Sometimes words aren’t enough when you want to express yourself online. You need an image that will simultaneously display your encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture and wit.
I am, of course, talking about the art of the animated GIF.
But if you’ve never tried diving into the world of the GIF, where do you start? Should you create your own with Photoshop or Gimp? Nah—all you need to do is bookmark some great online repositories and simple tools that make it painless to get your GIF on.
One of the newest entrants to the GIF game is Hulu. The online video streaming service recently debuted a Tumblr site called The Perfect Gif filled with (you guessed it) animated GIFs from Hulu’s TV show collection. You can find GIFs from Star Trek, Castle, Modern Family, Ugly Betty, and tons more.
Hulu has also made the GIFs searchable by hashtags such as #Fail, #Gross, #LOL, and #Sneaky to make it easier to find a GIF with the right emotion.
Hulu is all about images. The site doesn’t offer tools to add text to its GIFs.
One of the most popular GIF repositories, Giphy also lets you search by hashtag—but it too fails to offer a way to add custom text to an image. Its collection is far more extensive than Hulu, however. Need a GIF featuring Marilyn Monroe, Megan Fox, or Tony Soprano? Giphy’s got you covered, and its abundant categories make finding appropriate GIFs a breeze.
If you want to create your own image, complete with a custom text overlay, YouTube offers a GIF creation tool. The feature’s only offered on a limited number of videos, but if you’re looking to create an animated GIF from content by Epic Rap Battles of History, PBS Idea Channel, or Vsauce, YouTube is the place to go.
For something that converts more than just YouTube partner videos, you can try Imgur’s video-to-gif tool that lets you convert segments from many online videos to an animated GIF.
That’s it for the quick and easy options. If you want to dive deeper into the dark arts of meme-ready images and starting creating your own GIFs, check out our recent tutorial on the DIY way to make a high-quality animated GIF.