It 

With this animated GIF maker, you can make GIFs from videos or a combination of photos. You can drag and drop files from your computer, paste a link from YouTube, or import directly from Twitch. Flixier is also compatible with all image and video formats and comes with a library of customizable text animations, including text to Like, Share, & Subscribe. 

Bottom Line

Just like our top choice, PhotoDirector, Flixier has all the tools you need to make GIFs quickly from videos or photos and has added tools for further editing. However, being an online tool, the program is sometimes buggy, and it can’t be used without an internet connection. Also, our research indicated they have poor customer service. For these reasons, it is #2 on our list of the best animated GIF makers. 

Pros
  • Updated regularly
  • Make GIFs from videos and photos
Cons
  • Bad customer support
  • Can’t use it offline

3. Adobe Photoshop - Best for Professionals

PhotoScape Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

G2 Rating: 4.6/5

GIF Creation Tools: 5/5

Price: 7-Day free trial, then $20.99/month

Key Features: 

  1. Colorize black-and-white images
  2. Object remover with content-aware fill
  3. Layer masks

Who It’s For

Photoshop is one of the most popular photo editing software programs. Still, most people don’t know it’s also an effective way to make GIFs. We think this is one of the best animated GIF makers for professional photo editors since they would get so much more out of the tool than just creating GIFs. It’s also likely that photo editors/photographers already own Photoshop and know how to use it. 

Why We Picked It 

With this animated GIF maker, you can make GIFs from a series of photos or import a video and convert the video frames to layers. You can also use Photoshop’s drawing tools to create cartoon animations and turn them into GIFs. When you are done, you can adjust the playback speed and choose your preferred looping option.

Bottom Line

We think any professional photo editors would find all the tools they need in Photoshop. However, it would be a ridiculous choice for casual users who just need a free GIF maker. Photoshop has a steep learning curve and is expensive. While PhotoDirector has a free version and a 30-day free trial of all its advanced features, Photoshop doesn’t offer a free version and the free trial is a quick 7 days. 

Pros
  • Works online and offline
  • Features several GIF editing options
  • Professional-Grade software
Cons
  • Short free trial and expensive
  • Steep learning curve
  • High system requirements

4. PhotoScape X - Best for Photo Editors on a Budget

PhotoScape Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

TechRadar Rating: 4.5/5

GIF Creation Tools: 4.5/5

Price: Free
*Premium version available for $39.99

Key Features: 

  1. Photo viewer
  2. Batch edit
  3. Collage maker

Who It’s For

Photoscape X is a photo editing software and animated GIF maker.  It has plenty of free tools to edit your photos before turning them into GIFs, such as frames, filters, photo effects, brushes, and objects such as stickers and graphic design elements. 

Why We Picked It 

After editing and saving the images for your GIF, you can create the GIF by clicking on the Animated GIF tab. The process is quick, and you can make playback speed adjustments or add effects to bring your GIF vision to life. A unique feature is the transition effects you can put between the loops, such as sliding to the right/left, sliding up/down, zooming, and dissolving. 

Bottom Line

PhotoScape X is another animated GIF maker with robust features. However, it has slow processing and exporting. And unlike our top 3 choices, it does not support videos, only combining photos into GIFs. 

Pros
  • Straightforward interface
  • Free GIF maker
Cons
  • Slow
  • Does not support videos

5. Kapwing - Best for Influencers

Kapwing Interface

Compatibility: Web browser

Trustpilot Rating: 4.4/5

GIF Creation Tools: 4.5/5

Price: Free
*Premium subscription available for $16/month

Key Features: 

  1. Collaboration features
  2. Green screen effects
  3. Background remover

Who It’s For

Kapwing is an online video editor and animated GIF maker. Busy influencers and content creators can quickly make GIFs from a series of images, a video, or even just text, then share to Instagram, Discord, Twitter, and Reddit. You can also make GIFs from YouTube by pasting the video links into the platform. Kapwing also comes with thousands of templates for any type of social media post. 

Why We Picked It 

This animated GIF maker has lots of tools you can use to edit your GIFs, such as speed adjustment, text, transitions, animations, and filters. With Kapwing’s instant resize tool, you can quickly share your completed GIF on multiple platforms. 

