I want make an animated
.gif from an
.mp4 video. I would prefer to do it from the command line, so please only list command line tools.
I want make an animated
1You can use this script on Github that uses FFMPEG and generates intermediate color palette for better picture quality.– troApr 24, 2019 at 8:36
ffmpeg 3.4.4 can do it directly on Ubuntu 18.04
You likely want to use something like:
sudo apt install ffmpeg wget -O opengl-rotating-triangle.mp4 https://github.com/cirosantilli/media/blob/master/opengl-rotating-triangle.mp4?raw=true ffmpeg \ -i opengl-rotating-triangle.mp4 \ -r 15 \ -vf scale=512:-1 \ -ss 00:00:03 -to 00:00:06 \ opengl-rotating-triangle.gif
Image info: 426kB, 45 frames, 512x512 apparent size, coalesced, conversion time on a Lenovo P51: 0.5s.
The above conversion also worked after a
ulimit -Sv 1000000 (DRAM usage limited to 1GB), so it does "not consume huge amounts of memory" like previous attempts I did with Imagemagick which almost killed my machine. 500MB however failed because ffmpeg failed to load its shared libraries... time to upgrade your RAM ;-)?
Test data generation procedure described on this post.
The output has a visible dotting pattern, which is not as visible in "ffmpeg + convert" method below. We can try to improve the image quality with methods described at:
E.g. using the
ffmpeg \ -i opengl-rotating-triangle.mp4 \ -r 15 \ -vf "scale=512:-1,split[s0][s1];[s0]palettegen[p];[s1][p]paletteuse" \ -ss 00:00:03 -to 00:00:06 \ opengl-rotating-triangle-palettegen.gif
Image info: 979K, 45 frames, 512x512 apparent size, coalesced, conversion time on a Lenovo P51: 3.5s.
So we see that:
- the dotting pattern is much less visible now
- GIF size roughly doubled. TODO: why does simply choosing a palette increase the image size? Is it because now more colors so we need more bits per color? How to observe each palette?
- generation time was 7x slower, presumably because ffmpeg is first scanning through the entire video to determine an optimal palette
We could also play with documented
palettegen parameters like
palettegen=max_colors=16 to achieve different size quality trade-off points.
-ss 00:00:03 -to 00:00:06: start and end time to cut the video from.
No, GIFs are not the best way to
piratedistribute videos online.
See also: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/18444194/cutting-the-videos-based-on-start-and-end-time-using-ffmpeg
-vf scale=512:-1: make the output
512pixels in height, and adjust width to maintain the aspect ratio.
This is a common use case for images for the web, which tend to have much smaller resolution than video.
If you remove this option, the output GIF has the same height as the input video.
The original video height can be found for example with
ffprobe: https://superuser.com/questions/595177/how-to-retrieve-video-file-information-from-command-line-under-linux/1035178#1035178 and is 1024 x 1024 in our case.
-r 15: sampling FPS.
For example, the original video was 30 FPS, so
-r 15means that
ffmpegwill pick one frame in every 2 (
= 30 / 15).
The perceived output FPS is adjusted to match the input however, so you won't notice a speedup, only greater granularity.
The input FPS can be found with
ffprobe, and the total number of input frames can be found with
mediainfoas explained at: https://superuser.com/questions/84631/how-do-i-get-the-number-of-frames-in-a-video-on-the-linux-command-line/1044894#1044894
I recommend this option because video formats usually have a higher framerate due to the larger resolution. With smaller GIFs, the lower framerate is less noticeable, and so we can skip some frames and make smaller GIFs.
Video camera footage example
If you want to see the result quality of a video camera video from Wikimedia Commons with a similar command:
wget https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/STS-132_Liftoff_Space_Shuttle_Atlantis.ogv ffmpeg -i STS-132_Liftoff_Space_Shuttle_Atlantis.ogv -r 15 -vf scale=512:-1 \ -ss 00:00:17 -to 00:00:22 STS-132_Liftoff_Space_Shuttle_Atlantis.gif
Image info: 1.3MB, 75 frames, 512x288 apparent size, coalesced (has minimal effect however, because footage pans slightly from the start), conversion time on a Lenovo P51: 2.3s.
