Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tech Tool: Make Your Own Animated GIFs

I love animated gifs. Sometimes they just hit your funny bone, right? Like this one, for instance:

Even Vader loves pizza. [Scrounged from Smosh.]

So maybe you want to create your own animated gifs? Maybe you could use one for that online course you're teaching add a little interest and humor? Or maybe you just want to try and create the next viral hit?

Check out gifmaker.me! It's free, and easy to use. You just upload a batch of image files (jpgs work great), tweak a few settings, and then download your finished animation. It's really that easy!

And you wind up with great stuff like this!

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays...
For this gif, I happened to have a bunch of selfies that I took in a burst while we were shooting off some fireworks on the 4th. I uploaded a batch of 12 or so to gifmaker.me, and then the fun begins. You can adjust the settings for how large your finished gif will be, the timing for how long each image should be displayed, how many times it should repeat, and more. For example, in this gif...
  • I resized it to be much smaller than the original. This makes the overall file size much smaller, so it's more portable.
  • I set it so each image shows for 500 ms, or half a second. The last one with my goofy grimace about the flaming carnage is the same image four times in a row, so it stays displayed for 4 seconds instead of just flashing by.
  • This one is set to repeat indefinitely, but I could have set it to run just once, and then it would freeze on my goofy grimace until the page is refreshed. (I kind of like having it repeat forever...)
One more nice feature for gifmaker.me: when you're finished creating your gif, and have downloaded it to keep it, you are prompted that you can delete your photos from their site. Now, you have to trust that they actually do delete them--I mean, you're uploading your own photos out there, so be smart about what you share, obviously--but I think this is a nice gesture on the part of the site creators.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, give it a whirl! Your smartphone's camera probably takes bursts of pictures when you hold down the button anyway, right? So you're ready to start creating gifs!

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