Extract a frame from an animated GIF

26 January 2013, 02:00

Animated GIFs are all the range nowadays, especially for The Young People on sites like Reddit. What better way to share footage of kittens falling off armchairs, or people narrowly avoiding a locomotive?

If you’ve ever wanted to extract a single frame from an animated GIF, Preview has all you need. Just download the animated GIF and then open it in Preview. Each of the frames that constitute the animation will appear in the drawer on the left. To extract a frame, all you have to do is select it, hit Command+C to copy it, then Command+N to paste it in as a new file. Alternatively, you can just drag the frame to the desktop or a Finder window.

Curiously, the new file containing the frame will be a TIFF, but you can easily save it out as any file format in the Save As dialog box. Don’t forget that holding down Option (Alt) before clicking the Format dropdown list in the Save dialog box will offer more options.

You can also create animated GIFs using Preview but they’ll be pretty primitive. Just collect together the frames you want to use and ensure they’re in GIF format. Then open the first frame in Preview. Open the drawer (View -> Thumbnails), then drag and drop the new frames ON TOP of the first frame (not above, or beneath!). Then save out the file as a GIF. There’s no way to set the animation speed, however, and no way to set a loop either. So if you’re serious about creating animated GIFs then it’s better to use an alternative app or website.

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