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How to Make GIFs in Davinci Resolve (The definitive Guide)

Welcome to the definitive guide on how to make GIFs in Davinci Resolve!

In this article you can learn two ways of making GIFs:

  • The first way is to make real GIF files. Basically how to make a GIF…
  • The second way is how to apply/or make a GIF as part of another video/project in Davinci Resolve.

If you want to know how to import and add existing GIFs to your video, I have written a separate article for that here.

Here are the “chapters” if you want to skip ahead:

If you want to know both, let’s dive in!

How to Make GIFs in Davinci Resolve (Real GIFs)

  1. Set timeline resolution to 480p, and frame rate to 24 or below.
  2. Add a clip to the timeline, and trim it down to 6 seconds.
  3. Export the clip out of Davinci Resolve.
  4. Upload it to an external converter.
  5. Convert the video to a GIF file.

That may have made no sense and was just a quick and simple way you could do it.

Gladly, you will get a detailed and clear description of how to do this below!

However, as you can see in order to make GIF files you have to use some kind of external converter.

And luckily for you, I have tested a bunch of them and found the ultimate one!

You could actually leave Resolve out of the picture to make a GIF. But, I recommend you use Resolve to edit it and get the proper size and quality, rather than doing this in some online converter…

By doing this, you only have to use the converter for the conversion part! And Resolve for everything else!

Let’s get to it!

Below is a detailed guide on how to make a proper GIF:

Before adding any clips to Davinci Resolve, we first want to change some settings.

To do this, go to “File” in the top left-hand corner, and then “Project Settings…”:

go to project settings

In the window that pops up, go to the “Master Settings“. Then set “Timeline resolution” to “Custom“.

When it comes to what resolution is best for GIFs, I’m going to refer to the list “GIF Creation Best Practices” by Giphy.com. Since that’s the biggest GIF website on the web, I think it’s fair to say they know what a GIF is!

According to them set the height of the video to MAX 720p, BUT recommend keeping it at 480p (which is what we’re going to do in this tutorial).

I’m also going to make this gif as a square 480 x 480 just to be a very “standard” GIF. However, this doesn’t matter choose what’s best for you.

Then set “Timeline frame rate” and “Playback frame rate” to what your clip is. However, GIFs are usually between 15-24 FPS. The clip used in this tutorial was 30 fps, however, I adjusted it to 24:

master settings change resolution and fps

Next, go ahead and save the new settings!

save settings

Now it’s time to add your clip to Davinci Resolve, and then to the timeline on the “Edit” page.

When you add the clip to the timeline you’ll get this pop-up message shown in the image below. Click on “Don’t Change“, if not the timeline will adjust itself to the frame rate of your video clip, which we just set manually…

add clip and dont change framrate

Once you have added the clip to the timeline, it may not fit the video preview’s resolution. Watch the example below:

add clip to timeline and watch preview

In order to get rid of these black bars, select the clip in the timeline, then open the “Inspector” on the right-hand side of Davinci.

Make sure that you are in the “Video” tab of the inspector, and then under “Transform“, locate “Zoom” and “Position“.

To adjust your clip, hover your mouse over the black boxes next to “Zoom” and “Transform“, click, hold and drag to one of the sides to change the value. Watch the explanation GIF below:

zoom and change position 2

Yes, you read that right!

I’ve actually made a GIF to illustrate how to make a GIF.

The next step is to delete the audio of the clip… Although this is not a must, as it will happen automatically when converting (it’s just to get as close as we can inside Davinci Resolve).

delete audio in timeline

When it comes to the length of the GIF, we are going to be referring to the “GIF Creation Best Practices” again.

They recommend keeping your GIF under 6 seconds in total. This is not a must at all and applies more to those making the GIF for memes and such. However, remember that longer GIFs will have a MUCH bigger file size if you’re going to use them on a website or something.

