How to create animated GIFs on Mac


From time to time, I like to include GIF animations in my posts on iDB. I usually use GIFs when I want to demonstrate some functionality without making a full blown video to do so. GIFs are great for quick demonstrations where videos aren’t necessarily needed.

Whenever I include a GIF animation on a post, there’s usually at least one comment inquiring about how I went about making the GIF. Although there are many options out there for creating GIFs, including using Photoshop, I personally prefer GIFBrewery ($4.99 on the Mac App Store) from the folks over at Hello, Resolven Apps.  GIFBrewery is solely focused on creating GIFs, and thus, it’s fairly straightforward and easy to use.

In this post, I’ll show you my GIFBrewery workflow, and how I use this awesome Mac app to quickly create great-looking GIF animations from videos.

Source video

Since GIF animations are animated, video makes a great source for creating GIFs. All of the GIF animations I create are based on videos, which work perfectly with GIFBrewery.

Fire up GIFBrewery

Once you have your video stationed on your desktop, launch GIFBrewery. A dialog box will appear for locating the source video file. You can also use File → Open to locate the source video file.

GIFBrewery Source Video


Since GIF animations generally don’t liked to be resized via HTML, it’s important that you set the desired size while creating the GIF. You can do this by clicking the Resize button at the top of the interface

GIFBrewery Resize

Set in and out points

You usually don’t want a GIF animation to be too long, therefore, you’ll need to set realistic in and out points for your GIF’s duration. You can do this by moving the playhead on the video and clicking the Set Start and Set End buttons. You can also drag the yellow and red in and out points to fine tune your selection

GIFBrewery IN and Out points

Set GIF Properties

GIF Properties allow you to determine the frame count for your animation, along with GIF color depth. You can also set options for looping, loop count, palindrome effect, and much more. Play around with GIFBrewery’s options to find a setting that works well for you. Generally, the lower the frame count, and the less colors you use, the smaller the GIF will be.

GIFBrewery Properties

Create GIF

Now it’s time to export your masterpiece. Click the Create GIF button, and your GIF animation will begin to process. The amount of time it takes to export will depend on how long and how complex the animation is. Once the export is complete, you’ll see a file size listed above the final GIF animation. If the file size is too large, that indicates that you need to constrain your in and out points, reduce your frame count, reduce color depth, etc. Fortunately, it’s super easy to go back and change things in an effort to experiment.

Save GIF GIFBrewery

Save your GIF

Once you’re satisfied with your GIF’s look and file size, click the Save button to save the animation to your desktop.

Chair Palindrome

The best advice that I can give you is to guess and check. Not every export setting works great across the board for every GIF animation. You’ll also need to consider your source material. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and you’ll have a lot of fun creating great-looking GIF animations in no time.

Again, GIFBrewery is a well-regarded app that can be found on the Mac App Store for $4.99. If you plan on creating lots of GIF animations, its focused GIF-making mechanics make it well worth the asking price.

What’s your favorite app for creating GIF animations? In a follow up tutorial, I’ll share my go-to app of creating GIFs directly on the iPhone.