How to Convert an Image to GIF [Desktop, App & Online]

Last Updated on Mar. 8, 2024 – by David Morgan
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Turn a Picture to GIF

Are you looking for a way to make your social media page pop? Good news — turning photos you were already planning to post to social media into animated GIFs is an easy and effective way to improve your followers’ engagement with your posts.

If you don’t have much photo editing experience, you may think that converting an image to a GIF is outside your wheelhouse. Thankfully, there are several easy methods to turn pictures into GIFs that require no previous editing expertise and make your photos look professionally edited.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how to make a GIF from pictures using a mobile device or your computer. By the time you finish reading, you’ll understand how to convert images to GIFs like a pro.

What Are GIF Images?

In technical terms, a GIF is an image file format that you can use to store multiple photos. However, when you hear people refer to a “GIF,” they’re typically talking about the animated images people often store in the GIF format.

GIFs combine the qualities of a video and a JPG image. Unlike typical images, these files showcase a looped animation. GIFs are like flipbooks at their core, as they play multiple pictures in sequence to create their animated effects.

Unlike videos, GIFs have no sound, leading many people to add subtitles to their animations to give context. Additionally, GIFs can only display 256 different colors, giving them a low image quality compared to videos.

Even with these limitations, GIFs are wildly popular on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Sharing a GIF on your feed can catch your followers’ attention and make them more likely to engage with your page.

How To Make a GIF From Images on iPhone, iPad, and Android

If you’ve never created a GIF before, you may be surprised to learn that you can convert an image into a GIF right on your mobile device, such as your smartphone or tablet. Numerous apps exist in the Apple and Google Play app stores that allow you to add animated effects to your images and save them in the GIF format, giving them that eye-catching movement.

The best app to use to convert pictures to GIFs is PhotoDirector. This mobile app gives you all of the editing power of a professional desktop program right in the palm of your hand. Plus, a user-friendly interface that even beginners can master.

Here’s a quick tutorial of how to create a GIF from pictures using the PhotoDirector app:

  1. Download PhotoDirector: You can download the PhotoDirector app for free in the Apple and Google Play app stores.
  2. Open the app and start a new project: When you first open the PhotoDirector app start a new project by tapping “Edit.” Then upload the photo you would like to turn into a GIF.
  3. Navigate to the “Live” tab: In the PhotoDirector editor, you will see several buttons for different effects and tools at the bottom of the screen. Click the “Live” tab to navigate to the app’s animation effects page.

At this point, you can play around with the PhotoDirector animation effects and determine what effects look best on your photo. Here is some more information about PhotoDirector’s most popular animation effects:

  • Motion arrows: The motion arrow effect creates directional motion in a specific portion of your photo. For example, you could add an arrow over an image of a wave at the beach and point the arrow upward to make the wave look like it is crashing onto the shore.
  • Dispersion: The animated dispersion effect takes an image’s colors and disperses them outward from the central object, almost making the object look like it is dissolving into dust. You can limit this effect to a specific area to draw attention to a particular person or object.
  • Light rays: PhotoDirector’s animated light beams create the effect that sunlight is shining through the trees and producing a sparkling, twinkling appearance. This effect looks the most realistic in outdoor photos. We recommend using it to brighten up a dark and dreary scene.
  • Sparkle: The sparkle effect adds a hint of twinkle and light to your photo, creating a whimsical feeling. This effect looks the most realistic on objects that would actually twinkle and sparkle in real life, such as sparklers or Christmas lights.
  • Bokeh: A “bokeh” effect creates the appearance that the light in the background of an image is out of focus, drawing attention to the in-focus object or person. PhotoDirector’s animated bokeh effect gives these out-of-focus lights a bit of movement and twinkle.
  • Light hits: The animated light hits effect brightens up any photo by adding the appearance of the sun shining down on the central object or person. This effect is slightly different from light rays because it creates more of a unified sunlight effect rather than a dispersed ray effect.
Motion Arrows
PhotoDirector App - Motion Arrows Animation
PhotoDirector App - Dispersion Animation
Light Rays
PhotoDirector App - Light Ray Animation
PhotoDirector App - Sparkle Animation

You can apply any of these effects to your photos in the PhotoDirector app. Simply tap the effect you would like to use, drag it to your desired portion of the image, then use the sliders to adjust the intensity and size of the effects.

