9 August 2012

How Do I Make an Animated .gif?

Here’s an animated gif of a certain sporting event that I saw on a certain broadcasting network’s website tonight. I expect a cease and desist any minute now, so let’s hurry.

I made that (President Obama), but I don’t know if I would do it again, unless it was easier. So what’s the best way to create an animated gif with mostly free tools, or highly-recommended cheap tools, on OS X?

I can let you know how I did it, but I can promise you it’s horrible.

  1. I used Quicktime Player’s File -> “New Screen Recording” to record the clip, playing on the site. Win.
  2. I trimmed the clip in Quicktime, and attempted to upload it to several GIF-making websites. Failure all.
  3. I opened the clip full screen. I mashed the right arrow key four times and then took a screenshot, and repeated until the scrubber hit the end of the clip. 58 times. Work harder, not smarter.

  1. I needed to compile these into a .gif image. Pixelmator couldn’t do it, Preview could not hang either, Pixen kept crashing. I landed on, of all things, GIFfun. Congratulations GIFfun, you have been selected!
  2. I created a workflow in OS X Automator to scale the 58 images down 33%, because screenshot-ing them all at full screen resolution (see Step 3) was a terrible idea. I don’t hear many people talk about Automator. If you need to automate stuff, Automator is the best.
  3. GIFfun took a little finagling at first. It’s either a little wonky, or not 100% idiot proof. There was a window that I closed, and couldn’t get back without re-opening the app. But anyway, “Load Folder…” turns out to be what I wanted. It chronologized the images in a timeline with a default delay value, and when I clicked “Make Gif”, it was damn near instantaneous. I have to hand it to GIFfun on that.

So that’s my long story. I forgot to mention that I managed to record the Quicktime Player controls in every screenshot, which is lame. I don’t see a way around that, except to not do it that way.

So what is the best way?

Heads up! This article may make reference to the Gaslight team—that's still us! We go by Launch Scout now, this article was just written before we re-introduced ourselves. Find out more here.

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