Bottom Line

Kapwing is an easy animated GIF maker, perfect for influencers to quickly create content for social media. However, Kapwing’s free version has a lot more limits than Photoscape’s and many users have commented on their terrible customer service. 

Pros
  • Templates for every popular platform
  • Easy to use free GIF maker
Cons
  • Terrible customer service
  • Limiting free version

6. GIF Brewery - Best for Custom Videos

GIF Brewery Interface

Image from gfycat.

Compatibility: Mac

Apple Store Rating: 4.1/5

GIF Creation Tools: 4.5/5

Price: Free

Key Features: 

  1. Direct upload to Gfycat
  2. Saved Frames section for frame management
  3. Filters

Who It’s For

GIF Brewery is a free GIF maker for Mac for anyone who likes to record videos specifically to use as GIFs. With this animated GIF maker, you can record your screen, or record from a webcam or iOS device directly from the software. 

Why We Picked It 

Edit your video into a GIF by manually choosing frames, or choosing the automatic option. With this animated GIF maker, you can edit your GIFs in a variety of ways. Resize and crop, or add captions and overlays.

Bottom Line

GIF Brewery by Gfycat is an all-in-one free GIF maker where users can easily record, create, and edit GIFs with no prior experience. It has every tool you need to make GIFs, but nothing beyond. If you are someone who cranks out multiple GIFs every week, this is a good tool to use. However, if you only occasionally make GIFs, and would like a multipurpose program for photo or video editing, try one of the top 5 choices on our list. 

Pros
  • Completely free
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Can only make GIFs from videos
  • No tools for photo or video editing

7. Canva - Best for Templates

Canva Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Web Browser

PCMag Rating: 4.5/5

GIF Creation Tools: 4/5

Price: Free
*Premium version available for $119.99/year

Key Features: 

  1. Background remover
  2. Animate any element
  3. Meme maker

Who It’s For

Canva is an animated GIF maker for graphic designers or content creators. It comes with an extensive library of easily searchable templates sized for every possible platform. Users can create GIFs from scratch, or use a template to quickly add themed elements, colors, and text in one go.  

Why We Picked It 

Canva can make GIFs from images or videos and is packed with stock assets you can use to add some personality to your GIFs. Browse stickers, embellishments, frames, filters, animated graphics, illustrations and so much more. Canva also has stock video clips and images you can use to make GIFs. 

Bottom Line

Canva is beginner-friendly and filled with free assets for GIF creation. It’s an excellent tool for graphic design projects, but might be a little overwhelming if all you need is a free GIF maker. Also, its video and photo editing tools are lacking compared to other options on our list. 

Pros
  • Tons of stock images and videos available in the free version
  • Pre-Made templates for quick GIF creation
Cons
  • Can't resize templates in the free version
  • Can’t back up your projects
  • Low output formats

8. MakeAGif - Best for GIF Management

MakeAGif Interface

Compatibility: Web Browser

MyWOT Rating: 4.6/5

GIF Creation Tools: 3.5/5

Price: Free

Key Features: 

  1. GIF to MP4 converter
  2. Animated flipbook creator
  3. Video reversal tool

Who It’s For

MakeAGif is an online animated GIF maker where users can create custom GIFs or upload pre-made GIFs and store them in a free online account. It is also a GIF hosting site where you can browse other users’ GIFs for inspiration. 

Why We Picked It 

With MakeAGif, you can import YouTube and Facebook URLs, webcam footage, videos, and photos to turn into GIFs. You can also add custom captions, crop, and rotate your GIFs. 

Bottom Line

MakeAGif will create a GIF from any format and allow you to store your custom GIFs right on the site. It will quickly create a GIF and add custom text, but it has very few tools for editing your GIFs. One annoying aspect is that you can’t preview your custom text before adding it to your GIF. To make customizable GIFs with design assets and effects, we recommend PhotoDirector. 

