If you’ve been scrolling through your social media feeds or the internet today, you’ve probably come across a few pictures that can move. Do you know what it’s called? The answer is GIF. But what is a GIF and what does it do?

GIF 101: Definition, Types, and Its Purpose

What is a GIF?

You should be familiar with GIF if you’ve read BuzzFeed blogs or visited sites like Tumblr. GIF (Graphics Interchange Format), in their most basic form, are animated images created from video or images that loop indefinitely and are appropriate for usage on the web.

It was invented in 1987 by American computer scientist Steve Wilhite as a technique to compress images for file downloading, animation, and simple graphics over the day’s slow, limited bandwidth dial-up Internet connections.

Because it is made in this manner, unlike a video, the file size is minimal and easily shareable by text, email, social media, and so on. 

Animated GIFs have now become the standard form of social media comedy. It’s so popular that the Oxford English Dictionary named ‘GIF’ the Word of the Year in 2012.

How to Pronounce GIF?

There are two types of groups of thought on how to pronounce GIF. Most people pronounce the term with the hard “g” pronunciation (as in “guess”) from the word “graphics” in Graphics Interchange Format.

However, it is actually pronounced “jif,” like the peanut butter brand according to Steve Wilhite, the designer of the original GIF format. 

Despite that, individuals continue to engage in passionate discussions about GIF pronunciation. Both Merriam-Webster and the Oxford Dictionaries list both pronunciations, so you’re technically accurate no matter how you say it.

Also read: What is 2D Animation and How Do You Make One?

What Exactly is a GIF File?

GIFs are animated files made up of numerous frames that can individually employ up to 256 colors. GIF are smaller than other images, such as JPEGs or PNG files, due to their limited color palette. Furthermore, GIF are compressed using a lossless compression approach to reduce file size

To generate an animation, a GIF file cycles through each frame. The impact can be subtle depending on the images utilized for each individual frames. GIFs, for example, can be used to add sparkle, move an arm, or simulate a person’s chest rising and falling as they breathe. Transition effects, on the other hand, can change one frame into the next. You can, however, add completely separate frames to a GIF to produce a more dramatic change.

It’s important to emphasize that these are labeled short animations of images rather than videos because GIFs are not videos, despite what most people believe. GIF files, as you may have seen, do not include any sound or audio.

These types of files come with many advantages, such as:

1. Simple to Make

GIF are fairly simple to create. All you need is a collection of images. With these images, you can quickly create GIF.

2. The Size of the File is Small.

This is a significant advantage of animated GIF. These files are much smaller than other file types. As a result, the file’s quality is preserved, and the loading time is reduced.

3. Viewing Does Not Require Any Additional Software.

Most flash animations require the installation of software or plug-ins in order to be viewed. GIF, on the other hand, do not require any software to see because they are considered normal images. They are viewable on any device.

4. Images Appear Professional

GIF have a transparent background, allowing you to utilize them on your website. Using GIF with no background gives your website a professional appearance.

5. When Compressed, It Doesn’t Lose Quality.

This is another significant advantage of GIF. They can be compressed to make them smaller. Not much quality is lost in the process.

The Various Types of GIFImages

GIF are not all created equal. Before you connect a GIF to a social media post or your website, it’s vital to understand the many types of GIF images and make sure you’re using the correct one for the scenario.

1. The Reaction GIF

Reaction GIF, maybe the most well-known genre, is a means to express reactions and feelings.

Film and television are the sectors most responsible for the content shown in most reaction GIF. Outside of Hollywood, reaction GIF are used in marketing by replacing textual responses with animations.

Reaction GIF are often used to enhance a user’s online comment.

2. The Cinemagraph GIF

Cinemagraphs are a hybrid of photography and animation. These GIFs have a quiet, peaceful quality since they only include one or two, usually slight areas of motion, such as distant waterfalls or city streets. Because of the visual effects, it appears that time is passing rather than a single moment recurring.

Because of its professional appearance and peaceful tone, travel and fashion industries use cinemagraph GIF. Because of their intricacies, this type of GIF necessitates more editing skill and flair, as well as a tripod.

3. The Perfect Loop GIF 

Whereas the cinemagraph GIF is calm and quiet, the perfect-loop GIF is more lively. Basically, this GIF is a recording of an event that has been smoothly looped. 

The final frame of the shot seamlessly transitions back to the first frame. Even if the viewer is seeing the same 7-or-so seconds over and again, he or she may lose track of time due to the GIF’s seamlessness.

4. Technical GIF

Thanks to technical GIF, searching the internet for important marketing data is no longer an unpleasant process. Technical GIF turn dull data into interesting information. This type of GIF is particularly handy for marketers who wish to integrate data, diagrams, or graphs in product descriptions.

Also read: 3D Animation: Definition, Phases, and Best Software

What Is the Purpose of GIF?

GIF are employed in a variety of contexts, thanks in part to their widespread acceptability. Aside from the Memes that many users share, brands are increasingly using these images in their communications and marketing.

Here are some of the ways GIF can help your marketing.

1. Easy to Understand

Let’s be honest. It’s difficult to keep consumers’ attention for more than a minute these days. Animated GIFs allow users to interact with the format more rapidly and readily consume the content.

2. Communicate a Story or Explain a Process

GIF are excellent for conveying your point fast and succinctly. It is sometimes easier to describe something in an image than it is in words. GIF can be used to show step-by-step instructions, short recipes, follow along with procedures, or convey a story.

