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What Is a GIF? The Ultimate Tech Guide

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The most popular GIF used on GIPHY has over four hundred million views and features the iconic drag queen Jasmine Masters being shocked, with the words “and I oop!” You’ve probably seen it, or heard of it, or seen the other top 25 GIFs that have millions of views each.

GIFs have taken over the internet in the best way possible. There are so many different uses for them, and anyone can make their very own version to share. But you still may be wondering, what is a GIF, and how do you use them? Read on for the ultimate tech guide on GIFs.

What is a GIF?

So, what are GIFs? GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Formats, but you don’t really need to know that. It is pronounced “Jif,” similar to the peanut butter brand. GIFs are just image files, similar to a JPEG file format. The GIF file format can be used to make still images, but that’s not all.

The GIF format is so special because it can also be used to create an “animated image.” This is different than a video because they are more like flipbooks and usually don’t have any sound.

GIFs weren’t created to make these moving images, but once it was discovered that the file format could hold multiple pictures at once, like a flipbook, the animated image was created.

GIFs were established in 1987 by CompuServ, making them even older than the World Wide Web. Today, they may just be more popular than ever before.

Why are GIFs popular?

There is a variety of reasons that explain why GIFs are so popular. GIFs are generally used to communicate humor, feelings, emotions, and jokes. They are easy to find and easy to make, and most people can relate to the funny animated image they were just sent from that hilarious moment on that classic TV show.

Because GIFs are made using the media, GIFs can be popular with all generations (if they learn how to use them). There can be a GIF made from a show from the 70s or one that just premiered yesterday. Humor is a great way to relate and communicate, and a GIF can be that bridge between people.

GIFs are also being used more and more for marketing strategies within different companies. A clothing company might use a GIF to show off a new outfit. Instead of a still image, you can see the clothes in action, which makes the buyer more likely to buy, especially online.

This is true for all different types of brands. GIFs can be used to add a little extra to that ad to catch your eye when you’re scrolling through social media. If it’s moving and it’s eye-popping, you’re more likely to pay attention to what it says.

They are also often used to communicate while at work, to help employees connect and lift the company morale. Channels like Slack see tons of GIFs within the communications each day, and more GIFs are popping up in work e-mails. Using a GIF can say a lot more than words, and it can make you and everyone else laugh while you’re at it.

How to Use GIFs

Using a GIF isn’t difficult, which is another reason that so many people are able to use them. If you haven’t before, don’t fret! You’ve probably used something similar, like an emoji. Like emojis, you use GIFs in place of words or to add to your words.

So, if someone did you a favor and you wanted to thank them with a GIF, you might use something like this. Sites like GIPHY and Gyfcat make it really easy to find pretty much any GIF you’d want, as well as create your own.

You also probably have a GIF keyboard on your phone, similar to your emoji keyboard. If you do, all you have to do is search your keyword such as “thank you,” and all the relatable GIFs will come up. Choose your favorite, copy it, and you can send it via text message, e-mail, direct message, and more.

Also, don’t worry about downloading them. This could lose the quality of the GIF, and you can usually find them at a later time or make an account at a site like GIPHY to save your favorites.

How to Make GIFs

What if you search all the GIFs and can’t find the particular one you’re looking for? That’s simple. Make your own! Learning how to make a GIF can make your GIF using experience even more fun and exciting.

Generally, you will start with a particular video of a moment you want to capture. It doesn’t matter how long or short the video is since you’ll be cutting it down. As mentioned before, GIPHY and Gyfcat are some of the best sites to use to create a video-to-GIF.

You simply upload your video, or provide a YouTube link, and then cut it down to the appropriate moment you want to create. Then, you can customize your GIF and even add text.

There are also GIF-making apps, such as GIF Maker, which allows you to create GIFs on your mobile device. The process is similar to using a website, though you might not be able to customize it as much.

GIF Takeaway

Now that you know the answer to “what is a GIF?”, you can start your GIF journey and begin using them! Spice up your conversations and drop a funny GIF to make your coworkers, parents, or siblings laugh.

Use them for your business to better your brand, or create your own to show off your personality. There are so many ways to use GIFs, and you’ll be a GIF professional in no time. If you found this article helpful, check out more of our content to learn something new today!

Written by Casim Khalid

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