Pros
  • Accepts videos, photos, webcam footage, and URLs
  • Quick and easy to use
Cons
  • Few editing and design tools
  • Can’t preview custom texts

9. GIPHY - Best for GIF Slideshows

GIPHY Interface

Compatibility: Web browser

Trustpilot Rating: 3.2/5

GIF Creation Tools: 4.5/5

Price: Free

Key Features: 

  1. Sticker maker
  2. Zoom backdrop creator
  3. Animated text stickers

Who It’s For

GIPHY is a popular site used for finding and sharing GIFs, but it can also be used to make custom GIFs. GIPHY is unique because it also allows users to make animated GIF slideshows, GIF presentations, and GIF mashups. 

Why We Picked It 

GIPHY supports a wide range of URLs from popular sites, as well as creating GIFs from videos and photos. Choose your GIF’s duration and speed, and add custom text. You can also decorate your GIF with effects, filters, and stickers. 

Bottom Line

With GIPHY, you can quickly make GIFs from a variety of sources. GIPHY is very similar to MakeAGif, however, it has even fewer editing tools, and lacks a crop tool. For a better supply of basic editing features, we recommend PhotoDirector. 

Pros
  • Excellent supply of GIFs to browse
  • Accepts all input formats
Cons
  • Light on features
  • No crop tool

10. ezGIF.com - Best Simple Tool

ezGIF.com Interface

Compatibility: Web Browser

AlternativeTo Rating: 4.7/5

GIF Creation Tools: 3/5

Price: Free

Key Features: 

  1. GIF compressor
  2. Color converter
  3. Background remover

Who It’s For

ezGIF.com is a quick and simple way for beginners to make GIFs out of videos. It has a good amount of features for GIF creation without any extraneous features. Resize, crop, reverse, optimize, and add effects to your newly created GIFs with this free GIF maker. 

Why We Picked It 

With this animated GIF maker you can flip your image vertically or horizontally, change the loop count, add a fade-in/fade-out effect, round corners, and add borders or frames. You can sharpen and blur images and apply popular Instagram filters to your GIFs. 

Bottom Line

With ezGIF.com you get everything you need, and nothing you don’t. If you are looking for a simple and entirely free GIF maker, then this tool is for you. If you are a content creator that posts more than just GIFs, we recommend a fully-featured photo editor such as PhotoDirector.  

Pros
  • Simple and free tool
  • All the features you need
Cons
  • Outdated interface
  • Can’t make GIFs from photos

11. Gifs.com - Best for Businesses

Gifs.com Interface

Image from Gifs.com

Compatibility: Web browser

Trustpilot Rating: 2.3/5

GIF Creation Tools: 4.5/5

Price: Free
*Premium subscriptions available for $1.99/month for 2 GIFs, $5.99/month for 11 GIFs, $10.99/month for 28 GIFs, $19.99/month for 58 GIFs, $39.99/month for 108 GIFs, and $59.99/month for Unlimited

Key Features: 

  1. Captions
  2. Sticker creator
  3. One-Click memes

Who It’s For

Gifs.com is a Gif-making machine for businesses and brands that crank out tons of GIFs every month. It is quick and easy to use and stores your GIFs on the site. It is used by big names such as Google and Netflix. 

Why We Picked It 

Import a video or paste a URL to get started. Then add captions, stickers, and padding. You can also crop, blur, and adjust the colors of your GIF. Gifs.com has an attractive user interface and accommodates GIFs up to 15 seconds. 

Bottom Line

Gifs.com has free and paid versions, but the free version will leave watermarks on your GIFs. The free version also places ads on embedded GIFs and offers no premium effects. One of the reasons we like this tool for businesses and not individuals, is because the monthly cost for premium can get expensive.

