GifCam | Easy Way to Make Gif Movies

gifcam

GifCam is my favorite software to create GIF movies. Licecap is a similarly light and portable app, only it doesn’t come with as many handy options. Both GifCam and Licecap are free. Unlike GifCam, Licecap works on Macs.

GifCam works on Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. According to the developer there will never be a Mac version: “no plan for iOS, it is not even possible, iOS doesn’t allow apps to capture the home screen or other apps, only Apple could make an app like this”.

If more control over the quality of the GIF is desired Photoshop can be used, or a dedicated GIF movie maker like Easy GIF Animator. But GifCam works great for most GIF movie projects.

GifCam is portable and doesn’t need to be installed, running from a 1.5 megabyte self-contained executable.

GifCam can record anything on your screen, from an MSPaint painting to typed text to video to video games.

One of the features I like best is the ability to open GIFs and edit them. Click the drop down arrow beside Rec and select Open. Windows XP doesn’t natively support “split button,” so right click on the Rec button to access the menu.

Getting Started

1. Download GifCam here. As of this writing, the latest version is 3.1.

2. Unzip the GifCam zip file, and double-click the GifCam executable.

3. Position GifCam over the content to record. Place the cursor over the edges of GifCam to resize. The resulting GIF file will have whatever dimensions chosen during this step. It’s important to keep the GIF dimensions small (less than 300×300) if sharing online, otherwise the file will be difficult to view for those with slow internet connections.

gifcam 2

4. The cursor can be captured by clicking the drop down arrow beside Rec and selecting Capture Cursor. Play the video clip so that it begins a second or two before and after the desired content — the extraneous frames can be deleted afterwards. Click the Rec button to begin capture. Click the Stop button when finished capturing. If intending to share the GIF movie online it’s best to capture no more than 3-4 seconds of content, otherwise the file will be difficult to view for those with slow internet connections. Click the drop down arrow to the right of the Save button. GifCam has 6 color reduction formats: Quantize, Nearest, 256 Colors, 20 Colors, Grayscale, and Monochrome. Quantize is the best option in most cases. Additional save options include saving to AVI and saving without the Green Screen effect by clicking Shift+Save. You can also export to AVI. Click Save and give the capture a name. Click Save again.

Don’t close GifCam just yet. There are some features to be explored, and that can be done using the clip we already created.

The following GIF has been saved using the Quantize setting. It’s 167 frames and 5.56 megabytes:

fullgif

This is a bit too large. Some frames can be deleted, such as the dissolve at the beginning and the end. GifCam has a convenient editing tool, which allows deletion of frames, among other handy features.

Delete Frames

Click the Edit button:

gifcamdemo

Up pops the editing box (on the right, above). Click the scrollbar at the bottom of the editing window and scroll to the frame on which the GIF movie will begin:

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Because of the scattered green dots I’m having difficulty seeing where the dissolve ends. So I will right click on one of the frames and turn off Show Green Screen. (Incidentally, Green Screen is a very useful feature which cuts down on the file size by only redrawing pixels which change between frames. However, GIFs can be saved without the Green Screen effect by clicking Shift+Save.):

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The result is that the green dots disappear, and now the frames can be clearly seen:

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I’ll now right click on the frame that precedes the frame I want for the beginning of the GIF movie. I’ll click Delete From This Frame To Start:

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If you want to shave off frames from the end of the capture just follow the process above, but scroll to the frame which follows the frame you want as the end of the GIF movie, then right click and select Delete From This Frame To End. If you have only a few frames to delete then the Delete This Frame option would work as well.

Shaving off frames from the beginning and end of my GIF movie decreased the file size from 5.56 megabytes to 2.27 megabytes.

Incidentally, as long as you don’t close the GifCam window after capturing, you can experiment with all the different options by selecting the Preview feature:

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This is what the GIF movie will look like after being processed through the 6 color reduction formats:

Quantize (69 frames, 2.27 megabytes):

Quantize

Nearest (69 frames, 2.06 megabytes):

Nearest

256 Colors (69 frames, 1.39 megabytes):

256 Colors

20 Colors (69 frames, 1.15 megabytes):

20 Colors

Grayscale (69 frames, 2.53 megabytes):

Grayscale

Monochrome (69 frames, 173 kilobytes):

Monochrome

To cut down on space even more, the Delete Even Frames feature comes in handy. In the editor, right click and select Delete Even Frames:

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The 69 frames have been shaved down to 34 frames. The resulting GIF movie looks pretty good, if a bit choppy. You can resolve the choppiness by experimenting with the delay settings.

This is what the GIF movie will look like after even frames have been deleted, and processed through the 6 color reduction formats:

Quantize (34 frames, 1.18 megabytes):

Quantize without even frames

Nearest (34 frames, 1.06 megabytes):

nearest without even frames

256 Colors (34 frames, 748 kilobyte):

256 colors without even frames

20 Colors (34 frames, 620 kilobyte):

20 colors without even frames

Grayscale (34 frames, 1.36 megabytes):

grayscale without even frames

Monochrome (34 frames, 95.8 kilobyte):

monochrome without even frames

So the size is cut in half, and the quality is still pretty good.

