Image to GIF: How to Turn Photos into Animated GIFs

For many types of GIFs – posters, ads, invitations, ecards – it's best to animate a simple image or series of pictures by using moving text effects, GIF stickers, or geometric overlays. In this article, I'm going to show you a quick & easy way to create GIFs from your photos by using Kapwing.

Image to GIF: How to Turn Photos into Animated GIFs

A GIF combines the best features of images and videos into a single file that's shareable and easy to view in chat rooms, social media comments, and emails. The eye-catching imagery paired with entertaining movement captures reactions that are otherwise difficult to type. While these moving images are bountiful online, you may want to create GIFs with your pictures to further personalize the conversation.

Finding the right tool to create and edit GIFs with photos can be challenging. In my experience, many editors allow you to convert videos to GIFs, but creating GIFs with pictures isn't supported. The perfect editor lets creators upload pictures from various sources and has tools to edit GIFs to perfection.  

For example, posters, ads, invitations, ecards, to name a few can be animated by using moving text effects, GIF stickers, or geometric overlays. In this article, I'm going to show you a quick & easy way to create GIFs from your photos by using Kapwing, a free online video editor that works on your phone, tablet, and computer. Here's what you'll need to know:

  1. Upload your photo to the Kapwing Studio
  2. Animate your project
  3. Process & Download as a GIF

Step 1: Upload Your Photo to the Kapwing Studio

If you saved your pictures onto your device, I recommend renaming each file to a term you can easily remember. It may help to create a folder with your assets to make uploading to Kapwing Studio a breeze. You can also find pictures on the internet (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) since Kapwing lets you easily import pictures from most sites. All you need to do is copy the image link.

To upload your content, visit on any device with a browser, then click “Start Editing.” If you're already signed in, click "New Content." This will take you to the Kapwing Studio, where you can use all of Kapwing’s editing tools in one place. Once you’re in the Studio, either select “Click to Upload” and search in your file browser, or paste an image URL. If your picture is easily accessible, you can also drag & drop it into the Studio window to upload it automatically.

Step 2: Animate Your Project

Kapwing gives you several options to animate your still photos. One of the easiest ways to add motion to your picture is to add animated text. In the Studio, click "Text" on the left toolbar. This will add a custom text box to your picture, where you can add whatever text you want on your image. By clicking and dragging the buttons around the edge of the text box, you can resize, reshape, reposition, and rotate your text. Using the tools in the side toolbar, you can change the text box's font, color, style, and animation. Click the "Animate" button on the right side of the Studio and choose from nine different animation styles, each with variable speed and other options.

Choose among 5 different animation styles, each with different customizable aspects. 

You can also add shapes, other pictures, and animated stickers to make your picture move.

Back in the Studio window, you can add any layer you'd like: if you want to toggle between different images, click the "Add Scene" button on the left side of the Studio and click "Upload" to add different photos to each scene.

Here, I clicked "Images" and searched for transparent sun GIFs, for a bit of character on the beach. 

If you want to use an animated sticker on your picture, click "Images" from the toolbar, and search for any animated sticker you want – try to add terms like "sticker," "GIF," or "transparent" to the end of your search query to limit your results to the type of GIF you want to use. Once you've added your sticker, you can click & drag its corners to reposition and resize it. You can drag the ends of the layer to change the duration and drag and drop it onto the timeline to change when it appears in your GIF.

Step 3: Process & Download as GIF

Once you're done animating and editing your animated image, click the "Settings" button and change your Output File option from "Default" to "GIF." Return the the Studio and click "Publish" in the upper right0hand corner, and Kapwing will begin processing your GIF – this shouldn't take more than a few seconds.

When your GIF is finished processing, click “Download” from the right side of the screen. You can also click "Edit" to make changes to the GIF or click the icons to share it directly to social media. If your GIF has a Kapwing watermark on it, just sign in and save the watermark-free image to your Workspace – it costs nothing, and takes just a couple clicks!

Remember to tag us @KapwingApp on social media to connect and share feedback. We love to support and hear from our users. For. more articles, be sure to subscribe to the Kapwing Resources page – we’re constantly writing new tutorial and features to help you make the most out of Kapwing.

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