Once you finish adding these animation effects to your photo, you can export the image as a GIF to ensure it remains animated once you upload it to social media or share it with your friends and family.

All of these animation effects are easy to achieve with PhotoDirector. Download PhotoDirector today to begin turning your images into GIFs instantly.

How to Make a GIF From Images on Windows and Mac

You can also turn photos into GIFs using your computer. While there are numerous downloadable programs that allow you to do this, we recommend using PhotoDirector 365 to make the process as quick and easy as possible.

Like the PhotoDirector app, the PhotoDirector 365 desktop program is incredibly user-friendly and intuitive. You can use this program to convert images to high-quality, pro-level GIFs in minutes. Better yet, PhotoDirector comes with a free trial, allowing you to create your first several GIFs without any upfront costs.

Here are step-by-step instructions to turn an image into a GIF with PhotoDirector 365:

  1. Download PhotoDirector: First, you’ll need to download PhotoDirector to your computer.
  2. Import your photo: Next, you can upload the image you would like to edit to PhotoDirector. This program is compatible with a wide range of file types, so you should have no problem adding your photo to your library.
  3. Navigate to “Guided”: Once you’re in the PhotoDirector editing platform, click the “Guided” tab at the top of the window to navigate to the program’s guided editing effects.
  4. Click “Animation Effects'': On the left-hand side of the window, you’ll see a dropdown button labeled “Animation Effects.” Click this dropdown to see a list of the available effects to animate your photo.
  5. Add your desired animations: Next, you can test out the different photo animation effects on your photo. You can always click the “undo” button if you make a mistake. Below, we’ve listed a few ideas to give you inspiration for animating your photo.
  6. Export your image as a GIF: Once you’ve added the finishing touches and are ready to export your photo, be sure to save it as a GIF rather than a JPG or other image format. Downloading it as a GIF will ensure that the animations appear when you post your image to social media.

The PhotoDirector desktop program features several of the same effects as the app. For example, you can click “Photo Animation” to add motion arrows to your photos or “Dispersion Effect” to apply animated color dispersions to your image.

Here are a few ideas of the types of effects you can create with PhotoDirector:

  • Add light rays to an outdoor nature photo
  • Add motion arrows to a trick shot or action photo
  • Create an artistic effect with bokeh animations
  • Add an eye-catching glitter effect to emphasize an outfit

You can also use the PhotoDirector desktop program to combine multiple photos into an animated GIF. You can follow these steps to animate multiple images:

  1. Add all of your pictures to your PhotoDirector library.
  2. Click “Create,” then select the “GIF” button.
  3. Drag your photos to the editing canvas in the correct sequence.
  4. Edit the GIF speed using the “Frames per second” slider.
  5. Add text over the GIF (if desired).
  6. Export your animation as a GIF file.

Combining several photos into a GIF gives you a compact, shareable way to highlight your favorite images from a trip or event. Placing all of these photos into one GIF can allow your friends and family to view these memories quickly and easily.

You can use this feature to create flipbook effects, make slideshows of multiple photos, create stop-motion animations, and more.

These are just a few of the numerous ways you can use PhotoDirector to turn regular photos into creative, innovative GIF animations. Download PhotoDirector for Windows or Mac today to start trying these tools for yourself.

Convert Image to GIF With Online Converter

If you’d prefer not to download an app or desktop program, you can also use an online converter to turn your image to a GIF. You can find numerous online GIF maker programs across the web, but our favorite online option is is simple and user-friendly. While this tool does not have nearly as many features as PhotoDirector, it allows you to upload several images and animate them by combining them into a single GIF image file.

