Photoshop (Windows/Mac) – $20/Free
Photoshop is the desktop method for creating GIFs, so much so that we have an article on how to make an animated GIF with Photoshop. Adobe’s premiere image-editing software is incredibly capable and comes loaded with all the necessary tools for creating GIFs. Adobe’s Creative Suite 6 touts all the latest bells and whistles on the market, from lightning-quick speeds and advanced content-aware components, but earlier editions of the software should be capable of handling the necessary frame rate adjustments and dithering tools for making a GIF. Check out our guide on how to get Photoshop for free if you’re lacking in the Photoshop department and are in need of further instruction.
GIMP (Windows/Mac) – Free
As one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop, the admirable GIMP has been making the rounds for more than 17 years, bolstered by a devoted following of community developers. The open-source software – short for GNU Image Manipulation Program – offers a good deal of professional level editing and retouching utilities akin to Adobe’s beast, but the interface and toolset has its own set of variations and unique features. All the tool icons are easily recognizable within the large, dedicated workspace and offer the necessary actions for creating and exporting an image as an animated GIF. It’s not as intuitive as Photoshop, but it can still be done without paying a dime. Digital Trends writer Matt Smith even put together a brief tutorial on how to make an animated GIF image with GIMP for some site other than our own.
GIFBrewery (Mac) – $5
It often seems like Windows gets all the exclusive software. Fortunately, GIFBrewery is a well-designed and intuitive GIF creator available exclusively for the other iconic operating system. GIFBrewery’s interface is minimalist, with options for cropping and resizing imported video in the top-left corner, as well as a caption component for adding multiple lines of text to your GIF. It handles all video formats supported by QuickTime and any additional plugins you’ve installed, along with quick frame rate adjustments and stylized effects. It includes options for changing playback direction and exporting individual GIF frames as distinct PNG files. GIFBrewery is fairly self-explanatory, but it still charges a small fee despite it’s GIF-only capabilities.