BLOGGING TOOLS — MOVING PICTURES

Greetings!! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything other than The Night Beyond the Tricornered Window and Tackt Op.Destiny, so I wanted to talk about an open source program I use to make my gifs. It goes without saying that I don’t know what I’m doing, and what I’m sharing here are the results of my playing around with the software, all trial and error. You might get better results depending on the different settings you choose, or discover features that I didn’t. Without further ado I present you: Screen to Gif!

It’s a very simple and straightforward software, I love it.

After launching the software, you can click on the recorder and get a window like the screenshot above. It’s adjustable and records whatever’s in the frame. It’s very useful because it gives you the option to gif a certain part of the video instead of the whole panel. You can also see the fps (frame per second) value, which is again, pretty straightforward. The higher the value, the more frames will be added to your gif and smoother it will look, but the ending gif will have a larger file size. I leave it at 20 fps by default, sometimes increase to 25 if the gif is really short, and do further adjustments later on. After adjusting the settings, all you need to do is to click record, and then stop to record the portion you want to gif!

After you’re done with the recording, what you see are the frames screenshotted by the software. You can manually pick the frames you want to delete or duplicate, so you don’t need to be super precise when you’re hitting the record button. On the lower right, you can see the play button that plays the frames consecutively to give you a sense of how your gif will look. I have to mention though, the pace is a bit slower compared to the end result so there were times where the gif looked okay on the software, but on the actual gif, a certain scene was cut too short you only get a glimpse, which looks abrupt. As I got used to the software, I got a better sense of how the outcome would be like so I’m sure you’ll get better in no time as well.

You got the frames you wanted, and now it’s time to encode the gif! When you click the ‘save as’ button above, you’ll get the adjusting options as seen on the right. There are different presets you can try out, I used some of the options for you. Apart from the default presets that belongs to ScreentoGif, other extras can be easily downloaded through the software. Below you can see the file sizes and how long it takes to use the options. For ffmpeg, gifski, and system, I chose lower quality/smaller size options because it’s important to decrease the file size as much as you can. I also tried ScreentoGif’s high quality option and surprisingly got smaller file size compared to default, but forgot to take the screenshot.

File size is really important. Not just for faster loading, but if your blog is as image-heavy as mine, you might encounter technical problems later on. Some of my older gifs were too big and weren’t compressed and when I encountered a problem with my blog, some of my posts with big gifs were a problem to restore by the WP people. Not only that, if you decide on downgrading your plan in the future for certain reasons, or want to take your time before renewing, if your media library is above the GB limit of a lower plan, you can’t post anything on your blog. The moral of the story is: don’t be like me and don’t clutter your blog!

Before I move on to post my results, compressing! You can see that the file sizes are huge except the gifski one (but the outcome looks horrible, I’ll get to that) so it’s important to compress your gifs before throwing it into your posts. I mostly use GifCompressor (or sometimes I Love IMG, since the previous website have an upper limit of 50 MBs). I’ll also add the results embedded as imgur links below:

The default option offered by ScreentoGif. I don’t usually get ‘flaring’ like this, visible on Titat’s hair but it turned out like this for some reason.
This is the High Quality option offered by ScreentoGif. One of the best outcomes, but it’s 43 MBs.
This is lower quality ffmpeg. The result is 30 MBs and it’s better in the sense that the quality-wise looks the same with the high def version above with lower file size, but has a different kind of downfall.
This is done with gifski.
This is done with System’s lower quality option. Original file looks very clear and not grainy, but it’s 43 MBs so I wanted to upload on imgur.

And here are the compressed versions:

Compressed version of HQ default. 22 MBs
Compressed ffmpeg. Looks worse compared to other compressed files, but 13 MBs.

In the end, how well these presets and compressions turn out depend on what kind of scene you’re giffing as well. Movement, colors, brightness or saturation all play a big role in the result and you have to be the judge on which to choose. Additionally, unless you use a true color monitor how the colors will look heavily depends on individual devices, or the size we’re viewing the gifs in impacts the quality. A grainy gif might look okay on the blog in a smaller size, or you might get a grid-like effect when you decrease the size. For example:

I thought I got the grid-like result on the left due to the preset but i just needed to zoom into the gif. It didn’t show up in the screenshots, hence the lame quality of my phone and the flare on the right.

I love gifs a lot and would like to learn more on how to get better at doing these myself rather than blindly relying on settings or websites but that’s a challenge I don’t have time to take on as of now. I hope this little tutorial was helpful and next time instead of searching for hours for that one precise gif you’ve been looking for, you’ll easily make it yourself. That’s all for today, and as always, don’t hesitate to contact me on my Twitter or CuriousCat if you’re curious about something I do on my blog and how I go at it. You can also click here for the other posts in this segment. Have a nice weekend ahead, and see you around!

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