I want make a .gif animated picture from a given set of .jpg pictures.

I would prefer to do it from the command line, so command line tools would be very welcome.


9 Answers 9


You can use ImageMagick package. Install it using the command:

sudo apt-get install imagemagick

Now you can create a gif from number of pictures(jpg) using:

convert -delay 20 -loop 0 *.jpg myimage.gif

To complete @Maythux answer:

To avoid generating a very large file, you can use -resize option:

In my case, I have 4608x3456 images and the generated gif was more than 300M for 32 images

convert -resize 20% -delay 20 -loop 0 *.jpg myimage.gif


convert -resize 768x576 -delay 20 -loop 0 *.jpg myimage.gif

Take care of *.jpg

*.jpg sucks a bit when dealing with numeric values, you may generate a gif with unsorted pics.

$ ls|cat
21-33-26_10.jpg   // <--- this one
21-33-28_1.jpg    // <--- should be here    

As the shots were taken very quickly (10/s) they all have the same modification time and you can't trick using ls -t for example. On ubuntu you can use ls -v instead, something like:

convert -resize 768x576 -delay 20 -loop 0 `ls -v` myimage.gif

Sorting numerically is quite tricky on Mac OS X though, I guess you'll need to build a custom script.

  • 8
    You can avoid your *.jpg issue by forward padding numbers with zeros. "01.jpg" instead of "1.jpg", and so on. If you get to triple digits, then "001.jpg", "010.jpg", etc. Nov 28, 2016 at 23:53
  • 2
    There are several ways around the filename sequence problem. Including find, sort, brace expansion, and so on. The ls tool is notoriously unsuitable for this kind of thing. Use find. There's a bit of a learning curve, but it's worth it.
    – voices
    Jan 23, 2017 at 16:28
  • Some users might be interested in editing filenames with massren: github.com/laurent22/massren Nov 30, 2017 at 22:09
  • it takes ages to finish. Is there a verbose option?
    – ouranos
    Jul 18, 2019 at 16:19
  • If the input has a transparent background, I would also recommend the -dispose Background option. (I realize OP's post is about jpeg images which cannot have transparent backgrounds, but just in case anyone finds this answer via Google, like I did). By the way, regarding the ls sorting, you could always do some bash script hacking inline, e.g.: $(for f in `seq 0 10`; do printf "21-33-26_$f.jpg\n"; done)
    – Daniel
    Oct 31, 2022 at 21:46

ffmeg solution + test data

As of Ubuntu 18.10, ffpmeg 4.0.2-2, ImageMagick 6.9.10-8, I have found that ffmpeg is much faster than ImageMagick, and uses much less memory.

The simplest conversion command is:

ffmpeg \
  -framerate 60 \
  -pattern_type glob \
  -i '*.png' \
  -r 15 \
  -vf scale=512:-1 \
  out.gif \

You can get my test data with:

wget -O opengl-rotating-triangle.zip https://github.com/cirosantilli/media/blob/master/opengl-rotating-triangle.zip?raw=true
unzip opengl-rotating-triangle.zip
cd opengl-rotating-triangle

The test data was generated with: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/3191978/how-to-use-glut-opengl-to-render-to-a-file/14324292#14324292 and contains 256 1024x1024 PNG images.

And here is another test data that you can generate directly in your browser right now! https://stackoverflow.com/questions/19235286/convert-html5-canvas-sequence-to-a-video-file/57153718#57153718

enter image description here

The important ffmpeg options I want to highlight are:

  • -pattern_type glob: convenient way to select images

  • -framerate 60: assume 60 FPS on input images, and output the same FPS.

    ffmpeg cannot know otherwise, since there is no FPS data is in images as there is is in video formats.

    The 256 input frames take about 4 seconds to finish.

    -r 15: optional. Pick one every 4 images so reduce size (4 == 60 / 15).

    With it, identify out.gif says that the GIF contains only 64 frames.

    It still takes 4 seconds to play, so the delay is altered to make things match.

  • -vf scale=512:-1: optional. Set the width, scale height proportionally, usually to reduce size and save space.

See also:

ImageMagick vs ffmpeg benchmark

To get ImageMagick to work, I first had to modify its disk and memory limits at /etc/ImageMagick-6/policy.xml as explained at: https://superuser.com/questions/1178666/imagemagick-convert-quits-after-some-pages

I compared the commands:

/usr/bin/time -v convert *.png -deconstruct -delay 1.6 out-convert.gif
/usr/bin/time -v ffmpeg \
  -framerate 60 \
  -pattern_type glob \
  -i '*.png' \
  out-ffmpeg.gif \

The commands were constructed to produce outputs that are as close as possible to make the comparison valid:

  • /usr/bin/time -v: used to find the maximum memory usage as explained at: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/774556/peak-memory-usage-of-a-linux-unix-process

  • -deconstruct: GIF images can contain just the minimal modified rectangle from the previous frame to make the GIF smaller.

    ffmpeg calculates those diffs by default, but ImageMagick does not, unless -deconstruct is used.

    You will basically want to use that option every time with ImageMagick.

