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How a GIF Works

Whether you spend lots of time on social media or just like browsing the internet, you’re likely to have come across GIFs and wondered how they actually work. A GIF or Graphics Interchange Format chains together files into a single animated image. However, each pixel with the GIF can only be one of 256 colors, so they tend to look low res with lower frame rates. This enables GIFs to remain small and shareable. So, if you like the idea of creating your own GIF, we’ll explore here, just how a GIF actually works.

Some GIF Basics
GIFs can be thought of as a midpoint between video and images. A GIF can allow you to tell a story quickly with minimal bandwidth needed to load them. This makes them ideal for mobile devices. However, while GIFs may seem like something new, they are actually quite a primitive concept that has been around for 30 years, which even predates the internet. In recent years, GIFs have seen a massive explosion in popularity and one of the most popular GIF databases, GIPHY suggests that there are more than 300 million active users each day, while the GIF archive and keyboard app, Tenor processes more than 400 million GIF searches each day. 

The Basics of Making a GIF

If you want to quickly make a GIF, there are a number of GIF conversion platforms, that allow you to make your first GIF. You can make a GIF using video or still images and photographs. You’ll need to upload your pictures or video to the platform and then you can isolate the moments you want to capture for your GIF. Most GIFs are between two to six seconds, which will allow you to arrange your images to create the animation. Remember that GIFs don’t have sound, so you can add text for extra meaning or direction. This may be a subtitle for putting quotable moments into context or highlight a feeling or situation. Once you have arranged all of the elements of your GIF, you can download it to your desktop or device. You may notice that a newly downloaded GIF file shows just a series of frames, but you’ll need to drag the GIF into your internet browser, so that the animation will begin looping. 

Choosing the Best Photos for Your GIF

You need to bear in mind that GIFs appear to be low resolution, so it is best to use the clearest possible photos for your GIF. It is possible to add filters, but it is best to start with good quality images. Unless you want to create a very stilted animation, it is also a good idea to use a series of pictures that show progressive changes. This will create a smoother transition between the images for a more seamless animation. 

GIFs can be great fun to share your opinions and anecdotes on social media and the internet. So, learning how to create your own GIFs from your photos is a skill that is sure to come in handy. 

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