‘Tis the season to be jolly, and if your school has an online presence with a school website, ‘tis also the season to be looking for some good quality content to share. Whether on social media, in a newsletter, on a blog or school website, why go for the same old-fashioned static photos when you can have an animated picture instead? A Graphics Interchange Format picture, also known as GIF, is exactly that, and it is also easy and fun to make. Here is how to create a Christmas GIF:
First of all, take a good quality picture with a relevant winter theme. Ideally it should be one you have taken yourself. If not, you need to have permission to use it online by its owner. Make sure there is no motion in it, i.e. running waters (sea, rivers), wind, people or cars moving etc. If there are people clearly depicted, you also need to have their permission. For our example, I chose a photo I took some years ago in beautiful Gent, Belgium. The angel statue is a lovely Christmas theme.
We will now use an online photo editor to edit the picture. There are many free websites that can do wonders. For our purpose, I have chosen PicMonkey for its smooth and intuitive functions. Open the picture in PicMonkey and after you do the basic fixes (if necessary), go to the Basic Edits menu and click on the snowflake icon at the bottom called ‘Themes’. Choose the Winterland theme and apply the Frost effect. Next, choose the Santa Land theme, go to Season’s Messages and choose one of the messages. Position and align the message on the picture. Save your work as picture number 0. This will be our master picture.
We will now create a few different versions of the master picture. Open the master picture in PicMonkey. Choose the Winterland theme again, but this time apply the Snowfall effect. Set the Amount meter to 30%. Save this picture as number 1. Open the master picture again and repeat the same process this time with 40% Snowfall Amount. Save it as picture number 2. Repeat the same steps for Snowfall Amount 50%, 60% and 70%. Save them as pictures 3, 4, and 5 respectively.
Next, use these pictures on a GIF maker. Again, there are many free online GIF makers. For our purpose, I have chosen MakeAGif. Choose the Picture to GIF method from the homepage and add the pictures 1 to 5 (not the master picture). You can customize your GIF to suit your needs. However, I have found that the default settings actually do a pretty decent job, so I click straight away Create a GIF and wait for the result. Depending on the number of pictures and their size, this can take a while.
Success! Download your GIF and you are ready to use it on your school website! You can aslo set it as a project for your students.