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I'm not sure my question is related to this forum or Graphic Design forum. But I guess here is more suitable than there. I see many GIFs screens captures in StackExchange communities and forums that (mostly) have good quality with low size (e.g a gif screenshot with 1000 by 700 dimensions, is about 200 to 400 KB). It's okay, especially with those people who use the low-speed connections to save or watch GIFs screen captures online. I tried to record some GIF screen captures with 1000 by 700 pixels, but every time I recorded and capture those gifs from the screen, I got a gif with a bigger size (3,5,9 MBs! or more). I don't why it happens to my GIFs.

I use Snagit on Windows 10 for capturing my screen captures, but this is the first time I decided to record GIFs screen captures to put on StackExchange forums for my personal questions or other forums to give more explanations about my questions, but I failed!

While I write this question here, I started to record a GIF screen capture from this text box with 744px by 376px which takes 14 seconds for time. The looping option is on. Frame Rate is set to 10 by default, finally hit the Create button. The result size is about 9 MB that is too big for a GIF screen capture to upload.

At what point I committed mistakes that caused this big size for a GIF screen capture that just takes 14 seconds with low dimensions? Should I use other software and methods to create and get good quality GIF screen captures with low size (less than 1 MB)? What software or methods you use for creating GIFs screen captures? My hardware is weak (4 GB Ram, CPU: Athlon X2) and I prefer to use light programs to generate GIF screen captures.

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    For a screenshot, I am using PicPick software and I am happy with that. However, I did not use it in the same context and I don't know if it fulfills your needs. To reduce the size of an image, if needed, I am using convert from imageMagick package. Again, I didn't test it in your context
    – Damien
    Nov 26, 2020 at 10:04
  • @Damien, As I found out and try PicPick, it just takes images and it's cool and light for use. But it can't record desktop to record and then generate animated GIFs file for the thing I asked about it. Nov 26, 2020 at 11:23
  • My personal pick is Premier Pro by Adobe, however that's quite expensive.
    – Zaxoosh
    Dec 1, 2020 at 14:42
  • @Zaxoosh, Not only Adobe Premier is expensive, it won't install on my super weak machine, but the old versions. As I described in my question, I just an output gif for forums with low size that alomst free programs can do for me. I don't know Adobe Premier can generate gif or not, but I'd like to know if it generates high-quality gif with at least sizes or not? Of course I know we should import gif video into int and then generate and export a gif. Maybe it's good for those who need many gifs, not for me. Dec 2, 2020 at 9:18

2 Answers 2

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+50

GIF is a terrible format when it comes to compression, so I'm afraid to say that you're already close to the limits. If there is much going on in your GIF, 9 MB is not much for a 744x376 GIF that runs 14 seconds with 10 FPS.

There are a bunch of good recorders suggested here, here and here.

EDIT: If these don't help, there is an alternate more complicated way:

  1. Record your screen as video using one of the available screen capture programs

  2. Convert the video into a GIF using an image editing software that supports video import and GIF export. This will allow you to take more control about the outcome, such as limited color palette, dimension, FPS and more. Check this tutorial video to see how it's done in Photoshop.

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  • Thank you @Martin for the useful links, I found a cool recorder from the links, It is "LICEcap" ( cockos.com/licecap ) and tried the same dimensions that I experienced before and asked in my question (1000 x 700) and then recorded. The result size is too low (600 kb!). In my opinion, it's an acceptable size for sharing in forums or like this. I tried it with its default FPS (8). It's really light (Size: 226 kb), but no features, unfortunately, just a simple window to set FPS and size of the recording. I haven't tried with high FPS, but the default is enough for my needs as I see. Nov 26, 2020 at 11:59
  • For compressing GIFs, this is useful and gave me low GIFs without losing quality: "GIFmicro" ( romeolight.com/products/gifmicro ). Or this website ( iloveimg.com/compress-image ), to browse your Gif and get a lighter version. Nov 26, 2020 at 12:07
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    @MasoudMoghaddam I'm glad that my answer helped you and I'm kinda impressed by LICEcap at this point. I know I used it in the past, but I never knew it was that good on compression. You are very welcome! :) Nov 26, 2020 at 20:54
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    @MasoudMoghaddam Oh that's sad, I thought it must be better if they charge money for it. I removed my suggestion regarding EasyUS RecExperts to avoid misleading others. Depending on its use, you should really consider to use a short mp4 or webm video instead. Loop it and remove the controls in its presentation, like Imgur's gifv approach to create the illusion of a gif. If you have to use a gif and quality decreases won't help, you can only cut the FPS or downscale the GIF. It's unfortunate. Nov 29, 2020 at 19:54
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    You could also limit the colors of the GIF to reduce size. I'm not aware of any program that can do that in full extend, but you could do it yourself with a video. Please check my updated answer. Nov 29, 2020 at 20:07
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LiceCap and Gifsicle

For screen capture or recording, LICEcap can capture an area of your desktop and save it directly to .GIF.

LICEcap is an intuitive but flexible application (for Windows and now OSX), that is designed to be lightweight and function with high performance.

LICEcap is easy to use: view a demo (output is here).

LICEcap demo

LICEcap is GPL free software, each download package includes the source.

Features and options:

  • Record directly to .GIF or .LCF.
  • Move the screen capture frame while recording.
  • Pause and restart recording, with optional inserted text messages.
  • Global hotkey (shift+space) to toggle pausing while recording
  • Adjustable maximum recording framerate, to allow throttling CPU usage.
  • Basic title frame, with or without text.
  • Record mouse button presses.
  • Display elapsed time in the recording.

Gifsicle is a powerful command-line tool for creating, editing, and optimizing GIF images and animations. It can help you shrink your GIF file sizes with its various features:

  • It can optimize your GIFs losslessly. This stores only the changed parts of each frame and uses transparency to eliminate unnecessary pixels. It can also remove redundant colors and avoid using local color tables that waste space and cause viewing artifacts.
  • It can reduce the color depth / colormap (number of colors) of a GIF, which also reduces its size.
  • It can resize GIFs to have a lower resolution.
  • It can compress GIFs lossily, which sacrifices some quality for more size reduction.

    GIF's LZW compression is based on a "dictionary" of strings of pixels seen. Normal encoder searches the dictionary for the longest string of pixels that exactly matches pixels in the image. Lossy encoder picks longest string of pixels that's "similar enough" to pixels in the image (plus some magic to hide the distortions with dithering).

Here's an example of how to run Gifsicle with some of its features that can reduce GIF file sizes:

gifsicle --colors 128 --method blend-diversity -V --lossy=100 -O2 --no-app-extensions --no-comments --no-extensions --no-names --output "output.gif" "input.gif"
  • --colors 128 - reduce color depth / colormap
  • --method blend-diversity - method used to reduce colors
  • --lossy=100 - lossy compression
  • -O2 - lossless optimization

You can find more information about using Gifsicle in its manual.

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  • I've already used LICEcap and almost satisfied with it. Jul 14, 2023 at 6:16

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