Have you ever taken or seen a video you thought would make the perfect animated reaction GIF? Clips of videos from your own life or from social media often serve as the perfect, customized reaction GIFs. So you should turn it into a GIF immediately!

GIFs are ideal for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, email, Twitter, and docs.There's multiple ways to make a GIF:

  • Convert part of a video to a GIF
  • Combine images, GIFs, or video clips together into a GIF
  • Edit an existing GIF

Kapwing's free GIF maker can help with all three of these tasks. Unlike other websites, Kapwing’s studio is free with no watermark and no spammy ads. It works on phones, tablets, and computers, so it's a great resource for people trying to make GIFs on the go.

In this article, I'll walk through each GIF making technique and explain how you can make custom animation of your own.

Video to GIF

Some of the internet's most famous GIFs, like Leo cheering with champagne or the excited Jonah Hill screaming meme, come from movies. To make these memes, a creator found the movie scene, clipped out a small but memorable part, and converted that video into a GIF.

How do you convert the segment of video you want into a GIF? The fastest way to make a GIF from a video in by using Kapwing's Convert video tool:

  1. Upload or create your video
  2. Convert video to GIF
  3. Download and share GIF
Video Tutorial

Step 1: Upload Your Video

Open Kapwing’s studio and upload your video. You can upload from your device or paste the URL of your video (from YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) that you want to convert to GIF. In this example I’ll convert this video I took of me rolling my eyes to a GIF:

Resize your GIF to work with the channel you are planning on using. I love a good square (1:1) GIF but you can choose from a range of options. You can use the "Custom Size" button to set an exact dimension for the GIF output.

Kapwing Studio with Size Options

Step 2: Convert Video to GIF

Once your video has been uploaded to the Studio, go to your output settings in the upper right-hand corner (the button looks like a gear) and choose the “GIF” option. This means that when you Publish your video, it will export as a GIF.

Settings in Kapwing Studio

Trim out the part for a GIF. If your video is too long, the output GIF will look very laggy and grainy. A high quality GIF is no longer than 10 seconds.

To shorten the video clip, select the video layer and click the “Trim Video” option to cut out the section you want to convert to a GIF. You will see the number of seconds your GIF will last (in my case, 1.65 seconds). Adjust your trim with with sliders underneath/next to the GIF preview.

Trimming in Studio

It’s possible to convert any length of video into a GIF, but you should aim for your trimmed clip to be less than 10 seconds long. If your segment is more than 10 seconds long, your GIF may come out pixelated or with a very low framerate. Once you’ve trimmed your video, click “Done” to return to the Studio.

After your GIF is done, you can use Kapwing's design tools to apply other edits.

  • “Text” to add a title, description, or subtitle to your GIF. You can time out the text by clicking “Timeline” and animate text on the GIF by clicking “Animate.”
  • “Background” if your GIF doesn’t take up the whole screen and you want to change the background color.
  • “Images” to find images, stickers, and emojis to place on your GIF.

Step 3: Publish and Share

Watch the preview of your GIF a few times to ensure it's the right length. Feel free to use Kapwing's other editing tools to add subtitles, shapes, filters, animations, or more to the output. Note that GIF files do not support music, so your output will be muted.

Final Output GIF

When the preview looks right, click "Publish" to process the converted GIF. Kapwing will take a few moments to make the MP4 into an animated GIF file. Then, you can download, save, or copy the GIF to share with your friends. You can also share on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Combine Images to GIF

You can also create your own animated GIF from several images or from a combination of images including an aging time lapse, a subtitled video, an ode to love, and more! This is a great technique for people who want to make GIF logos or stop motions.

Step 1: Upload to New Scenes

Get started by opening Kapwing’s studio and starting with a blank canvas. In Studio's Settings, change the output type to GIF.

Then, use the Add Scene button to upload each one of your images, designs, or video clips to a new scene. These images will be combined together for an awesome animation in the GIF output file. Creators can also use text, image, and shape layers within the Studio to make their own scene-by-scene animation. In the example below, I made a 1.5s GIF by animating the image layers.

Animating text using Kapwing

If you're uploading a lot of photos, you can also use "Scenes" view to make easier access to timeline and rearrangement tools. Here's a GIF I made by combining photos of my family, for example:

Step 2: Time Each Scene

Animations have rapid, seamless transitions between scenes, so you'll want to shorten the duration of each scene to make it less than the default 3 second. Use the Timeline button (or the icon right next to the "copy" icon on the scene) to change the duration of each scene. You can make your GIF faster or shorter this way.

Step 3: Preview and Publish

Once you have all of the images playing as you want them and other layers positioned correctly, watch the GIF preview through to verify that it's correct. Then, click "Publish" to process your GIF from many images.

GIF Collage or Compilation

Of course, it's also possible to edit an existing GIF and combine multiple GIFs using Kapwing's Studio. Get started by uploading the GIF that you want to edit to Kapwing's Studio. Or, import GIFs from Giphy, Tenor, Google Image Search, or other websites by pasting the URL.

Creators also search for popular GIFs using the "Images" tool in Kapwing.

GIF Search in Images Tool
GIF Search in Images Tool

Then, make whatever changes you want to make. You can make a GIF collage by positioning two GIFs side by side, put a sticker on a GIF, add subtitles, caption or text to the GIF, add a GIF filter,  or generate a meme.

Then, change the output type to GIF in Studio's Settings and click Publish. If you create a GIF you LOVE, share it with us by tagging #kapwing for an extra like and follow.

For a more visual walkthrough on creating a GIF by combining videos and images, check out this video:


Thanks for reading! I hope this article helps you make custom GIFs galore and create perfect, hilarious reactions for social media. We've seen some incredible uses of GIFs by influencers, creators, and brands. Once you make your GIF, you can upload it to Giphy and access your animated sticker on Instagram.

For more ideas, tutorials, and features, check back in at the Kapwing Resources page or our YouTube channel.

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