Irrespective of the opinion of people about them, GIFs are here to stay. Born in 1987, GIFs (short for Graphics Interchange Format), aren’t only used for entertainment – they can be quite effective for your work, especially for increasing traffic on your blog or website.
Some of the most obvious advantages of using GIFs over static images or infographics include:
1- GIFs are extremely communicative
From tutoring your audience about a particular software to making them laugh, GIFs can be used quite effectively to put across a mood or idea to your followers.
2- They help you build your own style and brand identity
GIFs are more than just clippings of a video file – they can express entire ideas and attitudes, and your perspective of the world.
This is extremely helpful when you are trying to build up the image of your brand, because it expresses the spirit of your work while putting up a more authentic, human image.
3 – They are ideal for displaying products
In a short duration, GIFs can help you showcase your product or new models, your various sales items, any promotions on your blog or any other service you offer to the public.
4- They let you tell stories
Because GIFs possess the ability to tell dynamic stories concisely in less than a minute, you can choose GIFs to convince followers of your brand, your success story and tell them virtually whatever you want.
5- They help you represent complex ideas
Expressing information in a didactic way or summarizing large information is another useful aspect of GIFS.
GIFs can easily put across maps, dynamic graphics, animated diagrams and other animations in an accessible, easy to understand way.
And one of the most effective ways to create GIFs for your blog or website is by using a third-party software that can help you take instant GIFs of your work.
One such desktop utility is LICEcap, a lightweight software that can help you create animated screenshots in a snap.
The program is extremely simple to use – starting out as a hollow frame on the screen, you simply drag in top of the window you’d like to capture, resize the frame accordingly, and start recording. You can even pause the capture, allowing you the freedom to drag the recording frame to a different portion of the screen.
When the recording is finished, LICEcap creates a GIF of your work and saves it locally, which you can simply embed online anywhere you want like a normal image. Although the resultant files are slightly heavier (an 8 second animation can be of around 0.5 MB), the file sizes are nothing that modern internet speeds can’t handle comfortably.
LICEcap is accessible and super light, and has a decent performance, producing good quality output. For people reviewing computer software or writing tutorials for them, LICEcap proves to be an invaluable addition to help you get across some of the more complex ideas of your post.
LICEcap gives you the options to save in either GIF format or LCF format, if you prefer lossless compression with negligible loss in quality. Recording quality is decent in both formats, however saving the file in LCF becomes useful while recording clips from high-definition videos or video applications. Play and pause are easy with the availability of hotkey settings. And the best part – you can even choose the number of repetitions in your GIF as endlessly repetitive GIFs can look annoying and slow down your website.
LICEcap is good at the functions promised and delivers good on the features showcased. Demos, how-to tutorials, new features of a product or even bug reports – LICEcap helps you put forth all of these seamlessly on your blog.
However, please note that LICEcap is a fairly basic utility that lacks any editing capabilities. It is not a competitor of more high-end screen recording utilities which come along with an in-built editing suite. Producing screencasts or longer tutorials is not its forte, but if you want a quick-and-dirty way to get across an idea or demonstrate any feature/functionality, then LICEcap is up there with the best. There’s an OSX edition, too…and despite the name, LICEcap is a program worth sharing around.