What is an Animated GIF?
An animated GIF, also known as a graphics interchange format, is a number of images arranged in a file that is optimized to create a playback visual that continues to loop. The order of the images are placed in a sequence, most likely as they’ve chronologically occurred, that will begin to generate an animation. These animated GIFs convey short visual assets, without audio, that tell a story in a simple and concise manner.
Why Use Animated GIFs?
While this format has existed since the 1990s, animated GIFs have recently been on the rise as trending shorthand visual assets used on many digital platforms. These animations have the ability to quickly convey a significant moment or emotion that can perfectly capture the essence of any message. What’s even more beneficial is its trending relevancy to pop culture that can generate strong impressions to followers or target audiences, wherever it may be used. In addition, there is a find-and-share culture to animated GIFs which indicates the potential they have of facilitating high levels of engagement.
Benefits of Using Animated GIFs
Relevance: As mentioned previously, animated GIFs are one of the most common visual assets being created and shared online. For any person or business that uses or shares these shorthand animations, it conveys their knowledge base of current or trending digital content. Depending on the target audience of the user, these animated GIFs are great introductions or icebreakers that can fit any brand or theme.
Simplistic: Animated GIFs are essentially short movies that are displayed without audio. Whatever the story that is being conveyed, it’s clear that the visuals have the ability to tell that story from beginning, middle and end in just a matter of seconds. This is the most ideal method of communication for a digital era where the attention span of users is quickly decreasing. In addition to these short visuals, it’s common to add a short text or caption existing on the animated GIF that further engages the audience.
Increased Engagement: With animated GIFs connecting with audiences on the basis of relevancy, along with it comes increased levels of engagement. Information is quickly transmitted and consumed through popular digital platforms and animated GIFs can allow for a fun break from text heavy content and other visual monotony. As they are short in nature, choosing the right animated GIF at the right time has the ability to exponentially grow a page’s content through likes, shares, and comments.
How to Design an Animated GIF
There are many methods to create an animated GIF. While it can be manually done through softwares such as Adobe Suite, websites have now been developed to provide a more simpler method to its user. These are the most common ways that an animated GIF is created:
- Copying and Pasting a Video URL: Many websites offer this easy to follow template to turn videos into animated GIFs. What is great about this method is the simplicity in taking existing content and condensing it into a new and engaging format.
- Upload Photos or Videos: Another common method to create an animated GIF is having the user upload their own photos or videos to a website in the sequence they choose. Through this method, the user has the ability to create original content in a fast and simple way.
- Manually Create a GIF in Adobe Photoshop: Using the Adobe Photoshop application, the user is able to create an animated GIF from scratch. The benefit of this method is increasing the image quality and adjusting the specific timing for each frame used in the sequence.