Tumblr’s new iMessage app is a GIF lover’s dream come true. Whether you happen to use the Yahoo-owned blogging platform doesn’t really matter, if you enjoy sharing GIFs (and want to create your own), you can now do so using just your iPhone.
The new iMessage extension puts you in charge of the GIF-making process, and can make you the star of your very own animated clips. That’s not all — you can even add text and emojis to your GIFs, and customize their autoplay functions.
For the uninitiated, the graphics interchangeable format (better known by its acronym, GIF) is used online in the form of viral animated clips usually related to pop culture. As part of its iOS 10 update, Apple added a GIF search function to its messaging platform that allows you to add existing GIFs to your conversations. What it doesn’t do, however, is put the power to animate GIFs in your hands. With the updated Tumblr app, you can do that without ever having to leave iMessage.
Now on to the fun part. Once installed and activated, the Tumblr iMessage app allows you to create GIFs from scratch using its “GIF camera,” which when tapped connects to your iPhone camera to allow you to shoot a video (existing clips, Live Photos and bursts stored in your “Photos” library can also be turned into short animations).
The editing process is the same for both options. Having either recorded or selected your video, a small rectangular window will allow you to choose the three-second clip you wish to transform into a GIF. Simply scroll along the various image stills that correspond with the scenes in your video to trim it down to a suitable length. Hit next for the customization stage, which includes the ability to speed up and slow down your creation, and make it loop, bounce, or play backwards — depending on the reaction or emotion you wish to convey, the zaniness level is really up to you.
The final part of the editing process allows for further customization, this time in the vein of Snapchat. Here you will be able to overlay your GIF with text (in a range of colors) by simply tapping the clip. Additionally, the text itself can be enlarged or reduced in size using the pinch-to-zoom gesture. When you’re happy with your customized GIF, hit next and it will be automatically saved to your iPhone and appear in the iMessage input for you to send. Then just sit back and let the LOLs roll in.
While testing the extension, Digital Trends did note that it does not support certain older iPhone models, such as the 5S. This could be due to the app’s Live Photo integration, which is only available on the 6S and beyond — we reached out to Tumblr for clarification but did not immediately receive a response. Keep in mind, you must have the most recent version of the main Tumblr app downloaded in order to activate the iMessage extension.
Tumblr fans — who have helped create some of the web’s most ubiquitous GIFs — should take to the app with aplomb, but that doesn’t mean everyone else should miss out on the fun. Remember folks, life is fleeting, so grab hold of it with both thumbs and GIF the hell out of it while you still can.