GIFs are handy little files that allow you to embed short video almost anywhere you can post pictures – they’re even searchable in Google Images! But while there are plenty of places to find GIFs, there aren’t many good places to create and edit your own GIFs online. And most places that allow you to create your own GIFs only let you use video files to make them, rather than allowing you to use photos, as well.
But for countless types of GIF content – posters, ads, invitations, ecards, to name a few – it can be 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, a free online video editor that works on your phone, tablet, and computer. Here's what you'll need to know:
- Upload your photo to the Kapwing Studio
- Animate your project
- Process & Download as a GIF
Step 1: Upload Your Photo to the Kapwing Studio
If you’ve saved your picture onto your device, just make sure you know where it's located. If you're uploading photos from your desktop, it's a good idea to have your file browser open, so you can click & drag your content into the Kapwing Studio. You can also find your photos anywhere on the Internet (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google Images, etc.) since Kapwing lets you easily import pictures from almost any site. All you need to do is copy the link to the photo or its webpage.
To upload your content, just go to Kapwing.com and click “Start Editing.” Or, if you're already signed in, click "New Project," then "Start with Studio." 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 the link to the picture you want to upload. If your picture is easily accessible, you can also drag & drop it into the Studio window, and it will upload 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 some animated text. In the Studio, click "Text" in the upper 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. Just click the "Animate" button on the right side of the Studio and choose from 5 different animation styles, each with variable speed and other options.
You can also add shapes, other pictures, and animated stickers to make your picture move. First, click "Timeline" in the top toolbar and choose a starting option for your GIF's duration. 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.
If you want to use an animated sticker on your picture, click "Images" from the top 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, and click "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!