We’re now going to explore the Add Text feature.

Open the editor. Determine which frames will get text. At the top of each frame will be seen Frame: and Delay:, followed by the particular frame number and the delay rate.

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The Twin Peaks GIF movie has 69 frames. I will add the text Saw This, and I’ll insert the text at Frame 0 and have it end at Frame 20. Right click on the frame at which the text should begin and click Add Text:

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Up will pop the Add Text window:

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Place the cursor over the part that reads To Frame. Left clicking on that area, use a mouse or touchpad to scroll leftward or rightward until the number following To Frame correlates to the frame number on which the text should end:

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Begin typing the desired text. Be careful here: text is not alterable after exiting the Add Text window. The text typed will replace the default Type to add Text in the window.

After typing, place the cursor over the text and move it to a desired location.

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You can format the text. Place the cursor on the text and right click.

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The Twin Peaks GIF frames are pretty dark. So I’ll give the text a yellow shadow. I’ll also change the font to Magneto, italicize it, and decrease the size to 12:

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Exit the Add Text editor by clicking the X on the upper right hand corner and save the GIF.

The result:

asdfasd

The text begins on the first frame and disappears after the 20th frame.

Resize Feature:

In the editor right click on any frame and select Resize:

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Up will pop the Resize window:

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Place your cursor over Percent 100%. Left clicking on that area, use your mouse or touchpad to scroll righward to increase the size or leftward to decrease the size. You cannot increase the size of individual frames. The resizing will effect all frames. Exit the Resize window by clicking the X in the upper right hand corner. Save the file.

This is the size increased 150%:

asdfasdcxcxxc

This increased the size of the GIF movie to 5.51 megabytes. The Resize feature is more useful when decreasing the dimensions of the GIF. It’s generally not very useful to resize, since you’ll be capturing at the desired resolution. Be aware that once resized, you can’t go back to the size at which you captured. You would have to junk the GIF and capture again.

Yoyo

The Yoyo effect reverses frames.

GIF movie without Yoyo effect:

normal

GIF movie with Yoyo effect:

yoyo

Frames Per Second

GIFs can be recorded at 3 different fps settings: 10, 16, 33.

Quantize (10 fps, 2.98 megabytes):

Quantize 10 fps

Quantize (16 fps, 5.14 megabytes):

Quantize 16 fps

Quantize (33 fps, 8.26 megabytes):

Quantize 33 fps

The more frames, the higher the quality. Again, you can achieve even higher quality by disabling the Green Screen effect while saving, by clicking Shift+Save.

The size can be decreased by using a different color reduction setting and by deleting even frames.

Draw Green Screen

The last feature I’m going to cover is the Draw Green Screen tool. After capturing open up the editor, right click on the frame and select Draw Green Screen:

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Using the mouse or touchpad, draw something on the frame:

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I drew the word “cruel” on the first frame. Then I exited the editor and saved the GIF using the Quantize reduction. Here’s the result.

Quantize cruel

So that wraps up the GifCam tutorial.

According to the developer, future editions of GifCam will support:

  • apng export
  • automatic uploads to social and image sharing networks
  • cropping and rotating
  • copying frames to clipboard
  • CTRL+V to paste text

Interesting Websites | LifePhotoSearch.net

Google began hosting Life magazine’s photo archive in 2008. In 2010 the search function broke, and Google has not fixed the issue.

LifePhotoSearch.net addresses this problem by allowing visitors to search the Life photo archive with the original functionality intact.

Interesting Websites | New York Social Diary

New York Social Diary

Wikipedia:

New York Social Diary is a website that publishes photographs of various socialites and also provides a calendar of events that they might attend. It is maintained by David Patrick Columbia,who founded it in 2000. The Diary originated in 1993 as a monthly column in Quest magazine. The column had a similar focus to the present website.

http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/

Best Free Wallpaper Websites

In addition to the websites listed below, Google Images is a great place to find free wallpapers. Go to Google Images and search for wallpaper. Then click Search Tools>Size>Exactly and type your computer dimensions into the exact size box. Google will retrieve the relevant wallpapers. You could also use the following url: http://images.google.com/images?q=1920×1080+river. Replace the bold parts with your desired resolution and subject matter. Similarly, use the following url to find wallpapers with Bing search: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=wallpapers+1366×768

Space lovers may find some good high resolution images at NASA gallery and APOD which can be resized to the desired resolution.

A good tip for those instances when you find a wallpaper you love but that doesn’t come in your desired resolution: resize a larger resolution.

