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5 Best GIF Makers (How to Make a GIF)

Last Updated on Apr. 15, 2022 – by David Morgan
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How to Make a GIF

Would you like to create GIFs that become internet sensations and are the go-to choice for boosting the engagement of online messages? If so, check out the following review of the top five GIF makers.

Best GIF Creators

GIFs are animated images for adding context or humor to online content. With the right GIF (graphics interchange format), you can make your online messaging immediately relatable, engaging, and shareable.

Where can you find the best GIFs for your content?

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 GIF maker and make your own. To help you accomplish this, we’ve created a review of the five best GIF makers and instructions on making a GIF.

If you want to start making GIFs right away, download our top pick, PhotoDirector. You can turn photos and videos into GIFs within minutes without prior editing experience. 


5 Best Animated GIF Makers on Windows and Mac

1. PhotoDirector - Best Overall GIF Maker

PhotoDirector Interface - GIF Maker

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 10/10

GIF Creation: 10/10

PhotoDirector is a powerful photo editing tool that can create animated GIFs. It’s a favorite among GIF creators because it is easy to use and free to download.

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 PhotoDirector’s Video-to-Photo Tool to turn a video into an animated GIF. Alternatively, you can use the Multi-Exposure feature to capture and compress a video sequence into a single frame.

PhotoDirector also features photo animation tools for turning photographs into animated GIFs. In short, with PhotoDirector, the only limit to your GIF creation possibilities is your imagination.

Pros
  • Quick and user-friendly software
  • Millions of stock images for GIF creation
  • Option to create GIFs from videos or photos
  • Superb editing tools for adding effects to GIFs


2. Adobe Photoshop - Best Professional GIF Creator

PhotoShop Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 9/10

GIF Creation: 9/10

Photoshop is one of the most popular photo editing software programs. Still, most people don’t know it’s also an effective GIF creator. However, compared to PhotoDirector, Photoshop is expensive, and its interface can be hard to master. Also, since Photoshop uses lots of RAM space, launching the software or exporting a finished GIF can be pretty slow.

If you can overlook these shortcomings, you will appreciate the variety of options that Adobe Photoshop offers for animated GIF creation. For example, you can create GIFs from videos or images, select the playback speed, and choose your preferred looping option. You can also preview your newly created GIF before saving it.

Pros
  • Works online and offline
  • Features several GIF editing options
  • Professional-grade software

3. PhotoScape - Best Basic Tool for Making GIFs

PhotoScape Interface

Compatibility: Windows, Mac

Overall Rating: 8/10

GIF Creation: 9/10

PhotoScape is another GIF creator with robust features. However, it has the same problems as Photoshop, such as slow processing and exporting. On the upside, PhotoScape is free to use and offers several GIF creator tools.

For example, before turning your images into an animated GIF, you can add special effects and different text fonts and colors. 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.

Pros
  • Straightforward interface
  • Free tool

4. Gifmaker.me - Best Online GIF Maker

Gifmaker.me Interface

Compatibility: Web brower

Overall Rating: 8/10

GIF Creation: 8/10

If you don’t have enough space to install a GIF maker on your computer, use Gifmaker.me. The free online GIF maker is available via its website and accessible via any device. You can choose to upload videos or images to turn into GIFs on the website. You can also set the animation speed, canvas size, and repeat times.

While Gifmaker.me is convenient and user-friendly, it offers only a few editing tools.  For example, you can’t crop or merge images, much less add special effects.

Pros
  • Free GIF maker
  • Fast processing
  • GIFs and video animations

5. Gifs.com - Best for Short GIFs

Gifs.com Interface

Image from Gifs.com

Compatibility: Web browser

Overall Rating: 7/10

GIF Creation: 8/10

Like Gifmaker.me, Gifs.com is an online GIF maker. It offers GIF creation tools and an attractive user interface. Free and paid versions of the tool are available, but the free version will leave watermarks on your GIFs. The free version also places ads on embedded GIFs and offers no premium effects.

