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So I taught myself how to make gifs and made one and was so proud of myself… but now Tumblr won’t load it. Welp. I guess I’ll try uploading it again later.

The rest of this post is about how I did it and is mostly for my own reference, but maybe it will help somebody else? I dunno.

I don’t have any videos of Phineas and Ferb, I just have netflix, so I found this post when trying to figure out how to make gifs using netflix. Not super useful since I don’t have a mac, but it did point me to Free Screen to Video, which I used for my recording. Seems to work for what I’m trying to do, but just as a warning the download comes with a bunch of junk like a custom search bar and stuff. So don’t blow your way through downloading it, make sure to unclick all of that junk.

I used this video on youtube as a guide to make the gif in GIMP (since I’m lame and don’t have photoshop). It also pointed me to the GIMP Animation Package or GAP available for download here. Based on the comments, a lot of people seemed to have problems with downloading GAP but I didn’t. Instead I was getting stuck on trying to load my video into GIMP. I tried saving my videos as .flv, .avi, and .wmv. But the recording software, although it showed .wmv as a valid save type, didn’t seem to want to save any videos when at that setting, and GIMP kept crashing whenever I tried to load .avi files with it. The .flv files did load, but then it would only load a maximum of about 60 frames which was very annoying. Someone on the youtube video commented that they tried pressing “Accept” instead of “Cancel” at the pop-up in GIMP when you load a video, so I tried that and suddenly everything worked. Looking in my file, it seems that the pop up let GIMP save the video file as a whole bunch of .xcf frames. Well, at least it worked. :)

The hardest part was trying to get the .gif to a reasonable enough size to load to tumblr. I resized it to fit within 500 x 500 pixels, and started with an 8.93 MB monstrosity. First I cropped it to just focus on the elf, cutting it to 7.02 MB. Then I opened up the file as frames in GIMP and deleted every other one, cutting it down to 3.54 MB. (Note this is different from the youtube video — he first exported the file, deleted the frames, then reimported it. I’m not sure why, maybe he didn’t realize he could just open it as frames in GIMP and save himself the extra work?). Then I used Filters > Animation > Optimize (for GIF) and cut it down to 1.42 MB. BUT! This is a bad idea. You should add your text first before optimizing. I’m not sure why I did it this way, but I had to do a bunch of extra work at the end to fix it. After that I alternated between cropping (with a focus on eliminating colors, since I read that lots of different colors is one of the things that makes a gif file really big) and re-sizing until I was under 1 MB.

I used this video as a guide for how to add text to my gif, and this tutorial for how to make an outline for my text. Highly recommend that second part — it makes the words a lot easier to read and also just makes it look a lot better. Keeping in mind that I didn’t want to add extra colors, I used the color picker to grab the white of his shirt for the text and the dark brown of his hair for the text outline. I saved everything and went to look over my work.

And that’s where optimizing before adding the text bit me in the ass. The way the optimizer works is that it makes parts of some frames transparent if they’re similar to the frames before. Well since I added the text on top of these transparent frames, instead of a smooth transition from one sentence to the next it sort of did this ugly fade thing. So I had to go back and fill in the background. Fortunately there was a bit at the beginning of the gif with no text, so I just grabbed the background from that and fixed it. But it was a huge pain, so next time I’ll just do it in the right order.

Then I optimized it one more time and went to go upload it to tumblr but — oh, the post seems to have caught up to us in real time. Anyway, behold! And that’s how I made my gif.