It seems like animated GIFs keep getting more and more popular around the Internet these days, even though they originated all the way back in the 1990s. But despite their sharp rise in usage on social media, it hasn’t really gotten any easier for people who perhaps aren’t so tech savvy to share animated GIFs of their own. Searching for often poorly tagged images online makes the situation even worse, so the solution is to create them.
A few tools have so far made life easier for people who don’t necessarily want to dig into Photoshop for results, including one that can turn a short screen recording into a GIF in seconds — still a great solution for Windows users. Today, we’re taking a look at two of the most user-friendly applications for creating GIFs on your Mac. They both approach creating GIFs differently, so here you find out which one is best for making and sharing them on the fly.
Creating a GIF with GIF Brewery 3
GIF Brewery 3 creates GIFs in a number of ways, depending on your preference. The primary method you can use in GIF Brewery is by importing a video you store locally on your computer, then converting a clip from that video to an animated GIF file.
The application supports trimming parts of the clip, cropping the size of the clip, adding a text overlay as a caption and more. It even includes quite advanced controls like having multiple text and image overlays that you can time to come in at any point during the sequence. Separately, you can edit properties like frame count, frame delay, frames per second, loop type, loop delay, color count (up to 256 — standard for GIF files) and more.
On top of being able to do all of this with video files, you can also capture screen recordings and turn those into GIFs, capture webcam video, and even hook up your iOS device and capture the animations on those for GIF material.
Note: One small downside of screen recording is that GIF Brewery automatically records your entire screen, then allows you to crop it down to a specific portion later. Eventually, you’ll get to save only a part of your screen as a GIF (if you’re, say, trying to record a video playing on screen) but it’s a tedious extra step to get there.
Creating a GIF with Giphy Capture
Brace yourself: recording a GIF with Giphy Capture is a long, painful process.
Step one, open the app on your Mac. Step two, highlight the area of your screen you want to record. Step three, press record for the duration of time you want your GIF to be. Congratulations, you’ve created a GIF with Giphy Capture. Tiring, right?
The app has an interface reminiscent of Apple’s Photo Booth. It’s as bare as it gets, save for the thumbnails of all your saved recordings. When a recording is done, you can save it to your computer, upload it to Giphy and get a web link, or edit the GIF.
Editing tools include the ability to trim the length of the GIF, choose normal, reverse or ping pong (back and forth) loop, edit the size of the dimensions to small, medium or large and add a caption. Clearly, the editing tools aren’t nearly as extensive as GIF Brewery 3 but the simple, straightforward UI is part of Giphy’s appeal.
You might be thinking that’s only a $5 price difference, but many software buyers aren’t interested in the exact number difference. All they care about is the simple fact that Giphy Capture is a free app and GIF Brewery 3 is a paid app. So if you’re willing to spend any money at all will dictate which app you get.
It’s difficult to pick a single winner among GIF Brewery 3 and Giphy Capture because they clearly serve two different groups of people. If you really want to tinker with the GIFs you create as much as you possibly can and don’t mind spending some money, GIF Brewery 3 is the way to go. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more capable GIF tool for Mac or PC.
On the other hand, if you just want to create fun GIFs to share with your friends without taking too much of your time, definitely just download Giphy Capture. Even if you want to make a GIF out of a video on your computer, you can just play it and use Giphy to record the portion of the screen it’s playing on. It’s free and has just enough features to comfortably get by.