Skip to main content

Imgur launches Project GIFV for creating animated GIFs that look like video

imgur launches project gifv creating animated gifs look like video
Image used with permission by copyright holder
The GIF format remains a popular file format for animating images. However, the technology hasn’t changed since 1987, and its limitations are starting to show. Which is why the image hosting website, Imgur, is launching an update to the GIF format that’s designed to work in a modern Web experience.

“It’s a little known fact, but the GIF format was never intended for animation in the first place,” said Tim Hwang, head of Special Initiatives at Imgur. “With Project GIFV, Imgur is reimagining the looping GIF video with all the richness it deserves as a key piece of Internet culture.”

Called Project GIFV, the GIF files uploaded to the service are automatically converted into the MP4 video format, which are smaller individual GIF files, have improved quality, and load faster. Although the new file is an MP4 video, Imgur says it behaves exactly like a GIF file (GIFV files will have the “.gifv” extension), which means it’ll automatically play and loop. But videos not only look better than standard GIFs, they are smoother as well, and you can control it like video (right-click on an image to bring up controls).

Related: How to make animated GIFs with Photoshop

There are advantages too. With the new format, users can upload animated GIF uploads up to 50MB, which then gets compressed into the smaller GIFV file. Imgur says GIFV files will also animate on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, which only display animated GIFs as static images.

In the moving GIFV image shown above, the quality resembles a high-quality video file, because it is, yet it functions like an animated GIF. But if it were an animated GIF file, it would have been 50MB; GIFV drops it to 5MB. A comparable animated GIF file at the same smaller file size would look tiny on the page.

Imgur says it “plans to submit an accompanying specification to relevant standards organizations before the end of the year,” so we could see it becoming a new standard.

Related: Make animated GIFs that seemingly pop out in 3D

Editors' Recommendations

Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
New Nikon camera gear for space station marks end of an era
A Nikon camera aboard the space station.

A spacewalk-ready Nikon camera aboard the International Space Station. NASA

While astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) spend most of their time conducting science experiments in microgravity conditions, some of their work also includes capturing images of Earth for research and monitoring — and also so we folks back on terra firma can appreciate just what a beautiful place it is.

Read more
It’s exactly 40 years since NASA achieved this remarkable first in orbit
NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II performing the first untethered spacewalk in 1984.

NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II performing the first untethered spacewalk in 1984. NASA

On February 7, 1984, NASA astronaut Bruce McCandless II performed the first untethered spacewalk.

Read more
Homeward bound private astronaut shares gorgeous night shots of Earth
Earth as seen from the International Space Station.

Earth as seen from the International Space Station. Marcus Wendt/Axiom Space/NASA

Axiom Space’s third private mission to the International Space Station (ISS) was supposed to last two weeks, but the all-European crew stayed for a few extra days while it waited for the weather conditions to improve at the splashdown site off the coast of Daytona, Florida.

Read more