3. GIF Elicit Emotion and Demonstrate Personality

This is arguably the most common on social media – how individuals express themselves using GIF in response to a specific scenario or occurrence. GIF are excellent for bringing humor to your posts (or messages) and connecting with your audience. They can also highlight the personality of your brand.

4. Highlight a Product or an Offer

You can use a GIF to give your audience a closer look at your product and highlight some of the elements that will tempt them to buy or download it.

5. Increase Clickthrough Rates

GIF increased clickthrough rates by an average of 26% when used in email newsletters. That isn’t everything. Emails containing GIF generated 12 percent more income than those without animation and might generate up to 109 percent more revenue. If that isn’t a compelling cause to ask your custom writing service for GIF, we don’t know what is.

6. Show about Your Company’s Culture

GIF are a terrific method to communicate to everyone on the outside how cool your company culture is and how great it is to work for. Give them bits of how you work, how you have fun at work, what your daily routines are like, and so on, using GIF. You may always make changes to provide the greatest feed for everyone.

7. Make Your Content More Interactive

Instead of making your customers feel like they’re reading plain text, use GIF to provide a more engaging and immersive experience. Using GIF to explain things will be entertaining for them and will enhance your social media engagement.

8. Give Everyone a Sneak Peek

Are you planning to release a product to the general public? But you don’t want to reveal everything and destroy the surprise; instead, you want to give your audience a sneak peek. What better method to give them a glance of what you’re working on than with GIF? It not only keeps the tension going, but also improves their experience.

What Should You Know When Making a GIF?

What Should You Know When Making a GIF?

With the majority of our communication taking place online, it is no wonder that we have discovered ways to express our feelings via GIF. 

A good GIF should be something that helps you establish a mood or that fits the environment. However, there are a few things to take in mind when creating a GIF.

1. Should Draw Attention

It serves no use to make a GIF that someone is certain to ignore at first glance. GIF should pique a visitor’s interest right away.

Another reason GIF are so popular these days is that businesses have heavily modified them, and any marketer worth his or her salt would want to attract the attention of their audience.

The most crucial goal to bear in mind when creating a GIF is to capture the attention of the viewer. The one you design should be able to make such an impression at first glance.

2. Mobile-Friendly

If you do not create GIF that are suitable for ordinary smartphones, your project will fail. Expect at least 9 out of 10 users to share the GIF using their mobile phones. 

Always keep the little screen in mind when designing. Everything you create for the web should be mobile-first.

3. Shareable on Social Media

The social media platforms you see have varying size restrictions. As a result, make sure to reduce the size of the GIF so that it may be shared across all social media sites.

4. Keep Things Simple

It is easy to become overwhelmed when designing a GIF because there are so many different aspects that can be employed. Assume that if you wish to build a looping GIF, it will entail more variables, and someone unfamiliar with it will do a poor job. 

As a result, it is critical that you begin small, and after you are comfortable with producing GIFs, you may progress to more complicated ones.

5. Accessible

Avoid anything that is overly gaudy or dazzling because it may bother persons with delicate eyes. Only by being conversant with accessibility and web standards will developers be able to cater to a wide range of audiences. Simple stuff like vector animation, inline SVGs, and so on function great.

6. Convert Videos to GIFs

You don’t have to rely solely on illustrators; simply import any video into Photoshop and transform it into a GIF. Giphy makes it simple to divide your films into frames.

7. Be Creative

It is an excellent platform for anyone to display their creativity. Because the recipients of these GIFs are mostly young people, there is a bit more leeway than on other sites to be eccentric or come up with something out of the ordinary. Because GIF typically does not have large costs, even a failing project would have little impact on the business.

Also read: Stop Motion Animation 101: The Best Way To Do It

How to Create a GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)

While GIFs have the appearance and feel of video files, they are significantly easier to make. To create your first GIF in only a few minutes, you don’t need any experience with difficult edit processes or post-production software. Here are three common GIF production options for you to try.

1. Make Use of a GIF Maker App

There are many excellent GIF creation applications available for free on your phone that allow you to create your own GIFs. You can use these tools to upload photographs and make a GIF from start to finish. You can also use your own photos as well as interesting extras like text overlays, filters, backgrounds, graphics, emoticons, and other adjustments.

Whatever platform you use, the process is the same: register an account, upload your photographs, tweak various settings such as your GIF’s speed and duration, add extras, and export it as a GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) file.

2. Make One From a Video

You may be wondering why I would want to turn a video into a GIF if I already have one. There are numerous explanations for this.

For starters, GIFs load significantly faster online than videos, which can result in fewer views or interactions. Second, GIFs are an excellent way to repurpose current video content. If you have a 2-minute video, you may export dozens of GIFs from it and utilize them on social media, marketing emails, and other digital platforms (more on that later). Finally, there are occasions when a video is unnecessary.

Or perhaps you want to add a slice of movement to your digital content but don’t need anything too long; GIFs are the answer. Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent video-to-GIF converters available online. Some are free and simple, while others are paid but have interesting added features and functionality.

3. Hiring a Professional GIF Designer 

Don’t want to go through the trouble of creating your own GIF? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

We can help you express yourself with a bespoke GIF design designed only for you by a professional designer at Superpixel.

Collaborate with us and have fun while we bring your GIF to life. Superpixel always starts by learning everything we can about your brands and businesses. We’ll assist you to express what’s most important in developing your own GIF that can help boost your marketing strategy or build your company’s communication personality.

Get inspired and begin planning your amazing GIF design right away!