Aztez – A Game of Conquest and Brutality
25Feb/135

Making GIFs Out Of Footage

Inspired by the amazing work that Team Hitbox likes to post on their Tumblr account in animated GIF form, I underwent the process of figuring out how to do the same thing. I've experimented with this before but with terrible terrible results. GIFs are such a fun and easy way to share exciting motion, and now that I've figured it out I'd love to share it so you can do the same thing with your awesome game. First things first, you need to capture some footage. I use Fraps. It's a super useful and cheap program that will capture a window and dump a near lossless video in the directory of your choice. There are many options for video capture and you should use whatever you're comfortable with. But Fraps is my preference and always has been. For me, I set up a scene right in Unity and tell Fraps to capture right out of the viewport.

Once you've captured an awesome moment, take your footage into the video editor of your choice. I use After Effects! Now apparently, older versions of After Effects would let you export right into an animated GIF, but newer versions on 64 bit machines don't allow you to do that. So if you have that option go for it! But for me, I've got to render it out into a Quicktime file. The beauty of this is that the default Quicktime settings are perfect! It's high quality, renders quick, and is vital to the next step.

Once rendered into Quicktime format, it can be imported into Photoshop by going to FILE > IMPORT > VIDEO FRAMES TO LAYERS. From there, you can go to FILE > SAVE FOR WEB and spit it out as an animated GIF. I found that the default settings are great but feel free to tweak it to suit your footprint needs. I was able to make a couple sweet GIFs quickly and easily using this method. Here's one of them:

As an alternative method, here's what the Team Hitbox guys said about how they do theirs:

"We have 2 ways of making our gifs: 1) The easiest one is for animations straight out of the modeling program.  We just export a sequence of PNGs straight from 3dsMax.  Then we open them in Photoshop as an image sequence.  It lets you edit them and export as an animated GIF. 2) For in-game footage, we recorded a lossless AVI video of the game with Fraps.  Then I opened it in VirtualDub (a free program http://www.virtualdub.org/), cropped and resized, and exported as a gif."

I didn't use this method because I spend very little time in my 3d modeling app and it wouldn't have been practical, but it's a completely legitimate method. Please employ either of these methods and introduce more awesome gifs into the world! :)

  • https://twitter.com/szymon_kurek Liosan

    I recently found Licecap – http://www.cockos.com/licecap/ – a GPL utility that basically captures a bit of the screen and converts it to a .GIF. I haven’t tested it yet but looks awesome.

    • http://www.benruiz.net Ben Ruiz

      Whoah nice! That looks like a hot as hell utility. Thanks!

  • http://musicofthespheresgame.com Hamish

    VirtualDub works best for me. Adobe air looks kinda confusing, while virtualDub gives you everything you need and not much more (so long as you remember to go video->filters for cropping and resizing and shiz).

    Hey, since I feel proud of it, here’s my latest gif. It’s a preview for my next article! https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-caCxp64X1RA/USajiOw5wYI/AAAAAAAAAK0/iqJUL99bxew/s480/high+FPS.gif

    • http://www.benruiz.net Ben Ruiz

      Interesting! Thanks for the data points, my man. Can’t wait to see the article!

  • Matt

    Great tutorial, I’ve always worked with 2D and making GIFs from a 2D source is really easy, but it’s good to see that if I ever transfer to 3D work I can still make GIFs with ease.

    Also, very nice animations!