Turn a Video Into a Gif




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As an avid Tumblr user, I see a lot of great GIFs. Some of my favorite GIFs use clips from movies, or TV, or even YouTube. In an effort to perpetuate a movement towards more GIFs on the web, I want to share how to turn a video into a GIF In this Instructable I will go over how these GIFs are made.

You will need:
  • Photoshop
  • Quicktime
  • An internet browser


Step 1: Getting a Video Clip.

For my clip I will be using footage of my co-worker, Gary. He is an excellent dancer and has consented to be featured in this Instructable. I used my video-camera to record Gary dancing, and then opened the clip in Quicktime.

It is important to use a relatively short clip for this, you want to keep your file-sizes down. I cut down my original clip of 20 or so seconds down to 2 seconds. That's about 60ish frames of video.

An easy way to shorten videos in Quicktime is to use the Trim command. (Command + T, or Edit>Trim)

After the video has been trimmed, it is time to export it.  (Shift + Command + S, or File>Export)

I use the 480p dedicated export settings, and make sure it saves as a .MOV file.

Step 2: Importing Video to Photoshop

In Adobe Photoshop (I'm using CS5), you are give the option to Import video. (File>Import>Video Frames to Layers)

When in the dialogue box, I selected the checkbox to limit the video to every 2 frames, so that I wouldn't have too many frames beefing up my file-size.

After the video was imported, I had 37 frames, or 37 layers to work with. That's pretty good.

Remember, I had started with two seconds of video, which at 29.97 frames per second should yield about 60 frames. In an effort to keep my file size small, I limited Photoshop to only import every other frame.

Step 3: Image Settings

To optimize my animation for the web it is a good idea to reduce the image quality. I started by playing with the Image Size Settings (Option + Command +I, or Image>Image Size)

I changed the animations width to 500 pixels. I have found that this a pretty internet friendly size.

Step 4: Time Settings

The default amount of time for each frame to show is .03 seconds, but I wanted to make this gif comedically faster. From the Animation Bar, I selected all of the frames. (If you don't see the Animation Bar go to Window>Animation, to toggle it on)

With all the frames selected, I clicked on the downward pointing arrow next to the time increment on the frame, and selected .01 second.

Step 5: Exporting

To export the Gif so that it can be uploaded to the interwebz, I went to File>Save for Web & Devices, or Option + Shift + Command + S.

This brings up another dialog box that you are able to manipulate your file-size from. It is best to get the image under 1MB, if you can.

Please see my image notes for specific instructions.

Step 6: Play!

Play around with it, isolate your favorite frames and create goofy looping gifs. I 

For more great Gif possibilities Check out these Instructables:

How to Create Animated Gifs About Pizza
Make an Animated Gif
Make A Wiggle Gif

Thanks! I will award a few 3 Month Pro Memberhips to the first five posters that turn a movie clip into a gif :)

3 People Made This Project!


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31 Discussions

Birdz of a Feather

1 year ago

I can't see any details on the pictures; how do I see the image notes for the instructions?


4 years ago on Step 4

nice article ! explaining in details to convert a video into gif animation.


6 years ago on Step 2

I have an app on my iPhone that's great for making animated GIFs. It's easy, fun and it's FREE!. It's called GifBoom. I'll try to attach one that I recently completed. Hope it works.

i don't have it either… i was hoping someone could tell me if it would work before getting it.

additionally, does anyone know of another program, preferably free (without pirating it), that can create gifs?


6 years ago on Introduction

Thanks! I've always tried to make gifs, but I can never get it to work correctly. I managed to make this gif of Andrew Garfield from the Daleks in Manhattan episode of Doctor Who. Any ideas on how to add text? The only way I could think of was to add the text in the same exact spot in every single frame. Which is a bit tedious...


6 years ago on Step 2

Much easier to convert the video clip to either MP4 or WMV, take into Window Live movie maker, take a sequence of snapshots of what you want to make a GIF of . then go into Photoscape & put the snapshots together as a GIF. Makes excellent GIFs using free programs. http://download-photoscape-free.com/


6 years ago on Introduction


it is good except you use tools that must be bought.

Then how could we do it with other tools like Gimp (Photoshop like and free) and others solutions ?

Have a nice day,

Miguipda ;-)

3 replies

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

ffmpeg can transcode video files into gif. of course you have to specify all the time selection, croping, and scaling options on the command line, but that's always more fun anyway