CinemaGIF Pro

Today the animated GIFs are popular than ever. The web is full of them. Animated GIFs with cats, dogs, fails, movies, tv shows, again cats, loops, cartoons, animals, santa, more cats, flicks, … There are numerous web sites full of such animated GIFs.

Moreove, the web is full of tutorials for doing such animated GIFs. You can do them for free, in GIMP or you can pay some $$$ for Photoshop and get them done there. Because these tools are meant for other purposes, they are not very comfortable for an average user for making such GIFs. Some other folks are offering a web page were you can upload your frames and download the resulting animated GIFs. These are a bit uncomfortable too.

This is why I started developing CinemaGIF. It took me 10 winter evenings to get it in a beta stage. CinemaGIF is a spare time project. I don’t work full time on this. There are no other people working on this project. Like my other project (GMS) this could become pretty popular too, but since I don’t do any advertising, this will happen only with your help. So, if you like it feel free to spread the word. It may happen that people will not agree with the fact that CinemaGIF is the most comfortable tool to make animated GIFs, but I’m committed to make it so. So, feel free to give your feedback when I’ll get some spare time if your feedback really makes sense toward this direction I’ll consider it and I’ll code it.

There are two versions of CinemaGIF: CinemaGIF Pro and Live.

Here are the differences between the CinemaGIF Pro and Live.

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Feature CinemaGIF Pro CinemaGIF Live
Capture from Screen YES YES
Capture from Video YES NO
Capture from WebCam YES NO
Add text YES YES
Framerate Control YES YES
Selection YES YES
Frame Editor YES NO
Image Processing YES NO
Quality Control YES NO
Price Free* Free

*)
In the following section I will explain in few words how you can use CinemaGIF. Feel free to read it and start experimenting. Your imagination will give for sure many cool animated GIFs. Feel free to experiment various sequences, framerates, etc.

CinemaGIF Pro Usage

Before you read further you need to consider CinemaGIF as “work in progress”. CinemaGIF can capture from 3 sources:

  • Movie (various codecs and formats are supported: mov, wmv, avi, mpeg-1, mpeg-2, mpeg-4, h264, mkv, …)
  • Screen (limited framerate)
  • WebCam, TV Tunner or any standard windows capture device (planned)

Movie Mode

Movie mode is used for capturing from a movie file.

  1. Click the Video button, to open a video file from your local drive or networke
  2. Seek the video, by moving the red cursor in movie slider (bellow the movie window)
  3. Use the video controls buttons to locate the movie section you want to capture
  4. Use the video controls buttons to locate the movie section you want to capture
  5. Use Record Frame button to capture individual frames (useful for stop motion animated GIFs)
  6. Use Record button to capture all frames at the full speed
  7. Navigate the capture video thumbnails and Mark In and Out the sequence you want to export as GIF
  8. Press the Loop Preview button to see how the GIF will look
  9. Fine tune the loop. Use Pong mode to get a smooth loop
  10. Fine tune the application settings
  11. Click Render to get the GIF

Screen Capture Mode

Screen Capture Mode works similar with the Movie Mode. The big difference is that instead of opening a file you need to move/adjust the capture window on the screen to get the area of interest inside. The Screen Capture mode obviously doesn’t support seeking. Once the windows is adjusted and you see the screen capture stream in the left window follow the following steps:

  1. Use the video controls buttons to locate the movie section you want to capture
  2. Use Record Frame button to capture individual frames (useful for stop motion animated GIFs)
  3. Use Record button to capture all frames at the full speed
  4. Navigate the capture video thumbnails and Mark In and Out the sequence you want to export as GIF
  5. Press the Loop Preview button to see how the GIF will look
  6. Fine tune the loop. Use Pong mode to get a smooth loop
  7. Fine tune the application settings
  8. Click Render to get the GIF

Camera Capture Mode

Camera Capture Mode works similar with the Screen Capture Mode. The big difference is that instead of adjusting the capture video you’ll need to select a capture source. The Camera Capture mode obviously doesn’t support seeking. Once the source is opened and you see the video stream in the left window follow the following steps:

  1. Use the video controls buttons to locate the movie section you want to capture
  2. Use Record Frame button to capture individual frames (useful for stop motion animated GIFs)
  3. Use Record button to capture all frames at the full speed
  4. Navigate the capture video thumbnails and Mark In and Out the sequence you want to export as GIF
  5. Press the Loop Preview button to see how the GIF will look
  6. Fine tune the loop. Use Pong mode to get a smooth loop
  7. Fine tune the application settings
  8. Click Render to get the GIF

Tips and Tricks

Optimizing the animated GIF output file size:

  • Reduce the number of frames by using the Mark In/Out buttons
  • Use Pong mode, your animated GIF will loop better and you get twice time
  • Tune the source size from the combobox in the top-right corner. For HD videos 10-30% resizing will reduce the file size with several Megabytes
  • Skip 2, 3 or 4 frames and decrease the framerate accordingly (fps/2, fps/3 or fps/4) in the Output Setting section

Keyboard Shortcuts

Space Togle Source Play/Pause
Ctrl + Right Arrow Skip Source Frames Forward
Ctrl + Left Arrow Skip Source Frames Backward
Pg-Up Skip approximatelly 1000 Frames Backward
Pg-Down Skip approximatelly 1000 Frames Forward
A Select all recorded frames
Z Mark Selection In
X Mark Selection Out
C Record Current Frame
S Start Recording Frames
E Erase Recorded Frames
Delete Delete the Current Frame from the Recorded Frames
L Togle Loop Mode
P Togle Ping-Pong Mode
1..9 Record Current Frame as Bookmark
Ctrl+1..9 Seek to Bookmark
Ctrl+S Show the Settings Page
R Start Rendering/Export
Alt+V Open Video Source
Alt+S Select ScreenCapture Source
Alt+W Select WebCam Source

License and Acknowledgments

CinemaGIF uses the following libraries:

  • AForge.NET licensed under LGPL v3 license
  • NGif.NET licensed under The Code Project Open License
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