Pros
  • Fast animated GIF maker
  • User-Friendly interface
Cons
  • Can’t convert images into GIFs
  • Free version has a watermark and ads

Best Free Animated GIF Maker Comparison Chart

Software OS Beginner-friendly Video to Animated GIF Photo to Animated GIF Photo Animation Built-in Stock Library Free Download
PhotoDirector Windows, Mac Yes Yes Yes Yes 4,000,000+ royalty-free photos and music tracks
Free Download
Secure Download
Flixier Web Browser Yes Yes Yes No Videos only Download
Adobe Photoshop Windows, Mac No Yes Yes Yes Yes, but costs extra Download
Photoscape X Windows, Mac Yes No Yes No No Download
Kapwing Web Browser Yes Yes Yes No Videos, photos, music, and sound effects Download
GIF Brewery Mac Yes Yes No No No Download
Canva Windows, Mac, Web Browser Yes Yes Yes Yes Videos, photos, and music tracks Download
MakeAGif Web Browser Yes Yes Yes No No Download
GIPHY Web Browser Yes Yes Yes No No Download
ezGIF.com Web Browser Yes Yes No No No Download
Gifs.com Web Browser Yes Yes No No No Download

PhotoDirector vs

OS

Windows, Mac

-

Beginner-friendly

Yes

-

Video to Animated GIF

Yes

-

Photo to Animated GIF

Yes

-

Photo Animation

Yes

-

Built-in Stock Library

4,000,000+ royalty-free photos and music tracks

-

How to Make a GIF From a Video

The exact process for making a GIF from a video depends on the GIF maker. The best software for the job should be quick and easy to use. Since PhotoDirector fits this description, here’s how to use it to make a GIF from a video. 

Download PhotoDirector by clicking the link below then follow along.

  1. Launch PhotoDirector and choose Full Mode.
  2. PhotoDirector App - Live Mode to Animate Photo
  3. Under the Project tab, choose Import from the bottom menu. Click Video-to-Photo.
  4. PhotoDirector App - Live Mode to Animate Photo
  5. Choose the video you want and click Open.
  6. The Video-to-Photo menu will pop up. Click the box that says Create Animated GIF File.
  7. PhotoDirector App - Live Mode to Animate Photo

    You can also drag and drop a video into the PhotoDirector library to bring up the Video-to-Photo menu.

  8. Capture the frames or scenes you want to turn into a GIF. You can capture frames automatically or manually.
  9. To capture automatically, click the Auto button from the bottom right and enter the number of frames you want to capture. You will be given the current frame rate and the number of total frames in your video as guidance. 

    To capture manually, scrub through the footage with the slider, then click the Camera icon in the bottom right to capture the still image. Continue capturing frames until you have what you need. 

  10. After capturing the relevant frames, click on Go to Library to import the captured frames into your PhotoDirector Library.
  11. The Animated GIF menu will automatically open with your selected frames. Here you can add text and adjust the video speed by tweaking the frames per second (we recommend 15-24 frames per second for optimal clarity and file size).
  12. Note that selecting a high frame rate will lead to a smoother and better-looking GIF animation. However, it will also lead to a sizable GIF.

  13. Click the Play button along the bottom of the Preview Window at any time to preview your GIF. When you are happy with your GIF, click Save As

For more information on how to make GIFs with PhotoDirector, click here

How to Make a GIF From a Photo

Here’s how to make GIFs from photos with PhotoDirector:

  1. Launch PhotoDirector and choose Full Mode.
  2. Under the Project tab, choose Import from the bottom menu. Click Photos to use a photo from your computer, or choose Stock Photos to use one of PhotoDirector’s royalty-free images. 
  3. After importing the image, click on the Guided button at the bottom of your screen, open Animation Effects, and then Photo Animation
  4. PhotoDirector - Photo Animation
  5. Click and drag motion arrows to animate elements within the image. You can use straight lines (Motion Arrow) or curved ones (Curve Motion Arrow). 
  6. Press the Play button at the bottom of the image to view the animation effect. Open the Anchor Points tab, which has the pushpin icon. Insert anchor points to stop specific areas from animating.
  7. PhotoDirector - Add Anchor Points to Animation
  8. Click the Freeze tool — the tab with the snowflake icon. Adjust the size of the brush and use it to mask the parts of the image where you don’t want motion.
  9. PhotoDirector - Freeze Area from Animation
  10. Adjust the control slider for Speed to set how fast you want the GIF to play. 
  11. If you are happy with your work, click the Produce button in the bottom left corner of the screen. Select GIF and set your Image Size. After making the needed adjustments, produce the GIF and share it with your friends.
PhotoDirector - Motion Animation

For more information on how to animate photos with PhotoDirector, click here

Download the Best Animated GIF Maker for Free

PhotoDirector stands out as the best animated GIF maker of all the free GIF makers we reviewed. It’s affordable, versatile, and works regardless of whether you are online or offline. In addition, you’ll get access to over 4 million royalty-free images, so you can easily find stock for creating GIFs and not worry about copyright infringement.

