Gifture lets you make animated GIFs on the fly, party like it's 1999

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Does the world really need yet another photo app? The App Store already has lots of them, between Instagram, Camera+, and Camera Awesome, to name a few. But app developer Toaast hopes you have enough room in your heart (and on your phone) for one more.

Toaast’s Gifture is a new free app that makes it easy to create animated GIFs: It lets you take a series of photos, stich them together, and create a brief animation out of them. You can also apply Instagram-style filters to your masterpiece. We got a chance to speak with its developer and take the app for a spin; read on to get our first impressions.

When you first launch Gifture, you can choose to create a dedicated account or sign in using your Twitter or Facebook credentials. Once logged in, you’ll be presented with a toolbar along the bottom of the screen broken out into a set of sections familiar to anyone who’s used a social network. Feed, as you might expect, shows all the latest GIFs from people you follow. Popular shows the most favorited images from across all users. Activity details all your recent followers, comments, and likes. Finally, Account lets you change your settings and find friends that are also using the app.

The actual process of creating a GIF is easy; adding and removing images manually is a breeze, and an automatic mode makes the process even simpler. You can tweak the end result by applying a filter: The selection of filters isn’t very broad, but here’s hoping for more choices in a future update. Once you make a GIF, you can share it on Twitter and Facebook, and an upcoming release will bring tighter integration with Tumblr.

Check out this example animation, featuring a website you know and love.

TechHive spoke with James McDonald, the Glasgow-based designer behind Gifture, and asked him why Toaast decided to make this its debut app.

McDonald explained that the inspiration struck when he stumbled across Cinemagraphs.com, a site that showcases a selection of subtle GIF animations. McDonald found himself “in awe” at just “how beautiful animated gifs could be,” so made an iPhone app based around their creation.

Although Gifture isn’t the first GIF maker app on iOS—GIF Shop, Giffer, and Cinemagram all do similar things—McDonald feels confident that, despite the competition, his company could “definitely improve the overall user experience” of GIF-making apps.

Viewing a GIF from within Gifture. Quack quack…

Although the graphical touches found within Gifture are clearly a labor of love, the actual user interface feels strikingly familiar: If you’ve used Instagram, you’ll immediately feel comfortable using Gifture, since the two apps have a similar layout and work much the same.

When we asked McDonald about this clear likeness, he alluded that the similarity was no accident—the idea being that Instagram users would feel right at home with Gifture: “Being hardcore Instagram users, we thought it would be a great idea to execute the app in a way that the user experience was similar,” so that users could avoid “having to learn how to use another app.”

In practice, this design decision definitely works, as switching from Instagram to Gifture is an easy process with a minimal learning curve. It’s just a shame that Gifture seems to lack its own distinct identity as a result.

The Feed tab currently seems to display updates in a random order, not in a chronological timeline view as one might expect. Beyond this, though, Gifture is a solid option for creating GIFs. The app is responsive and easy to use, and has a growing community quickly amassing behind it. If you’re looking to create quirky GIFs on your iPhone, Gifture is a standout option.

[Chris Brandrick is a freelance writer with an interest in all things tech, gadgets, and gaming. He also writes over at PCWorld’s GeekTech blog.]

This story, "Gifture lets you make animated GIFs on the fly, party like it's 1999" was originally published by TechHive.

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