GIF files will most likely appear in your social media feeds. But what exactly does GIF stand for, and how do these files function?
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What is a Gif file?
The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF; /df/ JIF or /f/ GHIF) is a bitmap picture format developed by a team at CompuServe led by American computer scientist Steve Wilhite and launched on June 15, 1987.
Because of its broad support and compatibility between programs and operating systems, it has now become widely used on the World Wide Web.
The format allows for up to 8 bits per pixel for each image, allowing a single image to refer to its own palette of up to 256 different colors selected from the 24-bit RGB color space.
It also enables animations and has a palette of up to 256 colors for each frame. Because of these palette constraints, Graphics Interchange Format is less suitable for replicating color photographs and other images with color gradients, but it is ideal for simpler images such as designs or logos with solid color sections.
To minimize file size without sacrificing visual quality, Graphics Interchange Format images are compressed using the Lempel–Ziv–Welch (LZW) lossless data compression algorithm. This compression method was first patented in 1985.
In 1994, a dispute over a licensing agreement between the software patent holder, Unisys, and CompuServe prompted the creation of the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) standard. All of the applicable patents had expired by 2004.
More details: Unisys and LZW patent enforcement
On June 15, 1987, CompuServe released GIF as a color image format for their file downloading sections.
This replaced their previous run-length encoding scheme, which was only available in black and white. Graphics Interchange Format gained popularity as a result of its usage of Lempel–Ziv–Welch data compression.
Because this was more efficient than the run-length compression employed by PCX and MacPaint, even with sluggish modems, rather large images could be downloaded fairly rapidly.
GIF’s first version was known as 87a. Multiple photos in a stream were already supported in this version.
CompuServe launched an upgraded version, 89a, in 1989. This version includes:
- Support for animation delays,
- Translucent background colors,
- Application-specific metadata storage, and
- By integrating text labels as text (rather of embedding them in the graphical data), but due to the lack of control over display typefaces, this capability is rarely employed.
The two versions can be differentiated by examining the first six bytes of the file (the “magic number” or signature), which read “GIF87a” and “GIF89a,” respectively, when interpreted as ASCII.
CompuServe promoted the use of Graphics Interchange Format by providing downloadable conversion programs for a wide range of systems. By December 1987, an Apple IIGS user, for example, could examine images made on an Atari ST or Commodore 64.
Graphics Interchange Format was one of the first two picture formats widely used on Web sites, together with black-and-white XBM.
Netscape Navigator 2.0 provided the ability to loop animated GIFs in September 1995.
The ability to store many images in one file, accompanied by control data, is widely used on the Web to create simple animations.
The optional interlacing feature, which stored image scan lines out of order in such a way that even a partially downloaded image was somewhat recognizable, also contributed to GIF’s popularity, since a user could cancel the download if it was unnecessary.
Facebook implemented Graphics Interchange Format compatibility in May 2015.
Instagram also added Graphics Interchange Format stickers to the story mode in January 2018.
What are GIF files used for?
The Graphics Interchange Format is intended for the presentation of simple graphics and animations. But what exactly is a Graphics Interchange Format utilized for?
Logos and web graphics
Graphics Interchange Format files aren’t designed to hold high-quality images because they can only display a limited number of colors. GIFs, on the other hand, are better suited to designs and logos with precise lines and edges – and few colors.
Memes and Online Animations.
On websites and social media platforms, you’ll come across a plethora of animated GIFs.
GIF files produce a flipbook effect by storing a lot of connected images, giving the appearance of a video – however they lack sound and have a poor quality. GIFs are also a popular way to share online memes, which are amusing videos shared by social media users.
Pros and cons of GIF files.
Before using GIFs as a file type for your photographs, learn about their benefits and drawbacks.
Advantages of GIF files.
- Graphics Interchange Format animations make up for their lack of finesse with speed and intensity. They’re easy to make, don’t require any technological knowledge, and can spread like wildfire on social media platforms as memes.
