How to view GIF files on Windows

Creating GIFs: How to create animated GIF files on Windows

Animated GIF files may seem old hat to some users, but the steps for creating GIFs are by no means familiar to everyone.

GIF - that stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Corresponding files are part of the cultural heritage of the Internet - and are often incorporated into forums or account profile pages by users. Visitors see such funny animations, sometimes they are also terrifying. Movements like GIF are not possible with other formats like JPEG; therefore the Graphics Interchange Format is something special. Although it only supports 256 colors, that does not usually affect the successful entertainment. Technically, it is a bitmap image format, so enlarging such graphics results in a loss of quality. Incidentally, GIF is not always GIF: MS Paint under Windows does not generate any animated GIF files. For this you need one of numerous programs, four of which we present to you here: Any To GIF (packs several individual images in a GIF), GifCam (films what is happening on the PC and saves it as a GIF), Free GIF Maker from DVDVideoSoft (converts videos to GIFs) and AniMake (a flip book classic, similar to Any To GIF).

Create GIFs: Search engines and GIF viewers

Before you start with practical tips for the programs mentioned above, two tips: Virtually any browser is suitable for opening GIF files. Internet Explorer 11 already does this; Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Chromium Edge are also suitable. To call it, drag a GIF file into your browser or press Ctrl-O. In many cases, even image viewing programs have no problem opening them. With MS Paint, things look different, the on-board tool only shows the first image within a GIF image sequence. Paint users should keep their hands off GIF edits, as these destroy the animation (which other software no longer displays). Don't you want to create new GIF files from scratch? Then search for GIF files on the Internet - see the overview in the following article:

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Any To GIF: Create GIFs with image conversion

A simple solution to merge several images into an animated GIF file is Any To GIF. Start the software and select "Add Pictures". An open dialog appears: Hold down the Ctrl key and click the images you want to use. Confirm with "Open". The selected images appear as a preview. To adjust the order, move the thumbnails using drag & drop. At the bottom right under "Delay time" you can choose a value other than the standard 400 milliseconds; this is how long each image appears in the final GIF animation. You can change the value in steps of 10 by clicking on the up or down arrow. Click on "Animation" at the bottom left to show a preview. If you want to save, use the "GIF" button at the bottom right; In the window that opens, define a file name and a target path and finish with "Save".

Any To GIF is simple and produces useful results.

GifCam: Create video and save as GIF

The portable GifCam starts from its file without installation: Double click on GifCam.exe, done. The tool films what is happening on the PC and immortalizes it in a moving image file. First you determine the size of the program window - the recording is just as large. This works in such a way that you move the mouse pointer to one of the window edges and individualize the dimensions with the handle while holding down the mouse button. Click on "Rec" in the bar at the top right to start a recording. You end it with "Stop". After clicking on "Save", define a file name and target path and confirm the creation of the GIF file with "Save".
In addition to GIF files, you can also create videos in AVI containers: Click the arrow next to "Save" and select "Export To AVI". A save as dialog appears in which you enter a file name and storage location. Common browsers do not play AVIs, but only start a file download when dragging and dropping such files into their windows. Hence, you need a media player like VLC to play it.

GifCam.exe has only four buttons and is therefore easy to use.

Free GIF Maker: Convert Video to GIF

The multimedia software manufacturer DVDVideoSoft not only offers good programs, but its Free GIF Maker is recommended. It converts existing video files into animated GIF images. Click "Add File" in the middle of the program window to import a clip; alternatively, drag & drop works from Windows Explorer. Select "Create" at the bottom right. A window shows the encoding progress, which lasts a few seconds; with "Open Folder" you open the target folder in the file manager. The default storage folder is always C: \ Users \ \ Videos. If you would like to use the source folder of the material as the GIF storage directory in the future, go to "Options> Options", check the box in front of "Save in input folder" and confirm with "OK".

The Free GIF Maker creates GIFs from videos - all you need to do is import and save material.

