Way back in the day, back when the internet went public in the early 1990s, websites had two basic image file formats which complemented one another. One was JPEG, perfect for photos or images with many colors. The other was GIF, the graphic interchange format which created smaller images with fewer colors. GIF has largely been replaced by the PNG, the portable network graphics file format, but one component of GIF lives on. Animated GIFs. They were used more for visual tricks and advertisements back in the day, but have made a resurgent comeback in the mobile era.
A perfect example of how animated GIFs can be used today is PicGIF, a GIF maker for the Mac which creates animated GIFs from videos and photos. PicGIF is more like a little video production house for GIFs than anything else. Think iMovie but for GIF photos and videos.
Drop in photos or a video clip and PicGIF converts it to an animated GIF which is easily shared online or via email. Any video clip can be trimmed and edited, but there’s also the option to overlay text, fonts, and stickers, or apply image effects.
Even the frame rate can be adjusted and controlled (within GIF parameters). The real-time preview lets you see the animated GIF before converting, and the final image can be optimized to the highest levels possible for GIF images.
PicGIF lets you make image slideshows using photos from iPhoto, and it imports almost any photo file format or video format a Mac can handle (JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PNG, TGA, RAW, PIC and MOV, MPEG, MP4, M4V, 3GP, AVI) but the output is always an animated GIF.
Use PicGIF to edit other animated GIFs, too. There isn’t much to not like here, especially if you’re a fan of animated GIFs. What I haven’t figured out is why animated GIF movies have made a comeback since MP4s provide higher video quality and compress in size nearly as well.