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Which Is The Best GIF Maker

by Chris Bradley

The benefits of using GIF in your marketing and emails is well documented.

When done well, animated GIFs can boost click through rates, shares and sales.

More details on that in this email GIF guide. But which is the best GIF editor online for you?Whether you are wanting to create a slick branded campaign or a hilarious meme, there is a tool for you.

In this post you'll find online services, apps for android and apps for iOS.

We'll also cover tips and how to's, from using serious design software to the simplest GIF creator.

By the end you'll be able to make GIFs like a jedi.
Ready? Lets begin.

Why create GIFs?

There are many reasons. But the main one amongst marketers is to capture peoples attention.

Which animated GIFs are very good at.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to motion, it's science.
They also deliver information in a way that a static image or words can't.

That doesn't mean that all your newsletter images should become GIFs. That would just be annoying.

Even against video GIF has its own unique advantage.

Video is expensive to create, and the viewer has to make a decision that they want to press play. Committing to a video is a big deal, especially if you are still in browsing mode.

A GIF is low effort, it's there, constantly looping for as long as you want to look at it...

There is also something magical about that loop. Especially if it is well timed. Like this example from Nike;

The marketing use-cases are plentiful. From bringing products to life, highly effective call to actions and creating emotion.

Animated GIF adds another layer of creativity and whats possible to campaigns. I've covered 12 great examples in this email GIF guide.

How the tools are categorised and ranked

Most of the GIF creators have overlapping features and functionality. So to help you understand the value of each tool at a glance, I've created some broad check boxes.

GIF library
Does the platform have a resource of ready made GIFs that you can use in your marketing.

Screencast To GIF
Can you record something from your screen and convert it into a GIF.

Video To GIF
Will the platform let you create GIF from video. Most platforms will take Youtube or Vimeo links of the video that you want to convert.

Add Text To GIF
You able to add text to a GIF image. So you can write, titles, subtitles or an annotation without loosing the animation.

Crop GIF Or Resize
The tool enables you to crop and/or resize any GIFs. This is important if you want to focus on a specific area of the GIF or need to reduce the file size for things like email.

Other Maker Tools
The platform offers other features like adding icons or graphics to your Gifs. Plus other further customisation ability.

Usability
You're going to be using these tools. We wanted to let you know how easy / enjoyable each would be.

Watermark
This is a simple Yes / No evaluation. Some tools will add a watermark to help with their own marketing in exchange for free use of the platform.

Web, App or Both
What it says on the tin. Is this found on the web, a mobile app or both.

How The Scoring Works

Its a simple 1-10 rank. 10 being the best of the best, 1 being poor and suggested to avoid. Then everything is tallied to give an overall % score.

Let's go.

The GIF Makers Reviewed

1. imgflip - Animated GIF Maker

This is a rough and ready image creator with quite a lot of editing functionality. A good place to start.

It's also not limited to just GIFs either. In fact you can also create memes, amusing pie charts and a demotivational posters. Which makes it a good all rounder. Particularly if you are after hitting the humorous angle with your audience.

When you get down to using it to make GIFs it will accept most file formats. Including straight from a Youtube link or uploaded video files.

On the one youtube video we tried to convert it failed as it was 178mb instead of the limit of 100mb. Something to watch out for.

You can upload larger file sizes and remove the watermark on a paid account.

2. Picasion - Create Animated GIFs Online

Heavily advertised. Image or from web cam only. You can import images from a URL or directly from Flickr and Picasa.

There are lots of better GIF makers in this list.

Lets move on.

3. GIF Gear - Make a GIF Online

It looks like you'll get a lot of functionality with the layout, but in reality its quite limited.

You can upload images from URL, your web cam and the computer. But if using URL make sure you get the URL to the actual image, not the page. Or you'll get an error in what looks like russian.

You can add speech bubbles and shapes to your GIFs, but, you can't add text unless in one of these bubbles.

The crop and resize functionality works, but it is limited in options. You have to select the image size and then it will automatically crop it to that from the centre.

4. EZGIF - Animated GIFs Made Easy

This is a solid all round platform.It's pretty simple to use and has all the key functionality you would expect.

Which all also work as expected and are easy to use. You can make GIFs from images and videos, which can come from URL's or upload most file types.

Once you get going there are some nice customisation touches. Like editing frame speed, multi upload for images to GIF, drag and drop to order frames and the crop and resize is slick.

No watermark too.

5. Make A GIF - Animated GIFs Maker

Simple easy to use GIF maker.

It is slightly limited in customisation features. For instance the crop and resize is a little simple, and I couldn't see any way of adding text.

It does have a "Stickers" feature, which allows you to add stickers to your GIFs, its currently a bit limited.

But for creating a GIF from various sources it is robust. You can even add images from Facebook.

It also has a decent library of pre-made GIFs to choose from.

6. Data GIF Maker - Trends Visualisation Tool

This is a slick little tool created by Google Newslab.
You can easily make a colourful GIF highlighting some data. Like this one;

Great for comparing two sets of data in a fun eye catching way.

Very specific use case, so it doesn't perform well against a lot of criteria. Works great for exactly what it is.

The only negative is the amount of time it takes to actually download the GIF once you have created it. Even in low res it takes a good 2-3 minutes.

7. Edit Photos For Free

Feature rich and decent level of customisation. A good place to start if you are looking at creating specific GIFs for your marketing.