- Why The color limitations imposed on GIFs keep their file sizes minimal. This can help web sites load faster.
- Lossless compression is a feature of Graphics Interchange Format files. This means that their image quality does not suffer when their data is compressed.
GIF file Disadvantages
- Because the Graphics Interchange Format file format only supports 256 colors, images may have a low resolution or appear slightly blurry.
- Because animated Graphics Interchange Format files contain several pictures, they can be difficult to return back and alter.
- Although GIFs are normally short and quick to load, a sluggish internet connection may cause them to appear delayed or adversely on a webpage.
How to open a GIF file.
On a Mac or Windows computer, opening Graphics Interchange Format files is simple. Simply type in the file name and double-click it when it appears. Then, select appropriate software, such as Adobe Photoshop. Simply select your favorite program. GIFs are widely compatible, and can be opened in most major image and video editing systems.
GIFs are also simple to open in web browsers like as Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. In Internet Explorer, simply go to the File menu and select Open. Choose Browse, then All Files. Open the Graphics Interchange Format file by clicking on its name.
Online GIF maker
Graphics Interchange Format creator allows you to quickly create animated GIFs by integrating separate image files as frames. This application is perfect for developers and content creators because the produced GIFs are of high quality and without watermarks or attribution.
You can create a Graphics Interchange Format by uploading a sequence of GIF, JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, HEIC, AVIF, and other image kinds, a ZIP archive containing photos, and even a combination of multiple formats and sizes – they will be transformed automatically. You can also upload animated Graphics Interchange Format, WebP, or APNG images, which will be split and the delay times retained.
As a result, Graphics Interchange Format creator can be used to alter, shorten, or merge existing GIFs.
How to Make a GIF?
Select the photographs you wish to use as frames by clicking the “Choose files” button above.
To select several files, hold down the control/command key.
After uploading the photographs, you can customize the animation speed and frame order before saving the Graphics Interchange Format.
After you’ve created the GIF, you can resize, trim, and optimize it using the tools we give.
Tips for GIF creation
- Set a “Delay time” at the bottom to regulate the speed of the entire Graphics Interchange Format, or adjust the delay for individual frames with a “Delay” input box directly next to each frame.
- The delay time between frames is measured in hundredths (1/100) of a second; a bigger value causes the animation to appear slower.
- Setting a delay duration less than 2 is not recommended because some browsers will ignore such values and default to a slower animation speed.
- By default, all frames are organized alphabetically by filename (and will retain the original order if you upload existing animation), but you can rearrange them by dragging and dropping them inside the Graphics Interchange Format animator area.
- If you wish to create a smooth, fading transition between photos, use the “Crossfade frames” option. This is useful for making photo slideshows. Greater “Frame count” and shorter “Fader delay” options result in smoother animation, but increase file size dramatically since the GIF generator must generate more new frames between each of the original frames. Experiment with those variables to find the right balance for your needs.
- If you submit photographs of varying sizes, two extra options will appear: automatically resize and crop them all to the smallest dimensions, or choose the alignment (e.g. top-left or center). For each frame, you can optionally manually specify top/left coordinates in pixels.
- Instead, use the Video to Graphics Interchange Format tool to generate Graphics Interchange Format pictures from videos.
- Use the sprite cutter tool to create a Graphics Interchange Format from a sprite sheet.
Apps and tools for making your own GIFs in minutes
Making your own GIFs is enjoyable and opens up a world of opportunities. These GIF maker tools are simple to use and will quickly transform you into a Graphics Interchange Format -making machine.
Giphy contains one of the internet’s largest collections of Graphics Interchange Formats (more on that later), as well as some fantastic GIF-making tools. Graphics Interchange Format Maker, our favorite, allows you to create a Graphics Interchange Format directly GIFs.com
from a video clip or a YouTube link.
Graphics Interchange Formats can be created with gifs.com.
GIFs.com is an excellent resource for creating GIFs from YouTube videos or Instagram posts.