AniMake: GIF Making Tutorial

You can also create a GIF that has animation with AniMake. The classic among the GIF generators offers many setting options and therefore requires explanation. The GIFs produced by this tool are also a good alternative to Adobe Flash: The latter plug-in and the Flash format (FLV) as well as the Shockwave Flash format (SWF) are also quite old, but plagued by security gaps. GIF and HTML5 are more up-to-date in terms of security. Both are suitable for animating websites. AniMake generates solid GIFs, with an additional function optionally also Shockwave content. The latter is reserved for the advertising-free version. That is why we will only focus on the topic of GIF in the following.

After downloading, unzip all files in the animake.zip archive; By the way, just extracting the SETUP.exe file is not enough, because this program alone would hang up while running (which does not happen if you unzip completely). After the complete extraction, start SETUP.exe with a double click and select "Next> Next> Install". At the end of the setup procedure, the AniMake start menu folder opens automatically. You start the program of the same name by double-clicking the link in this folder (or use the start menu search function and browse through it by entering AniMake this on).

AniMake is not the prettiest program, but it does produce pretty decent GIF art.

Create a new project in AniMake, which you fill with the files that should appear alternately: It starts with clicks in the menu bar on "File> New", alternatively press Ctrl-N. An AniMake window opens in the existing software window. Fill the new area with the desired files, for which you select "Edit> Paste from file" in the menu bar. In the open dialog that appears, use the top drop-down menu to navigate to the folder in which your preferred material is located; You can also change to a directory by entering the corresponding path in the lower window area in the field next to "File name". Select the desired image files while holding down the Ctrl key and click on each of them, then add them to the AniMake main window with "Open". If AniMake asks you to sort the new entries, you can leave the setting at "no change" and transfer the selected images to the main window by clicking "OK". Tip: Image files to try out can be found preinstalled in Windows under C: / Windows / Web / Wallpaper - Windows 10 also brings together older Windows 8.1 desktop wallpapers in addition to its own.
To find out which image content is hidden behind which imported file, click on the corresponding entry in AniMake; The prerequisite for showing a preview is that a checkmark is set for "View> Image preview" in the menu bar; add it if necessary. In order to rearrange your images so that they appear in a certain order in the soon to be created animated GIF, mark an image entry and move it using the arrow symbols (they are located in the toolbar below the menu bar, below its menu item "Extras" ); repeat this for other image files. Alternatively, you can rearrange them using the menu bar: "Edit> Move entries up" or "Edit> Move entries down" is the click path; and, yes, even with only one (!) selected file, the plural form is specified in AniMake.
Determine how long your images should be shown in your GIF animation: If you double-click each of your entries, the "Options for the frames" pop-up window will appear. The fourth menu item from the top, the "dwell time", is important. Here you enter a number in milliseconds and AniMake lets the respective content appear in the final image for a correspondingly long time. Type in 2000 for about two seconds (for the corresponding number of milliseconds, ms). In the standard it is (unfit for practice) 50 ms. Confirm with OK".

The most beautiful wallpapers for Windows 10

Before starting the GIF generation, you can optionally edit your imported images: If you mark their entries, you will be offered some editing options under "Edit". Among other things, you apply a mirroring effect, with "Create negative" you realize strong color deviations. If you want to achieve an endless loop for your GIF sequence, click on "Animation> Settings" above and make sure that a -1 is set in the field next to "Repetitions". AniMake uses this value by default. If you enter a different value, the viewer program repeats the playback of all images contained in the GIF according to the number specified. At the end you create your GIF file: To do this, go to "File> Save As". In the following, enter a storage location, a file name and, below it, "Animated GIF image" via the drop-down menu.
Further storage options are available with an AniMake project file and Shockwave Flash, although the Flash format is not unusable: If you select it and click the "Save" button, you will learn: "Saving in Flash format is only ad-free Version possible! " If you have selected the GIF option and clicked on "Save", AniMake will calculate the image.

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