Here are the steps you can follow to turn a photo into a GIF using this tool:

  1. Head to the website.
  2. Click “Upload Images.”
  3. Select the images you would like to add to your GIF.
  4. Drag the images into the correct order.
  5. Adjust the size, speed, and repetitions of your GIF.
  6. Click “Create GIF Animation.”
  7. Click “Download the GIF” to save it to your computer.

Once you save your GIF, you can upload it to social media platforms, attach it to an email, and perform any functions you would with a traditional image file.

Note: You can only use on a computer, not on a mobile device. Additionally, does not include any editing tools, so if you want to edit your GIF, you’ll need to upload it to a program like PhotoDirector.

3 Best Free Tools To Convert Images to GIFs

Converting an image into a fun, eye-catching animated GIF is easy with a program like PhotoDirector. The PhotoDirector mobile app and PhotoDirector 365 desktop program allow you to convert static images into animations by adding cool motion effects and placing multiple images in a sequence, making it easy to create a pro-level animation in minutes.

You can also use online converters like to turn several images into a stop-motion animation. While these tools include only limited features, they are easy to use and allow you to convert your image to GIF quickly.

If you’d like to explore more GIF maker programs, you can check out our Best GIF Makers article. Once you’ve mastered one of these programs, your possibilities are endless for the types of engaging, creative GIFs you can produce to share on your social media feed.

Download PhotoDirector today to begin putting your newfound knowledge to work and creating your first animated GIF from a photo.


1. What Is the Difference Between a GIF and an Animated GIF?

We use the terms “GIF” and “animated GIF” interchangeably within this article. Usually, when people say “GIF,” they are referring to an animated image file. However, a “GIF” is actually just any media saved within the GIF file format. Meanwhile, when someone says “animated GIF,” you can be sure they are talking about an animation — not a static image.

2. Can I Add Animated GIFs to a Photo?

You can use PhotoDirector to add animated stickers and other movement effects to any photo. Simply upload your image to the PhotoDirector mobile app, then click and drag your desired effects onto your image. Even if you’ve never used PhotoDirector before, you can master these effects within a few minutes.

However, to ensure that these animations appear once you export your image from PhotoDirector, you will need to save your image in the GIF file format. Keeping your image in its original format will cause these stickers to appear static rather than animated.

3. Can I Convert a Video Into a GIF?

Yes, you can also use PhotoDirector to convert a video into a GIF. PhotoDirector takes much of the work out of this process — you’ll simply need to import your video into the program, and PhotoDirector will automatically pull image stills from the video to add to your GIF file.

You can learn more about converting a video into a GIF through our How to Convert Video to GIF article.

4. Can I Convert a GIF Into a Video?

It’s also possible to convert a GIF into a video. We recommend using PowerDirector, a user-friendly video editing program available for mobile and desktop devices, to turn your GIF into a video.

You don’t have to worry about having any video editing expertise to use this program — PowerDirector does most of the work for you. Check out our How to Convert GIF to Video article for step-by-step instructions to achieve this effect.

5. Can I Convert Animated GIF to Image?

Yes, you can turn an animated GIF into an image. A GIF is essentially multiple photos in a single image file. If you’d like to turn an animated GIF into a single picture, you’ll just need to choose which one photo from the file to extract from the GIF.

You can use online GIF-to-JPG converters to change your GIF to an image file. You can also open your GIF in PhotoDirector, then export it in your preferred image format.

Another easy way to pull an image from a GIF is to screenshot the GIF, then save the screenshot as an image file.

6. What Features Should I Look For in a GIF Converter?

You can find a wide range of programs across the web that allow you to convert images into GIFs. However, not all of these programs are high-quality, user-friendly, or worth their price tags. Additionally, many of these programs include only a few features, making them useless for other kinds of editing.

As you look for a program to convert an image to a GIF, keep an eye out for these features that make up the best programs:

  • Easy-to-navigate interface
  • Free trial
  • AI effects
  • Photo animation effects
  • Professional filters
  • Compatibility with a range of file types

Choosing a program with a comprehensive suite of features will allow you to achieve all of your photo editing effects in a single program rather than needing to learn and master several apps.

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