If you want better image quality and the option to resize or compress GIF files, opt for the paid version. However, note that Gifs.com can convert only videos (no images) into GIFs. You can import the video you want to convert by uploading the video file to the site or entering the web link to the video.

Pros
  • Fast animated GIF creator
  • 15-second GIFs
  • Stickers, padding, captions, and other special effect options

Best Animated GIF Comparison Chart

Software PhotoDirector 365 Photoshop PhotoScape gifmaker.me gifs.com
Beginner-friendly Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Video to Animated GIF Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Photo to Animated GIF Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Photo Animation Yes Yes Yes No No
Built-in Stock Library 4,000,000+ royalty-free photos and music tracks Yes, but cost extra No No No
Free Download
Free Download
Secure Download
Download Download Download Download

PhotoDirector 365 vs

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.

1. Launch PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector App - Live Mode to Animate Photo

Open PhotoDirector on your computer and navigate to File. Under File, click on Import, then Video-to-Photo. After clicking on Video-to-Photo, select the option to Create Animated GIF File. Another way to launch the Video-to-Photo tool is by dragging and dropping your video file into the PhotoDirector Library.

2. Select Frames

PhotoDirector App - Live Mode to Animate Photo

After selecting and opening the videos for your GIF, you need to capture the frames or scenes you want to turn into a GIF. Do this by navigating to the target frame and clicking the camera icon at the bottom of the screen. 

Alternatively, click on the Auto icon beside the camera icon to turn on Auto Capture.

If you choose Auto Capture, you have to specify how many frames you want PhotoDirector to capture. Then, after capturing the relevant frames, click on Go to Library to import the captured frames into your PhotoDirector Library.

3. Create the GIF

PhotoDirector App - Live Mode to Animate Photo

Next, set how fast you want the GIF to play. You can adjust the GIF’s playback speed by picking your Frames Per Second Value in the options on the right side of your screen, where you will also find options for adding text to your animated GIF.

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.

4. Export

Preview your work and make any necessary adjustments. Then, when you are happy with the GIF, click Save to export the GIF file to your preferred location.

How to Make a GIF From a Photo

If you want to make a GIF from a photo, here’s how to do it with PhotoDirector:

1. Launch the Software

Open PhotoDirector and import the image you want to turn into a GIF. You can import the image from your files or use one of PhotoDirector’s royalty-free images.

2. Animate the Image

PhotoDirector - Photo Animation

After importing the image, click on the Guided button at the bottom of your screen—open Animation Effects and then Photo Animation

Now, click and drag motion arrows to animate elements within the image.

3. Add Anchor Points

PhotoDirector - Add Anchor Points to Animation

Press the play button at the bottom of the image to view the animation effect. Next, open the Anchor Points tab, which has the pushpin icon. Insert anchor points to stop the specific areas from animating.

4. Use the Freeze Tool

PhotoDirector - Freeze Area from Animation

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.

5. Select Playback Speed

Adjust the control slider for Speed to set how fast you want the GIF to play. If you are happy with your work, click the Produce button in the bottom left corner of the screen. 

Next, select GIF and set your Image Size. After making the needed adjustments, produce the GIF and share it with your friends.

PhotoDirector - Motion Animation

Best GIF Maker Free Download

PhotoDirector stands out as the best GIF maker of all the GIF creators we have 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 your GIF as unique and attractive as you want. 

Download PhotoDirector for free to experience its top-notch GIF creation capabilities.

Animated GIF Maker FAQs

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?

Before choosing a GIF maker, we recommend verifying that it is easy to use and compatible with your computer. The GIF maker should also be able to convert any source file into a GIF.

For example, software that can convert only images to GIFs will be useless to users who want to make a GIF out of a video.

Lastly, the best GIF maker will provide editing tools to customize a GIF to fit your needs.

Features to look for in a 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

All of these features and a lot more can be found in 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).

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