Change clip length to 6 seconds

What I did with the illustration GIF above, was to speed it up by 2-300% in order to reduce the file size. As it would slow down my page speed if not.

If you want to know how to change clip speed watch this tutorial:

Change Clip Speed - Davinci Resolve (everything you need)

Alright, once that is done it’s time to export!

Head over to the “Deliver” page:

deliver page

Then in the left-hand top corner go to the “Render Settings“, and choose the one called “Custom Export“.

Call your file what you want, and then choose where it’s going to be saved on your computer:

render settings

A little further down in the “Render Settings” menu, you can see the resolution and frame rate (watch the image below the text).

Make sure that the resolution is the same as the one we set earlier and the same for the frame rate.

The “Quality” is an important one. And actually one of the top reasons to use Davinci Resolve before converting them with a third-party application.

This is because GIFs tend to have a pretty big file size, compared to a normal MP4 paired with H.264 which are very small. This is because the GIFs show a bunch of pictures in a row, while codecs like H.264 have another way of doing this by using “delta frames”.

Relax, it does not matter for this tutorial anyway.

What’s important is that you consider what you are going to use the GIF for! For example: if I’m using a GIF in my articles, I sometimes choose the “Automatic” and then “Least“, this is because I want the smallest size possible.

The question is: Do you need to sacrifice quality for file size?

If the answer is no, don’t do it.

right resolution and fps

Once all of that is done, click on “Add to Render Queue“, then on the right-hand side of the page in the “Render Queue“, click on “Render All“:

add to render queue

When it’s done rendering, right-click the job, and go to “Open File Location” to locate it on your computer:

Open file location to find where the video is at the computer

Next, we need to use a converter to make our video into a GIF file.

I’ve tested a couple of the most popular converters, in order to recommend you the best one, which I found to be Ezgif’s Video to GIF Converter (it will open in a new tab).

There are actually multiple reasons why I found Ezgif to be best:

  • No need to sign-up.
  • Smaller file sizes.
  • GIF optimization feature.

Once you’ve opened Ezgif “Video to GIF” drag your exported file into the box like this:

drag file into box to upload

Then click on “Upload video!“:

upload video

Scroll a little down, and set the right size. If yours is 480p like mine, choose “Auto x 480“. If not select the one that is the same or closest to your video. Your video will get resized if you choose another resolution than what your video is.

You also have to set a frame rate here. This was the only drawback of using Ezgif… There are not so many frame rates to choose from. However, choose the closest one, hard to see any difference anyway.

Then go ahead and “Convert to GIF!“:

set right resolution and fps

Voilà!

You’ve now successfully created a GIF!

For some of you, this is it! However, I want to show you how to optimize the GIF as the file size is now almost 10x the file we exported out of Davinci Resolve…

Go ahead and click on “optimize the GIF” beneath the GIF itself:

click om optimize the gif

Here you decide how much you want to compress it.

I’m going to MAX this thing out!

Set compression and click on “Optimize GIF!

optimize gif

Below you can see that we managed to reduce the file size to 6.8 MB!

Although we lost a lot of quality, for my use, it’s worth it.

Next is the coolest part of this whole tutorial!

When you right-click the GIF it says “Save image as…

The video is now an image! That’s what I love about GIFs. However, click on “Save image as…” and save it on your computer:

gif optimized, save gif image as

Once you’ve saved it, you can go ahead and right-click the file on your computer and click on “Properties“. Here you can see that we have successfully made a GIF file.

Congratulations!

its a gif!

How to Make a GIF for Your Video

This time we are not going to make a GIF as its own file.

Now we are going to create a looping video that will look and behave like a GIF for a set period of time. This can be cool if you want to ad memes or something on top of another video.

To do this you are going to use a normal video format that’s supported by Davinci Resolve. If you want to add an existing GIF to Davinci you can just do a quick conversion using Ezgif’s Gif to MP4 Converter (it will open in a new tab). Convert your GIF and then you can follow the tutorial here.

