It’s fun to watch the internet evolve. Back in the early days the best way for gamers to show each other sick plays was through screenshots or YouTube videos. The problem is that screenshots aren’t terribly good at displaying exciting events like headshots or near escapes, and videos often require the viewer to navigate away from their current social media of choice to go watch the video. I know when I’m surfing reddit I often don’t have the attention span to click a link to YouTube and wait for the video to buffer in order to see the content. So I’m very pleased to witness the rise of GIFs, as they’re the perfect marriage between the mediums.

Boop! Created for I_Fap_to_McCree’s compilation of invisible Sombra kills.

With companies like Gyfcat making it easier than ever to create, host and share GIFs, they’re basically the best way to communicate nowadays. Not only do I find them perfect for isolating just the important moment from my video footage, but I’ve also found them to be my most successful posts when uploaded to reddit and Facebook. One time, I did a test where I uploaded two extremely similar pieces of content, one a GIF and one a video. As you can see, the GIF was exponentially more successful at stimulating conversation and getting hits. Matter of fact, my most successful post of all time (probably the only thing I’ve ever created that has over 100,000 views) was a GIF:

As mentioned before, the process for making GIFs has never been easier. Personally, I record every second of my gameplay using (and delete anything I don’t want at the end of the day to save hard drive space). When something noteworthy happened, I boot it up in Sony Vegas Pro, cut it down to fifteen seconds (the Gyfcat size limit), and add any flavor text or special effects if necessary.

Long Live the King‘, a GIF I spent way too long making

Once upon a time you had to then host it on YouTube and then paste a link to said video into Gyfcat, but in 2017 you can now just upload the video directly to Gyfcat, and voila! Time to show off your stuff! I can’t overstate how easy it is to make GIFs nowadays. I remember back in 2014 when I needed a GIF of the hallucination grenade in this article, it was not an easy feat and I needed hugthebed2’s help getting the final (not great) GIF. I’m much happier with the tools at my disposal nowadays.

When McCree ruins your ult, so you ruin his. This gameplay is actually running at 1.15 speed, sometimes you have to toy with the footage to stay within the 15-second limit.

In today’s day and age, GIFs are the best way to entice people to view your content, as the human eye is attracted to movement, but videos often require at least a whole minute of attention due to loading times and no limit on length. When somebody clicks on a GIF, they know they’ll likely only be watching for 15 seconds or less and they don’t need to wait for loading. As someone who often watches GIFs on my phone in public places, I also appreciate the fact that they’re guaranteed to be silent, so I don’t have to worry about unexpected audio calling attention to myself. If you plan on becoming a content creator, GIFs are a really good way to learn some basic video-editing skills and maximize your content’s appeal to a wider audience.

When Reinhardt thinks you’re AFK. Titles beginning with “When” are traditionally a safe bet for getting upvotes on reddit.