So, where can you find gifs? You use a gif search engine, of course. Here are four options I like.
Giphy. In addition to being a gif host, Giphy is also a gif search engine. Gifs are tagged by uploaders with hashtags relevant to the gif, and you can search through those tags. It’s a little fickle, though. As you can see with my test search – the Secret of Kells movie – a lot of gifs simply have “secret” as a tag that comes up. Unlike most search engines, Giphy doesn’t respect quotation marks, so you can’t search for whole phrases and exclude other content.
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Gfycat. Speaking of Gfycat, it’s one of the other top options I like. It’s all user-created as well, but it has a lot more in the way of tags, including a lot of Tumblr-like commentary tags. It also respects phrases much more completely, so my test query shows a ton of relevant results and very few extraneous results.
Google. Yes, you can use Google specifically to find animated gifs.Plug in your query, go to image results, and click “tools” off to the side. Under tools, click “type” and select animated. This filters your results to only show you animated gifs relevant to your query. You can impose other filters and use all of the standard Google search operators here as well.
In order to use a gif on Facebook, simply follow the process above to upload it to Giphy and post it in your composer. One thing to note: if you’re not certain about the usage rights of the image, make sure it’s something you can get away with using! You don’t want someone to issue a takedown because of a goofy animated gif, right?
The Easy Way: Using a Web Gif Creator
What happens if you know what you want, but you can’t find a gif of that exact moment to use? Well, that’s where you need to make it yourself. You will need a source, generally a video clip on YouTube or hosted on your local computer. To continue using the example I’ve been running with, we’ll use this video as a source.
The two main options I like to use are Giphy – again – and Makeagif.com. For Giphy, hit the “create” button in blue up at the top. For makeagif.com, click the “youtube to gif” tab. For both, paste in the YouTube URL.
For Giphy, you are presented with the video in a preview at the top. You have two sliders; a start and an end slider. Set the exact time you want the gif to start and the duration of the gif. Below that is the “caption” field, where you can add text, and set the style and color of that text, to make your own meme or caption. Below that are tags, the YouTube source, and the “create gif” button. Once you’re satisfied, click to Create Gif and it will be processed and uploaded automatically. Here’s a test I made in a few seconds.
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I like MakeAGif because it’s fast and simple, but it does have the downside of watermarking your final product. It also doesn’t allow you to add your own text. It’s good for quick, goofy reaction images like Buzzfeed, but beyond that it’s not useful for much. Giphy is much better in general.
The Difficult Way: Using a Gif Capture Program
A gif capture program is a program that records what’s on your screen and converts it into a gif for you. There are a lot of different ways to do this, but I prefer GifCam. GifCam is a surprisingly simple app with a lot of depth beneath the hood. You start it out and it’s just a transparent app window with buttons to the side. You resize and reposition the window to cover what you want to animate as a gif, then click “rec” to start recording a gif. Beneath the window, you do what you want, whether it’s playing a YouTube video, recording a portion of your screen, or even just dragging the window around to a different part of your screen.
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