Back in the early days of the internet there were two complementary graphic file formats used in website design. One was the ubiquitous JPG file format, mostly used for photos because it could reduce file sizes and maintain visual quality.
The other was GIF, the graphics interchange format, used more for non-photographic elements. GIF had the advantage of being able to support basic graphics in small files sizes, with the added benefit of animations (which spawned the banner ad industry). PNG proved to be superior to GIF, but here we are in the 21st century and GIF lives. Here’s an example.
GIF Reborn In Videos
Guess what? GIF is apparently alive and well and growing in usage. My latest find includes a couple of reasonably priced Mac GIF-maker utilities. The first is called PicGIF which creates animated GIF’s from photos and even videos. The GIF animations can be customized to size, with added frame delay and sequence, and you can add a text overlay.
It starts here.
Continuous snapshot photos can be turned into animated GIFs in seconds.
The animation can also be edited after creation. Plus, there’s an option to turn a short video clip into an animated GIF. PicGIF’s interface is typical Mac. It’s easy to import photos– drag and drop them into a timeline, add text, adjust dimensions (landscape or portrait), change typical GIF settings, and share online.
PicGIF handles multiple image and video formats (JPG, TIFF, BMP, PNG, RAW, TGA plus MOV, MPEG, MP4, 3GP, AVI, M4V) and converts them into an animated GIF. All the images can be previewed while editing, then exported to your Mac (or, shared in Mail or Messages).
The image quality usually isn’t as good as a typical movie clip, but file sizes are relatively small for short animations and production couldn’t be much easier or faster (far easier than creating a similar video clip in iMovie). This is something of a throwback to what I thought was a bygone era, but PicGIF works well, doesn’t cost much, and couldn’t be easier to use.
Wait. There’s more.
Billing itself as the greatest GIF maker on earth is GIF Maker which comes in a free and pro version. The free version is pretty easy to use and to share videos and it differentiates itself by being free. The pro version differentiates itself from free and from other GIF makers with colorful filters, a higher frame rate, no developer logo, and a video editor.
Pricing on these apps is strange. GIF Maker is free, but the pro version has a price tag which is nominal considering the competition. PicGIF on the Mac App Store costs a few bucks at $4.99 and seems about right (caveat emptor; the app hasn’t been updated in a few years, though it still works, it smacks of abandonware), but if you buy from the developer’s website the price is $20. Go figure.
Whatever your poison, GIFs are back. Now, the only question is how to pronounce GIF. GIF as a hard G. Or GIF as in JIF, the peanut butter?