Sharing looping, moving pictures online. To be honest, GIF isn’t the best format for this sort of thing. I’m sure you’re aware by now – GIFs are what you see on those Top 10 Things You Must Feel If You’re A Human kind of posts. You’ll also know that GIFs are usually blurry, pixelated and aren’t very good when it comes to accurate color reproduction.
But somehow, it’s become the standard. It works everywhere from desktop browsers to iPhone, Android, and even apps like Flipboard. Services like Imgur and even Google are trying to improve upon the GIF but as of right now, our pixelated, slow, heavy and looping friend is here to stay.
One of the ways to actually use GIFs productively is as a tutorial tool. It’s better than pictures, it keeps lopping, doesn’t require interactions (like video) and doesn’t have sound (so it’s not annoying).
GIFcasts. Is that a word or did I totally just come up with it? (Apparently I’m late to the party. The domain gifcasts.com is already taken but used to showcase luxury bedding for some reason).
It’s not just how-to blogs like ours who can use GIFs to help viewers. It’s a good way to show someone far away how to do something specific.
Need to exchange design/UI critique? Show them the problem with GIFs. Need to show your mom how to open that Word document? Send her a link with the GIF. It’ll play in the browser – no download necessary.
Best Tools for Recording GIF Screencasts
The tools listed here are for recording screencasts and instantly sharing them as a GIF with someone over the web via a link. If you’re looking to record screencasts with more features and control, you might want to consider other options.
CloudApp (only for Mac) is a really great tool to take a screenshot and share it with anyone on the web. If you’re running CloudApp 3 and above, you can do this for screen recording as well. Hit the global keyboard shortcut (or select the option from the menu bar), select the area on your screen and start recording.
Once you’re done, the screencast will be converted to a GIF and uploaded to your CloudApp account. A link to the GIF will be sent to your clipboard so you can paste it anywhere.
If all you want to do is share gifcasts over the web with someone, CloudApp is the best and simplest way to do this.
RecordIt is a screen recording app for Mac and Windows that comes with GIF support. Using the app you can record your screen for up to 5 minutes (that’s for videos). The screencast will be uploaded to RecordIt’s servers where you can share it in both video and GIF form.
I tested it on the Mac. You can start recording by pressing the menu bar utility, selecting the area and clicking the Stop button in the menu bar when done.
The app will then take a couple of seconds to encode and upload both the video and the GIF. You’ll then get a notification. You can click the banner to view the video on the web. There’s also a GIF button and a Tweet button.
Have you recorded any glorious gifcasts? Share with us in the comments below.