How to Make an Animated Gif

The other day I posted about my latest adventures in packing because I'm moving (yes, I'm still so excited). At the beginning of the post I used what's called an animated GIF. Here it is if you missed it:

I got a lot of questions/comments about it, so I thought I'd write a little post of explanation.

What the heck is an animated GIF?
"An animated GIF is a graphic file type that is composed of many different images on top of each other. Together these images are compressed and work together, creating movement, and give the appearance of a mini movie. GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format." - Wendy Russell via About.com

You can pronounce it like"giff" or like "jiff," but apparently the creators said "jiff." (This seems to be a point of contention in nerd land.)

How do you make one?
The first step in making an animated GIF is taking (or making) a bunch of pictures. For my packing GIF, I set up my camera and tripod then took a photo each time I filled my box a little. ProTip: Keep your frame of reference as consistent as possible. If your backdrop moves wildly, the animated effect could be lost and you'll give your viewers motion sickness!

Here are all my packing photos without the animation:

Once your photos are ready, you can use many different programs to animate them. I usually use makeagif.com because it's free and super easy, but you can also use photoshop (here's a tutorial from Pugly Pixel), or many other apps/programs.

Oh my gosh I'm so excited that I'm going to use them ALL THE TIME!
One thing to consider before you go GIF crazy - some people find animations very distracting, even to the point where they won't stay to read the rest of your content. Be careful not to overload your website or blog with flashy images because they could drive your readers away! Try to stick to GIFS that have minimal movement or really help illustrate the point you're trying to make.

7igLqD on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

If you want to see animated GIFs used beautifully in the blogosphere, I highly suggest you check out Kristin's blog, K. She has this amazing knack for making GIFs that enhance the energy and voice of her posts without being annoying.

Whacha think? Something to try?? If you do, be sure to leave a link in the comments - I'd love to check your GIF out!