I’ll show you two ways you can do this. The second one is, in my opinion, the best one, however, the first one is easier on your computer.

Method 1:

The first thing you need to do is to add the video clip that’s going to be a GIF to your timeline:

(Add it to “V2” video track 2 if you want it to be on top of another video)

add video track 2

This next step is for those who want their GIF to be on top of another video.

Go to “Inspector” in the right-hand top corner, make sure to be in the “Video” tab, then locate “Transform“.

  • Zoom is controlling the size of the clip.
  • Position is controlling where it’s positioned in the frame.
  • Chain make sure the chain symbol between “Zoom” X and Y are activated.

Watch the pictures below to see how it works:

Select and go to transform
sized properly

Right now, it’s just a normal video clip that plays one time then it’s done.

To make it look like a GIF we have to make it play multiple times and give the illusion that it’s a loop:

how to make gif loop

The first method of achieving this is quite simple. Then we are just going to duplicate the clip multiple times.

How many times you duplicate depends on how long you want the GIF to last.

To do this, hold down ALT-key while you click-hold and drag the clip to the side. The important part here is that you hold down the ALT-key in the whole process until you have dropped the clip:

duplicate the clips/gif

That’s all!

Now when you play your video it will look like it’s a real GIF you are showing.

Method 2

This method is a little more advanced.

However, once you know how to do it, it’s actually faster than having to duplicate a bunch of clips!

To do this we are going to use a simple fusion composition. Don’t worry! We are literally only using fusion to do one (maybe two things)…

Let’s get to it!

The first thing you need to do is open the “Effects” tab on the left-hand side of the “Edit” page.

Then make sure the “Toolbox” is open/expanded and go to the “Effects” here as well. Now you will see something called “Fusion Composition“, drag this one onto your timeline (in track two, if you are going to overlay another video).

Watch the picture below:

add fusion composition to timeline

Next, go ahead and extend the “Fusio Composition” for how long you want the GIF to last.

You do this by pulling on the edge of the “Fusion Composition“:

extend clip to how long gif is gonna last

Open the “Fusion” page:

go to fusion page

Open the “Media Pool” inside “Fusion” located in the top left-hand corner.

Then click, hold and drag your clip (the clip that going to be your GIF) into the fusion nodes like in the picture below:

drag gif to fusion

Now your clip is represented by the node called “MediaIn1“.

We want to connect this to “MediaOut1“.

To do this, pull on the grey square of “MediaIn1” and connect it to the yellow triangle on the “MediaOut1“. Watch illustration:

connect nodes full picture

Next, select the “MediaIn1” node by clicking on it.

Then open the “Inspector” on the right-hand side of the fusion page. Make sure to be in the “Tools” tab of the “Inspector“.

Now you want to check off the box called “Loop“:

Select node, go to inspector and check og loop

You will most likely don’t have to do this next step. However, it’s very important that you know about this, as you will have to do this if you extend the “Fusion Composition” (increase the length) in your timeline.

You can see the “Global In/Out” on the top inside the inspector while the “MediaIn1” is selected.

Make sure that the two gray dots are fully extended to the sides, like in the picture below. If not the loop will not work for the entire length of the “Fusion Composition“.

Therefore if you increase the length of it, you have to fix this:

increase global range of gif

Go back to the “Edit” page:

go to edit page

Next, you want to adjust the size of the GIF, as we did in method 1.

If you didn’t read it:

Select the “Fusion Composition” in the timeline, and open the “Inspector” on the right-hand side of the “Edit” page. Then make sure to be in the “Video” tab.

Under “Transform“, you can increase or decrease the “Zoom” to adjust the size, and the “Position” to adjust where it’s placed in the frame:

size fusion composition

That wraps it up! You should now have a looped video that behaves like GIF in your timeline!

If you want to know how to add existing GIFs to your project read this article!

Best regards,
Your friend, Jens.