Since the software is user-friendly, both amateur and professional content creators can use it without trouble. Also, PhotoDirector features various GIF editor tools that you can use to make GIFs as unique and attractive as you want. 

Download PhotoDirector for free by clicking the link below and experience its top-notch GIF creation capabilities.

Free Animated GIF Maker FAQ

1. What Is an Animated GIF?

Unlike a regular image, an animated GIF is not static. Instead, each GIF contains multiple images or frames combined in a specific sequence to create a moving image. Most people use GIFs to elaborate on a point or add humor to their online messaging.

2. What Features Should I Look For in a GIF Maker?

Features to look for in an animated GIF maker:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Universal format support
  3. Video to GIF conversion
  4. Photo to GIF conversion
  5. Text tools for GIFs
  6. Animation features for creating GIFs
  7. Direct upload to social media

If you are looking for an animated GIF maker that checks all these boxes, we recommend PhotoDirector.

3. How Do I Make a GIF From a YouTube Video?

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easy with PhotoDirector. You can do it by downloading the video from YouTube with an online downloader. You then import the downloaded video into PhotoDirector and use the Video-to-Photo tool to turn scenes into a GIF.

4. Can I Convert a GIF to a Video?

If you would like to convert a GIF to a video you can with PowerDirector. Check out our article for a step-by-step how-to.

5. What Is the Best Frame Rate for a GIF?

A GIF should have a frame rate between 15 and 24 frames per second for optimal clarity. The GIF won't flow smoothly if it's under 15 frames per second. On the other hand, the GIF will be unnecessarily big if the frame rate is too high.

6. What Is the Best Aspect Ratio for a GIF?

The ideal aspect ratio for a GIF is 1200 pixels wide and 600 pixels high (2:1 aspect ratio). However, if the target audience is mobile users, aim for 1200 pixels wide and 675 pixels high (16:9 aspect ratio).

7. How Do I Make My Own Animated GIFs?

You can make your own animated GIFs using PhotoDirector. See above for a step-by-step guide for making GIFS from videos and photos.

8. How Do I Make an Animated GIF Free?

You can make an animated GIF for free using PhotoDirector. All of PhotoDirector’s tools are free for 30 days.

9. What Is the Best GIF Maker?

The best way to make GIFs is with PhotoDirector. This animated GIF maker comes with over 4 million royalty-free stock images you can animate. It has tools for turning both videos and photos into GIFs, as well as several photo animation tools and speed adjustments to get your GIFs just the way you want them.

10. How Do I Convert a PNG to an Animated GIF?

Import your PNG files into PhotoDirector just like any image and follow the instructions above for turning photos into GIFs.

11. How Long Can a GIF Last?

Most GIF websites will not accept GIFs over 15 seconds but we highly recommend GIFs are kept to 6 seconds.

12. How Do I Create a GIF Image?

You can create a GIF image either by animating a static image, importing multiple images, or using a Live photo from your iPhone/burst shot on Android.

13. How Do I Make Multiple Pictures Into a GIF?

PhotoDirector will let you turn multiple photos into an animated GIF. Simply import your photos into PhotoDirector, click Create, then Animated GIF. You can add as many photos as you need into the photo viewer window.

14. What File Size Should a GIF Be?

8MB or less is optimal for GIFs. You don’t want to destroy someone else’s phone storage every time you text a GIF. GIFs can also be kept to 480p. Since they are so small and quick, the resolution and quality don’t matter as much as they would with other images or videos.

15. Why Do GIFs Lose Quality?

Each time a GIF is shared, saved, and re-uploaded, the video gets compressed, making it look worse each time.

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