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9 Best GIF Makers (How to Make a GIF)

Last Updated on Nov. 25, 2021 – by David Morgan
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How to Make a GIF

Would you like to create GIFs that become internet sensations and the go-to choice for boosting the engagement of online messages? If so, check out the following review of the top nine 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 GIFs. To help you accomplish this, we’ve created a review of the nine best GIF makers and instructions on how to make a GIF. Let’s start with the top GIF maker tools for computers.

3 Best Animated GIF Makers on Windows and Mac

1. PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector Interface

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 convert a video turning it 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
  • Affordability
  • Millions of stock images for GIF creation
  • Ideal tool for new and advanced users
  • Option to create GIFs from videos or photos
  • Superb editing tools for adding effects to GIFs

2. Photoshop

PhotoShop Interface

Photoshop stands out as one of the most popular photo editing software programs, but 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 GIFcan be quite slow.

If you can overlook these shortcomings, you will appreciate the variety of options that Adobe Photoshop offers for animated GIF creation. 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
  • Works on Mac and Windows computers

3. PhotoScape

PhotoScape Interface

PhotoScape is another GIF creator with robust features. However, it has some of 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
  • Compatibility with Mac and Windows computers

3 Best Animated GIF Makers on iPhone and Android

1. PhotoDirector

PhotoDirector Interface

The mobile version of PhotoDirector is just as robust and user-friendly as its PC version. For instance, on the PhotoDirector mobile app, you can still access over 4 million royalty-free pictures for creating GIF images.

The app’s photo animation tool allows you to animate photos with various AI-powered effects. You can add animated sky replacements to enhance the sky or use animated decorations and overlay to add movement and emotion to your GIFs.

You can also use the GIF editor to perform basic edits like merging and cropping images. After creating the perfect GIF, you can save it on your device or share your art on social media. Whether you opt for the free or paid version of PhotoDirector, it is hands-down the best GIF maker with several valuable features.

Pros:

  • Compatibility with Android and iOS devices
  • AI-powered special effects for the best GIFs
  • Simple drag and drop interface
  • Unlimited updates

2. ImgPlay – GIF Maker

ImgPlay - GIF Maker Interface

ImgPlay GIF Maker is an Android and iOS app that offers a huge library of static and animated stickers, filters, and other effects for creating attention-grabbing GIFs. The app allows you to turn videos, stills, bursts, and live photos into animated GIFs. You can also take advantage of the app’s pen drawing feature to customize GIFs with your signature or other designs.

The ImgPlay app is easy to understand and free to use. However, the free version leaves watermarks on created GIFs. You can opt for the paid version, but many less costly competitor GIF editor tools offer better features. For these reasons, only go for ImgPlay if all you need is a mobile GIF maker with the most basic features.

Pros:

  • Offers a free version
  • Is beginner-friendly
  • Turns videos or images into animated GIFs

3. GIF Toaster

GIF Toaster Interface

GIF Toaster is another free, user-friendly GIF maker app. You can crop GIFs and save your finished work with your preferred file size. The app’s simplicity makes it a good fit for non-tech-savvy individuals who need to create only the most basic GIFs.

Pros:

  • Requires minimal storage space
  • Offers compatibility with iOS and Android
  • Converts images and videos to animated GIFs

3 Best Animated GIF Makers Online

1. Gifmaker.me

If you don’t have enough space to install a GIF maker on your computer or mobile device, use Gifmaker.me. The free online GIF maker is available via its website and accessible via any device. On the website, you can choose to upload videos or images to turn into GIFs. 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. You can’t crop or merge images, much less add special effects.

Pros:

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

2. Gifs.com

Like Gifmaker.me, Gifs.com is an online GIF maker, but it offers more GIF creation tools and a more 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

3. GIPHY

GIPHY is probably the most popular online GIF maker. At the site, you can find millions of GIFs that you can tweak and make your own. Alternatively, you can upload your video or image to create your own GIF. You can even import videos from YouTube or Vimeo and grab the scene you need for a GIF.

The tool also allows you to add filters, stickers, captions, and other effects to GIFs before saving or sharing them online. You can access GIPHY from any computer or mobile device, and the online tool is free to use. However, you can’t use GIPHY to create GIFs without first creating an account.

Pros:

  • No watermarks
  • Hassle-free saving and sharing functionality

Best Animated GIF Comparison Chart

Comparison of PhotoDirector to other Products - GIF Makers
Product
Beginner-friendly

Video to Animated GIF Photo to Animated GIF Photo Animation Built-in Stock Library
PhotoDirector 365
Yes Yes Yes Yes 4,000,000+ royalty-free photos and music tracks
PhotoDirector Mobile
Yes No Yes Yes 4,000,000+ royalty-free photos and music tracks
Photoshop No Yes Yes Yes Yes, but images need a photo credit if used in an editorial
PhotoScape Yes No Yes Yes No
ImgPlay – GIF Maker No Yes Yes Yes No
GIF Toaster Yes Yes Yes No No
gifmaker.me Yes Yes Yes No No
gifs.com Yes Yes No No No
GIPHY Yes Yes Yes Yes Large library of animated GIFs

How to Make a GIF From a Video

The exact process for making a GIF from a video depends on the GIF maker app you use. The best app for the job should be quick and easy to use. Since PhotoDirector fits this description, here’s how to use the app 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. 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 at 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 large file-sized GIF.

4. Export

Preview your work and make any necessary adjustments. 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 App

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

2. Animate the Image

PhotoDirector App - Live Mode to Animate Photo

After importing the image, click on the Live button at the bottom of your screen. All of these features will add animations. Tap Animation and then Motion at the bottom left of the screen (Tap & Drag Motion Arrow) to animate elements within the image.

3. Add Anchor Points

PhotoDirector App - Add Anchor Points to Animation

Press the play button at the bottom right of your screen to view the animation effect. Insert anchor points to stop the specific areas from animating. The button for anchor points is the pin symbol.

4. Use the Freeze Tool

PhotoDirector App - Freeze Area from Animation

Click the Freeze tool — the button with the snowflake logo. 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

PhotoDirector App - Adjust speed of Animation

Tap the Speed button and adjust the control slider to select how fast you want the GIF to play. If you are happy with your work, click the Checkmark button in the upper right corner of the screen. Doing this will take you to a different page where you can set the format, duration, image quality, and aspect ratio of the GIF. After making the needed adjustments, save the GIF and share it with your friends.

PhotoDirector App - Motion Animation

Best GIF Maker App Free Download

Of all the GIF creators we have reviewed, PhotoDirector stands out as the best GIF maker app. It’s affordable and versatile, and it works regardless of whether you are online or offline. Even better, having access to over 4 million royalty-free images means you can easily find stock for creating GIFs and not worry about copyright infringement.

Since the app 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. Most of these tools are available on the free version of the app. If you want unlimited access to the more advanced tools, opt for the paid version.

Download PhotoDirector on your Mac, Windows, iOS, or Android device today 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 a static image. 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 mobile device or computer. The GIF maker should also be able to convert any source file into a GIF.

For example, an app 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

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 the PowerDirector app. Check out our article for a step-by-step how-to.

5. What is the best frame rate for a GIF?

For optimal clarity, a GIF should have a frame rate between 15 and 24 frames per second. If it’s under 15 frames per second, the GIF won’t flow smoothly. If the frame rate is too high, the GIF will be unnecessarily big.

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). If the target audience is mobile users, aim for 1200 pixels wide and 675 pixels high (16:9 aspect ratio).

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