How to Make a GIF from a Video in 3 Easy Steps

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In the pantheon of great social media content types, there are many respectable entries. There is the viral video, the great image and caption screenshot, the clever tweet, and even the tried and true blog post. But nothing has achieved the popularity or shown to have such awesome versatility and creative power as the animated GIF.

Of course, it wasn’t always so. The animated GIF is, if anything, a storied file type.

Popular in the early ages of the Internet as a way to add texture and pizzazz to dull websites, they fell by the wayside as other, more exciting innovations gave web and content creators new means to express their creativity.

At a point, many people maligned the lowly GIF as childish and outdated, a relic of a bygone era. They scoffed at the idea they were ever considered acceptable in professional spaces.

But a funny thing happened with the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media. The GIF transformed, like some sort of Internet-age caterpillar, crawling into a networked cocoon and experiencing a creative, social, and even intellectual metamorphosis.

Over time, GIFs started popping up in blog posts and quickly became ubiquitous throughout social media. People used them to express abstract emotions and reactions to particular experiences. The previously forgotten GIF became a darling of the social media world for it’s empathy, humor, and uncanny relatability.

In short, the animated GIF, perhaps more than any other file type, came to define the social media era.

Nowadays, it seems there isn’t a situation where a well-played GIF doesn’t make sense. Savvy social media users harvest every corner of pop culture, lifting clips from classic television shows and movies, to create GIFs that take on all facets of human emotion and experience.

Recently, the use of animated GIFs has broadened beyond the social media posts and memes that brought them back to prominence, making them even more relevant.

GIFs often appear in technical documentation, provide clarity in workplace communications, brands use them to show personality, and they enhance learning.

Considering the animated GIF’s astounding popularity and seemingly infinite usage potential, everyone should know how to make a high quality animated GIF from a video. . It’s an easy process and the steps below show you how to do it with TechSmith Snagit and Camtasia.

How to Make an Animated GIF with Snagit

Snagit allows you to turn a section of or an entire video into an animated GIF. It also provides options for customizing the final product, like adding a fade to black at the end of the video. The following gives a quick overview on making an animated GIF. For more detailed instructions, check out our tutorial.

Step 1
Open a video in the Snagit Editor or use Snagit to record one.

Step 2
With the video open in Snagit Editor, separate the red and green playhead handles, placing them at the start and end time of the portion of the video you want to make into a GIF. Then, click the GIF button. If you want to make your entire video into a GIF, skip this step.

Step 3
Choose whether you want to create your GIF from the selection or the whole video. Use the dialog that appears to make customizations like a fade to black at the end of the clip. When done, click Create.

Snagit produces your GIF and displays it on the canvas. Now you can share it with the world!

How to Make an Animated GIF with Camtasia

Camtasia also allows you to create a GIF from a video. With Camtasia, you can turn a single clip into a GIF, or select a particular portion of a video project and export it as a GIF.

Step 1
Open Camtasia and record a video, add a clip to the timeline, or simply open a project you want to export a portion of as a GIF.

Step 2
Separate the red and green playhead handles to select the portion of the timeline that you want to make into a GIF.

Step 3
If you’re using Camtasia on Windows (for Mac, see instructions below the video), open the Share menu, select Produce Selection As…, click Next, and choose the GIF option from the list. Click Next to advance through the production wizard options, customizing what you want along the way, and then click Finish at the final screen.

If you’re using Camtasia on a Mac, open the Share menu, choose Local File…, and then, in the File format dropdown, select Export to Animated GIF (.gif). Choose where to export the file and then click Export.

Camtasia produces a GIF of your selection, which you can now send to friends, colleagues, or simply share on social media.

Thanks for reading this post on GIF creation! If you’ve made it this far, perhaps you’re interested in a couple of our other posts on animated GIFs and how to use them.

How to Post Animated GIFs on Social Media Networks
This post explains the basics of posting animated GIFs on popular social media sites and how they behave on those sites. There are some great tips!

Animated GIFs vs. Screencast Videos
Jake Miller, an Authorized Google Apps for Education Trainer, explains how he went from sharing screencast videos to sharing GIF versions of his videos and why he made the switch.

Posted in Tips & How To's
Guy Larcom

Guy Larcom is an Instructional Designer with the Marketing Team at TechSmith. Outside of making awesome screencasts and tutorials, he loves golfing and skiing.