All you have to do with GIFs.com is paste the URL of the video you want to convert to a Graphics Interchange Format, and you’re done. The software also includes a number of useful editing options, such as the ability to add captions with customisable typefaces and crop the image.
Gifmaker.me allows you to edit your GIFs.
Gifmaker.me is a free application for creating animated GIFs and slideshows from pictures. Gifmaker has a basic ‘Control Panel’ that lets you modify your Graphics Interchange Format by selecting the canvas size, transition speed, and number of times the Graphics Interchange Format should repeat.
Upload your own movies and images to create your own Graphics Interchange Formats.
In terms of picture flipping, Imgflip allows you to construct a Graphics Interchange Format from numerous photos as well as convert a short video clip to a Graphics Interchange Format. You can customize your Graphics Interchange Format using Imgflip by adding text, changing the speed, and resizing the image. You must be a Pro member to export your final Graphics Interchange Format without a watermark.
If you collect GIFs, you’ll adore Ezgif.com. You can upload up to 2,000 image files (maximum size 100MB) to the Graphics Interchange Format creator on the website. So go ahead and GIF!
You can personalize your GIFs in the same way that you can with most other Graphics Interchange Format makers (resize, crop, reverse, add captions, etc.). Ezgif is proactive in updating the website on a regular basis depending on user suggestions.
Some other tools for creating GIFs.
How to Create GIFs from Images in Photoshop
Creating GIFs in Adobe Photoshop takes a little longer than the other tools and products we’ve discussed so far, but it also provides you the most freedom to design exactly what you want. Here’s an example of a Graphics Interchange Format created in Photoshop following the technique described below:
Step 1: Load images into Photoshop
GIFs are made up of a series of photos (called frames), and if you already have a collection of images you’d like to transform into a Graphics Interchange Format, open Photoshop, then pick File > Scripts > Load Files Into Stack.
Then click the ‘Browse’ button and choose the files you want to include in your Graphics Interchange Format.
If you don’t already have an image set,
If you don’t already have a group of photographs in mind, you can use Photoshop to build a set of new layers that will act as the frames in your Graphics Interchange Format.
To add new layers to your Photoshop project, go to Layer > New > Layer and repeat the process until all of your frames are included. When all of your layers are complete, proceed to Step 2 and construct your animation.
Step 2: Create your Animation.
You must first organize your images into a timeline in order to animate a Graphics Interchange Format. This will create the animation’s flow and prepare your image collection for export as a Graphics Interchange Format. To get started, go to Window > Timeline. A Timeline will then appear at the bottom right of your screen.
Next, on your Timeline, click ‘Create Frame Animation,’ and then in the right-hand corner, click the menu and select ‘Make Frames From Layers.’
Now that your frames are in place, you should preview your animation. Check for any out-of-place frames by pressing the Play button in the bottom left corner of your Timeline. If so, simply drag & drop them to a different location in the Timeline.
Step 3: Export your GIF
Once you’re satisfied with the appearance of your Graphics Interchange Format, export it for use on your website, social media profiles, or anyplace else you want to share it. Click File > Export > Save for Web to export your Graphics Interchange Format (Legacy).
You should now see the ‘Save for Web’ window, where you can select the type of Graphics Interchange Format you want to create.
Select Graphics Interchange Format 128 Dithered from the “Preset” option. The number following the Graphics Interchange Format specifies the amount of colors in your Graphics Interchange Format, and incorporating Dither helps to decrease pixelation caused by color banding. Then, set the Colors option to 256. (the maximum number for a Graphics Interchange Format).
To see how it turned out, click the Preview… button in the lower left corner. It will launch your default web browser and loop a preview of your Graphics Interchange Format.
Finally, select Save as, give your Graphics Interchange Format file a name, and save your work to your computer.
How to convert a video into a GIF using Photoshop
Photoshop can also assist you in converting a video into a Graphics Interchange Format by converting each frame of the movie into a frame within the Graphics Interchange Format. Click File > Import > Video Frames to Layers to import a video.