Here is a version with
palettegen but only 2 seconds to fit the 2MiB upload limit:
Image info: 1.5MB, 30 frames, 512x288 apparent size, conversion time on a Lenovo P51: 43s.
A more direct:
sudo apt-get install ffmpeg ffmpeg -i in.mp4 out.gif
also works, but the output GIF would be way larger than the input video, because video formats can compress more efficiently across frames with advanced algorithms, while GIF can only does a simple rectangular frame diff.
convert one-liner without intermediate files
ffmpeg could not handle GIF previously. The best I had was something along:
sudo apt-get install ffmpeg imagemagick ffmpeg -i opengl-rotating-triangle.mp4 -r 15 -vf scale=512:-1 \ -ss 00:00:03 -to 00:00:06 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm - | convert -deconstruct -delay 5 -loop 0 - opengl-rotating-triangle-image-magick.gif
Image info: 995kB, 45 frames, 512x512 apparent size, coalesced.
For the Atlantis shuttle footage, and analogous:
ffmpeg -i STS-132_Liftoff_Space_Shuttle_Atlantis.ogv -r 15 -vf scale=512:-1 \ -ss 00:00:17 -to 00:00:22 -f image2pipe -vcodec ppm - | convert -deconstruct -delay 5 -loop 0 - STS-132_Liftoff_Space_Shuttle_Atlantis_512x.gif
produced better looking output, but the final GIF was considerably larger at 6.2MB, so I can't upload it.
Explanation of some of the arguments:
-loop 0: add the Netscape Gif extension Loop count field to the output. 0 means infinite loop as described at: http://www.vurdalakov.net/misc/gif/netscape-looping-application-extension
firefoxand chromium all loop infinitely by default even without it, so I'm not sure how necessary it is anymore.
-delay 5: time waited before showing the next frame, in hundreths of second, as described at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GIF#Animated_GIF byte 324. So
100means 1 FPS,
1 / 0.5 == 20FPS.
-deconstruct: compress across frames with rectangular diffs, see also: how can I resize an animated GIF file using ImageMagick?
Even if you reduce the height and framerate, the output GIF may still be larger than the video, since "real" non-GIF video formats compress across frames, while GIF only compresses individual frames.
convert input.mp4 rpi2-bare-metal-blink.gif
worked, but almost killed my computer because of memory overflow, and produced an ouptput 100x larger for my 2s 1Mb input file. Maybe one day ImageMagick will catch up.
See also: https://superuser.com/questions/556029/how-do-i-convert-a-video-to-gif-using-ffmpeg-with-reasonable-quality
Tested on Ubuntu 17.10.
This is another option that was brought to my attention and which claims intelligent algorithms, so let's try it out.
First we need to convert the video to a sequence of images, and then feed that into gifsky, e.g.:
sudo snap install gifski mkdir -p frames ffmpeg \ -i opengl-rotating-triangle.mp4 \ -r 15 \ -vf scale=512:-1 \ -ss 00:00:03 -to 00:00:06 \ frames/%04d.png gifski -o opengl-rotating-triangle-gifski.gif frames/*.png
Image info: 954K, 45 frames, 512x512 apparent size, not coalesced, conversion time on a Lenovo P51: 4.8s.
And the 2s STS:
Image info: 1.6M, 30 frames, 512x288 apparent size, not coalesced, conversion time on a Lenovo P51: 2.8s.
