Animated GIFS are great! They are a sequence of several still images that appear kind of like short videos and they play on all devices including phones and tablets. They can give your site a "jazzy" kind of feel and added information. For example, here is a GIF animation for the diagram and first stages for the assembly of Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin.
Some new free APPS create animated GIFs easier than ever -- and you no longer need to purchase PhotoShop Image Ready to create animated GIFs. This post will provide some helpful tips to prepare for making animated GIFs. Followed by the "pros" and "cons" of four APPs that I've tried recently.
If you would like some additional background on GIFs, visit some of the previous GIF-related posts listed at the bottom of this post.
TIPS on GIFs
1) Create the images you plan to upload for the animation. All images need to be the same size and shape (either vertical or horizontal) before you start. It doesn't work to mix landscape and profile layouts in the same animated GIF.
2) DO NOT put animated images near each other on your site. It drives viewers "wacky" to look at multiple moving images that are not synchronized. Make sure the next animated image is far enough down on the page so the two animations can't be seen at the same time.
3) DO NOT resize your animated GIF after you make it. It will not animate. Decide in advance the size for the final animated image
I love the ease of this new technology for creating an animated GIF but it has limitations.
Below are four APP sites for comparison with the pros and cons.
Gickr will allow you to upload images from your computer. They say that you can also use your Flickr or Picassa site which would be great except I could NOT figure out how to make it work....This is just infuriating when the instructions aren't clear. Even asking for help from my tech savvy expert daughter didn't solve the problem.
Gickr pro and cons:
- Allowed upload of large 2-3MB images from your computer
- Adjustments for the final animated image size up to 450px. (That was bigger than the other sites.)
- Adjustment for animation speed.
- Deleting an image was possible. This is a great feature, because a one click mistake on the other sites and you had to start the animation over from the beginning.
- Image download
- Embed code for the image URL
- Adjustment for animation speed was Slow, Normal, Fast
(without a specific numerical value so it was a guess.)
- No constrain proportions options, so you can easily distort your image.
- Maximum of 10 images for an animated GIF.
ImgFlip pro and cons:
- Uploaded large images but you had to upload all the images after selection
- Animated image size limit is 300 px width or height.
- No "constrain proportions" options so you can easily distort your image
- The default animation GIF size is a square, so make sure if you change the rectangle dimensions, they are in the right proportions.
- Adjustment for animated speed in NOT slow enough.
- No download for the animated GIF image
- Embed code to post the animated GIF to the HTML on your website or blog slowed down the load time for my web page. Slowing down load time is not good. It is one of the 200 criteria Google uses to evaluate your website quality.
- This site appears to allow a fixed number of free animations per day.
Below is my test example showing people threading pencils for Pick Up Your Pencils, Begin at Maker Faire 2009. Using ImgFlip site was fast and easy. It uploaded individual 2.5 MB images quickly, but the default animated image default was a much smaller image. I was able to recalculate the size, but be careful.
Since I couldn't slow down the animation more than what you see below it was not a great choice. This speed is way too fast for a photo combination, and would be better as a flashing arrow, or blinking eye.
Despite the self appointed description of "Best Gif Maker on the Planet", ImgFlip is one of my least favorite APPs because of the size limitation.
GifMaker.Me pro and cons:
- Uploaded large images but you had to upload one image at a time.
- Allows up to 30 images for your animation.
- Allows combination with music from YouTube. (See the animation of our Thanksgiving dinner at the bottom of this post. Click on the image or the link.)
- Final animated image size limit is larger than other sites.
- Animation adjustment allowed a delayed start this is the only site that had this option.
- "Constrain proportions" option so you can avoid distorting your image. This was the only APP that I found with this option.
- Adjustment for animated speed is very wide adjustment.
- Allows GIF to play backwards!
- After a week our fabulous animated GIF of the Thanksgiving table was completely gone. The animated GIF dissappears....poof! We don't know why. Maybe adding the YouTube link for music caused this to happen. I will be checking into this and updating this post.
- The small animated GIF below still works.
- This site put a white border above and below my image. Yuk! Ifyou have a white website it may not matter to you. For me the image is unusable except for this demo. I am very disappointed because this was the best animated GIF site.
- Perhpas you can figure out out to get rid of this border.
MakeAGif looks kind of cheezy, (bouncing boobs and dancing girls are a real turn off) but I decided to try it anyway.
Make a gif pro and cons:
- Allowed me to upload 18 images and it looks like I could upload even more.
- Allowed upload of large 1.75MB to 2 MB images.
- Click and uploaded images so that they uploaded simultaneously while you selecting your next image.
- Allows you to rearrange the order of the images after they are uploaded.
- Allows tags for your animated GIF.
- Allows download of animated GIF.
- No uploades of images over 2 MB.
- You can not delete an image...this is not good. Once you have your set of images for animation... if you have a duplicate or unsuitable image, NUTS! you have to start over.
- No "Constrain Proportions" thus you could easily distort your animated image.
- Adjustment for animated speed in NOT slow enough, even the slowest speed was a little too fast. I experimented with this image and uploaded two doubles for some images so that I could have a image linger for a longer period of time.
I did not like the categories on the site for my GIF. Obviously they are usually dealing with questionable entertainment content and I am concerned about sharing my images on a site with sleazy entertainment.
I recommend using the custom size for your animated GIF.
One fabulous aspect for MakeAGif was that you could download your own image. Bad news was they inserted a MakeAGif logo onto my image. Do you see it? If I had made the animation myself in PhotoShop Image Ready that would never happen.
New APPs can create animated GIFs super easy but not all APP sites are created equally. If you know of a better APP recommendation let me know.....every site had different limitations, pros and cons.
I prefer to animate the GIFs myself to control quality, but if you don't know how to animate GIFs, these APPs are good quick options.
My one concern is that these GIFS made from the free APPS will work not work on all technology, tablets and devices since the APP may be Flash based. Let me know if the animations do or don't work for you.
Working on the pencil installation with young student 2011.