When it was first released in 1987, not many people knew what the popularity of the graphics interchange format, or gif, would look like. When the world wide web started to gain more traction, many of us were being introduced to gifs for the first time, and simply found them as fascinating moving pictures.
These days, however, gifs are an absolute art form on the internet. There are entire forums dedicated to people who make high-quality gifs and see who can come up with the best that also tell a story. Gifs are serious business on the internet, and it’s essentially how we’ve begun to communicate without using words that don’t really translate well through text.
But how do you make the perfect gif that’s sure to please everyone? It isn’t easy and takes a lot of technical know-how, but once you get it right the first time, you’ll be making perfect gifs in your sleep. Let’s take a look at what makes a gif great, and learn the art of the perfect gif.
Sure, there are some gifs that end up going viral that could be considered “grainy” at best, but if you truly want to make the ‘perfect’ gif you have to focus on quality. Some of the best gifs that you’ll see on the internet have a resolution of at least 480p, with some being at 720p or 1080p. Some gifs look like they were ripped straight from a high-definition digital movie screen, and that’s how you want yours to look.
There are millions of gifs on the internet, and there was once a time when a high-quality gif would take far too long to load on a screen. With the increase in internet speeds around the world, though, there’s no such thing as a gif that’s too large. People can even resize gifs if they have slow computers and still want to see them.
You could come up with the best-looking gif in the world, but if it has someone in it that nobody knows (or hasn’t yet gone viral), it probably won’t get a lot of traction. Most gif-makers know that to get a lot of attention, the gif itself has to come from an entertainment source, or at least have a familiar face.
There are so many great gifs that are taken from movies and television shows. You can even add your own text to a scene to make it more unique. This has been done on just about any topic, from making “Seinfeld” characters talk about football games to “The Simpsons” characters talking about politics.
The biggest reason that gifs have become such a mainstream success and a staple of both personal and professional use is that they can be used to show a reaction to just about any situation. Whether it’s reacting to some great news or showing general sadness, a reaction gif can sum up what words never could.
There is legitimately reaction gifs for every emotion on the spectrum. Through host sites like Giphy or Tenor, you can simply type in how you’re feeling and you’re going to be bombarded with an endless amount of gifs that fit that emotion. We’ve probably all used some sort of gif of someone dancing happily on a Friday morning, knowing that the weekend is fast approaching.
If you want to impress other people who make gifs, aim to make them as long as you possibly can. Seriously, there is an online group of gif-makers that create ones that are several minutes in length. If you want a gif that’s going to end up going viral, you should try to keep things short. This doesn’t mean less than a second, though, as there has to be enough time for something to happen.
Some of the finest gif-makers have said that the sweet spot for gifs is between three and six seconds, though you should try to keep it closer to the three-second mark. Many gif-hosting sites won’t even allow an upload of a gif that lasts for more than 15 seconds, either, showing that short and sweet is applicable to gifs.
We mentioned that there are some great gifs where people put their own text into other scenes, but make sure to be careful of how wordy your gifs are if you want them to become popular.
Those that have no words at all end up becoming more popular in the long run. If you have to add a word, try to keep it to just one or two words. We’ll reference Friday again, which is one of the more popular reasons to send gifs. If you simply add the word “Friday” to a dancing gif, it’s not going to be too wordy.