So for me, subjectively, this did not appear to offer significant benefit over ffmpeg's
1Your delay does not match your -r value (the resulting gif is 2x speed). Also you added a scale argument for no apparent reason (it makes the gif really small).– asmeurerOct 21, 2016 at 17:51
2I agree. Small size gifs are better for web. Thanks for
scale=320:-1– zombicOct 26, 2016 at 8:26
2For those who are wondering: removing
-r 10will bring the GIF back to normal speed.– MitchFeb 13, 2017 at 8:05
3I got a gif 20% bigger than the mp4 :O May 11, 2017 at 2:39
1@CiroSantilli华涌低端人口六四事件法轮功 After the process had been running for 3 minutes it had used 30% of all memory, according to
top, after 4 minutes it was at 50%, etc. As I only had 8GB of RAM, that made my computer start stuttering for all operations, due to it needing to use the swap disk. We'll see how far it goes, right now the
convertprocess is using 5.5GB of RAM ... Storing the entire in-process file in-memory doesn't seem very clever. Jan 31, 2018 at 12:35
Extract Images from Video
Create a directory called frames in the same directory with your
.mp4file. Use command:
ffmpeg -i video.mp4 -r 5 'frames/frame-%03d.jpg'
-r 5 stands for FPS value for better quality choose bigger number adjust the value with the -delay in 2nd step to keep the same animation speed %03d gives sequential filename number in decimal form
cd frames convert -delay 20 -loop 0 *.jpg myimage.gif
-delay 20 means the time between each frame is 0.2 seconds which match 5 fps above. When choosing this value 1 = 100 fps 2 = 50 fps 4 = 25 fps 5 = 20 fps 10 = 10 fps 20 = 5 fps 25 = 4 fps 50 = 2 fps 100 = 1 fps in general 100/delay = fps -loop 0 means repeat forever
Docs: convert gif options
You will end up with an rather big file, have a look at the image magick guide to optimize gif on options you can add to the second step command to obtain a smaller file.
4Keep in mind that the
framesfolder must exist for the first command to work. Jun 7, 2017 at 15:09
4For those that want a quick way to optimize that generally works and are too lazy to read the link, just add
-layers Optimizeto the last
*.jpg. Check the output though, it might be affected. For me it reduced the gif size from 5 MB to 700 KB without any perceivable loss in quality :)– cpuryJul 10, 2017 at 8:54
Thanks that was an interesting process, a 5.6MB mp4 ended up a 236MB gif, not sure I'll be putting that one up on my website ;) Possibly a gif needs to be limited to seconds rather than a minute.– cardamomSep 12, 2017 at 9:37
3Instead of using the JPG file format, very lossy with the default settings, I'd recommend using PNG for the initial file export.
ffmpeg -i video.mp4 -r 5 'frames/frame-%03d.png'.– Pierre FJun 7, 2018 at 11:15
gifify is an all-in-one node-based utility that simplifies the conversion. It depends on
imagemagick which are all available in the repos.
Once you have
npm installed you can install
gifify globally with:
npm install -g gifify
A video can be converted to a .GIF with:
gifify video.mp4 -o video.gif
You can also optionally set a start and end position in the video and add a text caption:
gifify clip.mp4 -o clip.gif --from 01:48:23.200 --to 01:48:25.300 --text 'we are the knights who say nip!'
❗️ It can take several minutes for the conversion to complete even with smaller videos.
imagemagickmight need to be compiled with some specific libraries (i.e. libass and fontconfig accordingly).
Doesn't handle approx > 40 sec clips: github.com/vvo/gifify/issues/99 Jan 30, 2018 at 16:03
119.04: Another required package is
gifsicle, but then another problem occurs: github.com/vvo/gifify/issues/95 Also, would you mind telling us npm novices in what directory to run
npm installand whether to run it as root or not? Thanks! Apr 18, 2019 at 4:13
@NicolasRaoul It's extremely rare to need to run
npmas root.– RyanNerdFeb 13, 2022 at 22:19
You have to install gifsicle globally, then ffmpeg from npm globally as well, I don't think using npm is the best solution here. because if the developer of the package
gififywanted this package to be executed from command line for daily use, he would have made it a command-line utility by adding the sh-bang at the first line. and hence, this package is only meant to be used in applications, for programmers, not for daily use.– NormalSep 27, 2022 at 22:01
I have started to put together a tool to provide a simplified interface to common actions.
You can convert an MP4 to GIF like this:
$ npm install @mountbuild/mouse -g $ mouse convert input.mp4 -o output.gif -s 00:00:00 -e 00:00:03
You can change the start and end time, and the
--width as well.
It requires ffmpeg be installed.
not working as now
mouse: line 2: syntax error near unexpected token('`
mouse: line 2:const force = require('./force')'` May 12, 2021 at 11:05
Full Disclosure: This is my project.
If you are using linux, you can use linux-mpv-gif-generator
You will need ffmpeg, kdialog & mpv.
sudo apt install ffmpeg kdialog mpv
You have to place
Now when you run a video on mpv, you will be able to use g to set start frame, G to set end frame, Ctrl+g to create gif. When you press Ctrl+g, it will ask where you want to save the gif.