    We can observe the difference with:

    identify out.gif

    With the compressed version, all frames have smaller sizes than the initial one, e.g.:

    out.gif[0] GIF 1024x1024 1024x1024+0+0 8-bit sRGB 256c 16.7865MiB 0.010u 0:00.010
    out.gif[1] GIF 516x516 1024x1024+252+257 8-bit sRGB 256c 16.7865MiB 0.010u 0:00.010
    out.gif[2] GIF 515x520 1024x1024+248+257 8-bit sRGB 256c 16.7865MiB 0.010u 0:00.010

    In this example, the second frame is only 516x516 instead of the full 1024x1024, and is placed at an offset of 252+257. It therefore contains just the middle triangle.

    See also: how can I resize an animated GIF file using ImageMagick?

  • -delay: value that matches the 60FPS of ffmpeg. Should not matter for conversion performance, but I don't want to risk it.

The output GIFs have about the same size and look visually identical.

We get for ImageMagick:

Elapsed (wall clock) time (h:mm:ss or m:ss): 0:56.16
Maximum resident set size (kbytes): 2676856

and for ffmpeg:

Elapsed (wall clock) time (h:mm:ss or m:ss): 0:04.41
Maximum resident set size (kbytes): 97172

from which we see that:

  • ImageMagick used 2.6Gb of RAM and took about 1 minute
  • ffmpeg used 100Mb of RAM and took 4 seconds

Test hardware: Lenovo ThinkPad P51 laptop, Intel Core i7-7820HQ, 32GB(16+16) DDR4 2400MHz SODIMM, 512GB SSD PCIe TLC OPAL2.

  • 2
    Upvoted and liked!, great answer, I have one small follow up question. I have not so much high quality images, and i did not use -r and -v commands, still the output gif is of much lower quality than original png files. How to keep the same quality of gif as given png files? Apr 10, 2019 at 2:27
  • Hi @astro123 how is the quality lower? Smaller image size, or less frames, or something else (GIF uses lossless apparently, so can't be worse compression)? Try -framerate 60 -r 60. Inspect the generated GIF and input images with ImageMagick tools like identify to try and figure out what is going on. Apr 10, 2019 at 8:32
  • 1
    I would strongly recommend using palettegen and paletteuse to get much better quality and lower file size, e.g. with -filter_complex "[0:v] split [a][b];[a] palettegen [p];[b][p] paletteuse". See: giphy engineering. Also, note that ffmpeg does not support transparent backgrounds, which is quite important for making animated emojis etc.
    – Daniel
    Oct 31, 2022 at 21:39

Instead of modifying file names you can use globbing to get your shell to expand file names

convert -resize 50% -delay 10 -loop 0 image_{0..99}.jpg output.gif


You can easily do this with GIMP. First install it if it's not installed already with

sudo apt-get install gimp

Creating the gif

From GIMP go to File -> Open as Layers to open all the png's on their own layer.

Open as Layer

From here you can perform edits on the layers and, once done, go to File -> Export As. From the dialog be sure to set the file type to GIF.

Set file type to GIF

From there you will go to the GIF export options. Tick the 'As Animation' option and set the parameters as required.

GIF export options

To change the delay between frames

Modify the name of the layers, and include the delay in milliseconds between parenthesises, like this: (1500ms)

enter image description here

To preview the animation before exporting

Click "Filters" menu, then "Animation", then "Animation Playback".

  • 'Command line preferred' - from the question
    – Gathide
    Jan 8, 2022 at 19:44

You can use a program called convert included in the imagemagick package. It is command line driven, but very easy to use. Install it either through the software center, or go to a command prompt and type

sudo apt-get install imagemagick

Now to create the .gif.

convert -delay 100  -size 100x100 xc:SkyBlue \
          -page +5+10  balloon.gif   -page +35+30 medical.gif  \
          -page +62+50 present.gif   -page +10+55 shading.gif  \
          -loop 0  animation.gif

*Note the above example is straight from Image Magick Examples

  • 1
    How do I do 40 PNG images in a looping GIF? All in folder /home/fusion809/Documents/Images
    – Josh Pinto
    Apr 29, 2014 at 0:55
  • 3
    @BH2017: convert -delay 20 -loop 0 *.png out.gif makes a looping GIF.
    – unutbu
    Dec 24, 2018 at 0:22

To add something, you'll probably end with a huge GIF file with the convert variant proposed.

As this answer in StackOverflow states, it's convenient to optimize the resulting GIF with something like the following:

mogrify -layers 'optimize' -fuzz 7% mygif.gif

With this I'm getting about 1/50 times the original size.

I've been getting trouble with the resources assigned to ImageMagick. This post can be helpful if it's the case.


I suggest you use the same convert command, but make sure to include -dispose Background to clear the canvas before adding the next frame. It looks like the following:

convert -delay 100 -dispose Background -loop 0 *.jpg animation.gif

just use ffmpeg on the command line, it comes preinstalled on Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Debian and other linux

ffmpeg -f concat -i list.txt output.gif

your list.txt file should be arranged like this:

duration 5
duration 12
duration 7
duration 2

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