This Make is opportunity to learn how to make an animated GIF from any YouTube video using the Giphy Gifmaker. As an experiment it’s interesting to see what portion of the same clip people will isolate from the source video.

To practice making GIFs, all responses will use this same clip of Blanco Canyon Sequence of the movie Big Country (1958). You do not need to know anything about the movie (heck it’s just a Western, cowboys and horses, etc), but use your imagination to find what seems like an important or interesting moment. Something you can isolate in just a few seconds in a looping GIF.

In movies like this, look for facial expressions in characters, interchanges between characters, action sequences.

It’s not required but if you think you might create more than just one GIF, you can start by creating an account on giphy. This will make it easy to find ones you have made, and it creates a nifty portfolio for all gifs you make there.

The Giphy GIF Maker allows you several ways to create animated gifs.

We use with the bottom option entering the URL for a YouTube or vimeo source video. Paste in the URL for this video

This brings up a (silent) view of the video and the Trim Video controls you can use to select a portion of the video to make into a GIF. With giphy you can select up to ten seconds of any video clip to generate as a GIF (3-5 seconds is a better length to keep the file size smaller).

That’s not very much! The art is finding a loop that does not appear too jerky.

Pick the start point and how many seconds your GIF will last. Aim to make as smooth a loop as possible

Use the bottom slider to select the start time of the GIF and the bottom one to pick it’s length. The preview will show you the loop for just this selection. Aim for the shortest length possible but also that makes use of the looping point to emphasize something important in the clip.

But wait, you are not done yet! You can also add a caption to your GIF, give it dialogue. Click the Continue to Decorate button to add a caption, stickers, and even paint on the image.

Adding a text caption with the “Decorate” tools

For the first GIF, add a caption which perhaps comments on the scene or what you imagine the dialogue might be. You can choose from color, text style, even animation effects. Click the text box to drag and even rotate. There is not a way to change the size, but experiment with adding blank space on either side of the text to make it smaller.

If you like, add stickers, filter effects, and even paint on the gif.

When you are satisfied, click Continue to Upload to generate your new GIF. Review, maybe add a netnarr tag, make sure the public option is on, and click Upload to Giphy.

Once your GIF has been created you will see it has its own URL (example) and a set of options for downloading or sharing in social media. Make sure you use the URL of your creation when you enter your response to this Make.

Keep a record of the link to your GIF.

Now go back, and make a second one, but in this GIF, do not add any caption text. What can you suggest or indicate with the looping video only?

In your response share some of the reasons that you chose a segment and what you imagined happening. What are you able to communicate? Use either GIF link for the example in your response, and make sure you include the URL to the second GIF in your response.

For the example in this Make, we have the captioned version, which alludes to a lack of good cellular service

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

and the one without, which the cowboy is clearly frustrated and not in control of anything, least of all, his GIF!

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Example for "Many GIFs From One [Western] Video":

Animated GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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10 Responses for this Make

  • NOT IT!
    by Vanessa Castrillon (@nessacastrii))

    This gif can have many significance. But or me, I am the cowboy riding off when I am at work and the teachers ask who wants to change diapers. I’ve been changing diapers for hours, give me a break!

  • When mom caught you slippin
    by Vanessa Castrillon (@nessacastrii))

    A lot of students can relate to this. When my mom leaves to do some errands, she always tells me what to do around the house and the main chore was the dishes. But, you are home alone, do you think we want to do chores! No Way! But when we are caught, its a more… »

  • m e o w
    by hailey (@stryii))

    I think this picture speaks for itself. All I can say in my defense was that I was very pleased with the filter and sticker selection Giphy provided, since it did not disappoint. I think the animated sticker of Tina from Bob’s Burgers was a wonderful touch, and really captures the artistry that GIFs are more… »

  • expression
    by hailey (@stryii))

    What I would’ve liked: a close-up of a horse being very naturally beautiful and majestic. What I found: a man who looks so disappointed that I feel like I somehow disappointed him just by looking at him.

  • Uncaptioned (Alternate Title: #BYE)
    by Marissa Candiloro (@rissacandiloro))

    I love this GIF because it doesn’t need a caption, as the meaning is clear. In this selection, the actor isn’t merely riding off on his horse, he is jumping on the horse, whipping around, and leaving. In my opinion, this is the perfect GIF to use when someone is saying something wrong or annoying, more… »

  • When you see on Facebook that your friend is back with her ex
    by Marissa Candiloro (@rissacandiloro))

    I chose this segment of the video to use for my first GIF because of the look on the actor’s face as he takes his hat off. I don’t know the context, but it seems like a look of resignation, which is exactly what I associate with the caption, “when you see on Facebook that more… »

  • Tough Times Call for Desperate Measures
    by Tiffany Santos (@tiffsanto))

    When someone wants to test you patience and instead of giving them what they want, you walk away. It is always better to walk away. I felt that this clip was an excellent clip that portrays a message without a caption. It can mean or represent anything. I chose to do mine based on defusing more… »

  • It Sucks to Suck
    by Tiffany Santos (@tiffsanto))

    I chose this clip because it reminds me of when you present to the class in school and you think you did such a good job. You used visuals, props, the whole nine and then you finish and realized no one really cared. It’s the worst feeling in the world, so I felt that this more… »

  • When the Wifi is Down
    by helterskelliter (@helterskelliter))

    On a scale of 1 to OMG WTF how much does it suck when you get somewhere and find out there’s no wifi??? Wifi went down on campus last week and I swear more than half the campus packed up and left. It is a real inconvenience when you can’t get on the internet–especially when you’re trying more… »

  • The End
    by Mark Wilson (@mcorbettwilson))

    This is the end Beautiful friend This is the end My only friend The end [Verse 1] Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end No safety or surprise, the end I’ll never look into your eyes again [Verse 2] Can you picture what will be? So limitless and free Desperately more… »

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This work by Alan Levine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


  1.  Week 6.0: Reading GIFs is Fundamental – #netnarr

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