Particularly because you can upload your own icons. So it does start to become like design software.The canvas is a bit cumbersome to use, but you can start to get the hang of it quick enough.

Add media from the usual places, images and video. It doesn't take URL's though. It doesn't offer the ability to crop images or elements you add, so it can be very time consuming. As you have to get the images right before adding them.

Aside from creating GIFs you can also use this platform for other image editing. Like removing background and adding effects and filters to images.

8. imgur - Video to GIF

As it says on the home page, make a GIF from hundreds of video sites. You can also create a GIF from images you upload.

You also have the full suite of image editing options that comes with the Adobe Creative SDK. So that includes cropping, resizing, effects, stickers and even drawing.

This site also has a pretty big community. Great if you are looking to get your GIF noticed, or find inspiration.All in all its one of the leaders.

9. Meme Center

This tool Has a pretty cool layered system. So you can build your GIF with multiple media formats. Including images and other GIFs.

Decent level of customisation available. With preloaded images, add text and drawing or painting.

It does work on Flash, and so I found it a little slow and glitchy. The crop functionality wasn't great either.

10. Gifski - Convert Videos To Quality GIFs

Like it says on the tin, for all those "how to make a gif from a video" moments.

Whilst it is GIF software mac only, if you are on a Mac then you can create high quality GIFs.

The issue with a lot of video to GIF output is that ffmpeg uses a fixed pallet, so GIFs render shaky or blurred.

Gifski solves this. But file sizes can be VERY large. So not great for email.

11. Guggy

I actually debated on whether to put this in or not.

It is more of a library then a GIF creator. But, you can create very simple GIFs by adding text over an existing GIF.

If you are wanting to personalise a GIF that is already doing the rounds then this is for you. It makes it super simple to find potential GIFs to go with your text.

But it's not for you if you are looking at creating something other then lolz.

12. GIFMaker - Create a GIF from a video or images

Thats pretty much it. Add images and video, in order, to the application and it will convert it to a GIF. You have to be specific in the order that you select the files, as that is how it determines what goes where. Then after that there is little you can do in terms of customisation.

Simple, but it also costs $1.99.

14. Recordit - Fast Screencasts

For both Windows and Mac. This little download makes recording screencasts super simple.

Just drag to select the screen area you want to record, hit the button and your off.

The issue I came across was it taking quite a bit of time/bandwidth to complete rendering the GIF.

But for a free tool it's great. Especially for product demos and quick how to screencasts.

15. Shout - Simple GIFs for Social Media

With the image size set to what looks like the Twitter image size, Shout makes social GIFs simple.

The functionality is very basic. You can choose a coloured background, or an image background. Then you can write some text over it.

Thats it.

You can add as many images and captions in your sequence as you like, to turn them into a GIF.

Sometimes simpler is better.

16. GIFJif

Mainly for the LOLz and only available on iOS at the moment.

GIFJif makes it east to take popular GIFs and change the faces of the people in the GIF.

Including with your own face, faces from your team or maybe even faces from customers.

Create pretty high share content in minutes, straight from your phone.

17. Screen To GIF

A screencast to GIF tool just for Windows.

Set the frame size, set the frames per second and hit record. It does also offer the ability to record from webcam and make a board recording.

Pretty simple really.

18. GIFs.com - Everything to make the best GIF

They're not lying either.

The GIF maker online gives you access to text, stickers, cropping, padding, visual filters and more.

All very easy to use an intuitive. It does include a watermark though. To turn this off its just $7.99/m.

Aside from the main GIF maker, they have a number of other tools too.

Like the Sticker Maker. Software that can help you to make individual GIF stickers to then add to your animated GIF.

As well as a personalised GIFs for your newsletter campaigns. Where the {name} tag will be replaced with the persons actual name.

A fantastic platform for your GIF needs.

19. Giffing Tool

Only for Windows, but a pretty serious piece of kit.

Once downloaded you will have various features. From screen recording to adding captions, changing direction, filtering and looping.

The software is free, but the author suggests for you to make a donation. And why not, its solid kit.

Desktop Design Tools to Create GIFs

When you need something with total customisation, and totally on brand. Much more labour intensive, but you have complete and utter creative freedom.

These tools will just be reviewed, and not ranked with the same scoring system.

20. Sketch - The Digital Design Tool Kit

Sketch is a lightweight and easy-to-use design app for Mac.

It is hands down the simplest design software I have ever used. Bringing good design into the hands of anyone, and has an active community. A community which creates great free to use resources.

It does cost a one off fee of $99, but totally worth it.

You can create GIFs in it with an add-on that works by stringing together multiple images.

You can also use it to create the images you want, which can then be added to some of the other tools we have mentioned here.

In this tutorial you can learn how to create animated GIFs in Sketch using the GIF Generate plugin.

21. Photoshop

The original design software.

The possibilities are endless with this product. But it has a steep learning curve to become any good with it.

Like Sketch you can create a string of images that together create a GIF. Again you can also create any image and add them to the tools outlined above as well.

Here is a thorough tutorial from Hubspot on how to Make a GIF in Photoshop.

What Did I Miss?

There are certainly more tools out there to help you create GIFs. If I have missed any that you find useful let me know if in the comments below.

I’d also love to see the animated GIFs you create with these tools, how you’ve used them and the results you’ve seen.

As marketers we’re always looking for more inspiration

NOTE: Looking for great GIFs for your newsletters? You can now search for animated GIFs right inside Publicate.

Check out the Newsletter Creator with GIFs built in.
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