You’ll then be able to select how much of the movie to import and whether you want to import every frame (for longer Graphics Interchange Formats, importing every other frame should be sufficient quality).
After you’ve imported your movie, use Photoshop to add text and captions and make modifications, and then repeat Step 3 from the previous tutorial to export your Graphics Interchange Format.
Do you remember Tumblr? Yes, it’s still around and valuable for Graphics Interchange Format culture and spotting tomorrow’s memes before they become viral. Explore all GIFs here, or use the Tumblr search box to find a specific Graphics Interchange Format type.
On Imgur, you never know what you’ll uncover – it may be a viral photo, video, or Graphics Interchange Format. Search by topic or activity, or try your luck with the site’s grab bag of fresh and viral GIFs.
Tenor, with over 300 million monthly users, is GIPHY’s main competitor due to its easier UI.
Tenor’s basic dashboard will appeal to GIFers who want to quickly locate what they’re searching for without any unnecessary bells and whistles.
Google Image Search
Google is maybe the most well-known search engine for anything, including Graphics Interchange Formats. To include only GIF images in your search, begin with an image search, then click “Tools,” and then select animated images under “Type.”
A word of caution: Because most Graphics Interchange Formats are protected by copyright law, be mindful of using them in your social sharing. Make your own gifs when in doubt.
Can I Convert My Videos to Gifs?
Absolutely! Any design, including videos, can be converted into an animated Graphics Interchange Format.
Upload your video to the Graphics Interchange Format maker, or select one of our video templates and tweak it to your liking. Once you’re satisfied with your design, click the Download button, then select the Graphics Interchange Format format choice from the drop-down menu.
How Do I Change the Size of My Gifs for Different Social Media Platforms?
Choose a template that is appropriate for your purpose before beginning your creation. Our library contains professionally created templates for Instagram stories, Facebook posts, and other platforms. However, if you want to convert any of your finished drawings to Graphics Interchange Formats, use our premium Magic Resize function to accomplish all of the sizing for you.
What Other Customization Options Are Available for My Gif?
You can alter it to meet your brand and goals whether you started with a template or even a blank canvas. You can use our drag-and-drop tool to add an icon, sticker, or illustration from our library to your design. You can also further customize your Graphics Interchange Format by selecting from a variety of text styles, fonts, and color schemes.
Can GIF files be used to store high-resolution images?
Graphics Interchange Format image files can only hold 256 colors, making them unsuitable for high-resolution digital camera photographs. Because of their ability to exhibit millions of distinct hues, JPEG files are a more common choice for images with precise details.
Is copyright law applicable to memes?
Many Graphics Interchange Format memes shared on social networking networks include bits of copyrighted content, such as photos from film or photographic organizations. It’s uncommon for copyright holders to sue people who create memes for non-commercial use, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Businesses who use animated Graphics Interchange Formats for commercial purposes, on the other hand, should follow their local guidelines and regulations when choosing Graphics Interchange Format pictures.
Are there any restrictions on the size of GIF files?
Many online Graphics Interchange Format generating tools have file size restrictions. The typical upper limit is 200MB. Time constraints also apply, with some software capping the length of an animated GIF at 15 seconds.
Limiting the number of photographs — or frames — in your file will also help you manage it better.
Can I include sound in my GIF file?
Graphics Interchange Formats cannot carry sound because they are not actual video files. Popular video file formats such as AVI, MP4, and WEBM can contain both sound and graphics.
What is the distinction between GIF and PNG files?
The PNG format is newer than the Graphics Interchange Format , but it has similar features, including lossless compression. One significant distinction is that only Graphics Interchange Formats support animation. PNGs are preferred over Graphics Interchange Formats for static website graphics because they can display more than 16 million colors rather than simply 256.
Where can I find animated GIFs?
Anime GIFs – Discover and Share on GIPHY.