Create GIFs from your YouTube videos

With Descript, you can quickly create an animated GIF to promote your YouTube video while you’re editing the YouTube video — so you don’t have to switch apps or do any annoying exporting-importing. Oh, and Descript is free to download.

Create HD GIFs with Descript

Descript lets you copy-paste to create new compositions from the files you’re editing, then quickly add captions in the color and font of your choice (and animate them if you want), then export high-quality GIFs for social media, and navigate back to the first project in a click.

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How to turn YouTube videos into GIFs

Step 1

Import your video files by dragging and dropping them into the workstation. Descript works with MOV, AVI, MP4, and most other formats. In a few seconds your video will appear — as will an auto-generated transcript.

Step 2

Once you know what section you want to turn into a GIF, highlight those sections of the transcript, right-click and select “Clip to composition.” Your selection will become a separate video. Edit in the transcript, add images (Descript supports EXIF, JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, and GIF images), and use Fancy Captions to add dynamic text

Step 3

Once you’ve completed your GIF, hit the “Publish” button and select “Export;” you’ll see the GIF option right there. From there, you can upload your GIF file to Giphy or send it to your iPhone or Android device. Cloud capabilities also mean that you can let your team view the GIF at a URL, leave comments and suggestions.

Create HD GIFs with Descript

Descript lets you copy-paste to create new compositions from the files you’re editing, then quickly add captions in the color and font of your choice (and animate them if you want), then export high-quality GIFs for social media, and navigate back to the first project in a click.

Download the app →

Create and edit GIFs using Descript

Transitions

Even in a quick GIF, you might want to splice two videos together for the desired effect. Descript lets you easily insert fades and cross-fades to keep those transitions smooth, if you want (jump cuts are pretty standard in GIF culture).

Shapes

If you want to make a colored background for your GIF or add your brand’s watermark, it’s easy to add shapes over or behind your video by stacking timeline layers. They can be in the color, size, or opacity of your choosing, and placed wherever you want in the frame.

Keyframe animation

To enhance an expression you’ve made in your YouTube video (maybe a wince or a doubletake), exaggerate it by zooming into or panning across the subject’s face. Here’s the thing: If you like how that looks in the GIF, you can easily navigate right back to the YouTube video and do it there, too. Being a savvy online GIF maker will make you a better YouTuber and vice versa.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I rearrange the order of video clips?

When going from YouTube to GIF editing, you’ll want to be highly selective. YouTube clips can be short — or they can be as long as feature films. Same on Vimeo. By contrast, GIF durations exceeding six seconds can test viewers’ patience (and your browser’s bandwidth).Descript’s script editing makes it easy to locate the part of the video you want to convert to a GIF. You can copy and paste the video sections just like editing a text document. It takes seconds, whether you’re a video pro or a first-time creator.

Can I add text over a GIF?

Easily. Convert your transcript into Fancy Captions and text will appear automatically, synced to your GIF protagonist’s speech. You can choose the color and size, or upload custom fonts.

Are Descript’s YouTube to GIF maker capabilities free?

With Descript’s free version, you can create GIFs and share YouTube links to your heart’s content without any additional online tools. The free app includes three hours of video transcription.

And if you upgrade to our $12/month Creator package, you’ll receive 10 monthly hours of transcription and watermark-free exporting. Have more to transcribe? You get 30 hours with the $24/month Pro package. Contact us to negotiate the Enterprise package for a dedicated account representative, onboarding, and training.

Download the app for free

Create a podcast, a video, and all your social assets using Descript. It’s as easy as editing a doc.