In no particular order:

Wallbase (To filter out the celebrity wallpapers try a search term like artwork,)

4WALLED (Scrapes 4Chan and 7Chan’s wallpapers. Very NSFW, so search for SFW wallpapers if desired.)

Reddit Wallpapers

The Desktop Wallpaper Project

GoodFon

SimpleDesktops (Wallpapers for the minimalist.)

wallpaperfusion (Multi-monitor wallpapers.)

Desktoppr (Sync wallpapers with Dropbox.)

The Paper Wall

Social Wallpapering

Digital Blasphemy

Vlad Studio (Featuring wallpapers designed by Russian artist Vlad Gerasimov. Wallpapers for smaller resolutions are free.)

Mike Bonnell

Mandolux (Multi-monitor wallpapers.)

Desktop Nexus

Desktop Machine (For car lovers.)

Wallpaper Stock

WallpapersWide

Wallcoo

Kuvva

PixelGirl Presents

interfacelift

deviantART

eWallpapers

HD Wallpapers

Windows Console | Copy/Paste

To copy and paste in the Windows Console or terminal right click (or press the Alt, Spacebar, and P keys) anywhere on the title bar and select Properties:

2013-11-02 14_10_32-Add New Post ‹ PC Rede — WordPress

Click the checkbox for QuickEdit Mode and press OK.

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You will now be able to copy and paste within the terminal, and between the terminal and other programs.

Files 2 Folder

Files 2 Folder is a handy Windows shell extension that creates and names a folder based on a filename, and moves the selected file to the folder.

But it can perform a few other functions.

After installing, the option Files 2 Folder appears in the right-click context menu. For example, if right-clicking on a file named Note.txt the context menu will pop up and you click Files 2 Folder:

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Upon clicking Files 2 Folder the file Note.txt will be automatically moved into a folder of the same name, sans the extension:

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Files 2 Folder has a few functions for multiple file selections.

1. The first multiple file function allows you to give the folder a custom name:

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After naming the folder and clicking OK the files will be moved into the new folder:

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2. The second multiple file function allows you to move files to individual folders based on their names:

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The result:

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3. The third multiple file function allows you to move files to individual folders based on their extensions:

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The result:

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Files 2 Folder also has the ability to move multiple folders to one folder:

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The result:

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If you were to move a single folder to a folder:

 

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This is what happens:

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The folder is moved into a folder of the same name, but followed by a tilde.

Files 2 Folder works on Windows XP and up. If using Windows Vista or 7 you will need to run the program in administrator mode.

Survivor Outtakes

I need more Survivorama productions!

Scrabble Online | Wordbiz

I used to belong to a private Scrabble club located at http://www.wiz1.com/theclub/. It was a great little website that was shut down years ago, probably due to legal threats from Hasbro.

I wasn’t able to find another online venue that offered real Scrabble for years. And then I discovered the free Internet Scrabble Club program Wordbiz.

2013-10-29 10_26_12-www.isc.ro - WordBiz 1.8.7

Play people from around the world. Seek games with players based on rating level.

Directions here.

Google Book Downloader

Google Book Downloader is a handy Greasemonkey script for downloading public domain books, or portions of copyrighted books, from Google Books. This script is mainly useful for downloading portions of copyrighted books, since Google permits many public domain books to be downloaded as pdfs.

jack clayton google book downloaderWhen you find a book on Google Books, the Google Book Downloader script places links to either side of the book. In the image above, there’s a link to “Download this book.” And another link on the right side of the page named “PP1.” Each page that’s available for download will have one of these P links. When you click on “PP1″ an image of that page will pop up in a new tab. 2013-10-28 03_07_06-Jack Clayton - Neil Sinyard - Google BooksWhen you click “Download this book” drop-down lists will appear. Choose the page span to download.

Then click “Get Download Links.”

2013-10-28 03_11_03-Jack Clayton - Neil Sinyard - Google BooksThe pages available for download will appear.

You can save yourself the tedium of downloading the pages one by one by using a download manager such as DownThemAll or Internet Download Manager.

Search Websites by Keyword

In Firefox and Chrome you can search a website by typing a letter or letters in the address bar followed by a search string. This is useful because it’s faster than clicking a bookmark, waiting for the website to load, and then entering the search string into the search field.

1. Go to Amazon.com, or any website you frequently search.

2. Place your cursor in the search field and right click to access the context menu.

In Firefox:

keyword search firefox

In Chrome:

keyword search chrome

3. In Firefox click “Add a Keyword for this Search,” and in Chrome click “Add as search engine.”

4. Choose a letter to associate with the website. For Amazon, I go with the letter a. Easy to remember.

These are my favorites:

Amazon: a

Flickr: f

Google Books: gb

Google Images: gi

Google Maps: gm

IMDB: i

The Free Dictionary: d

Wikipedia: w

YouTube: y

This Search by Keyword function paired with a Google Custom Search engine can save loads of time if you want to search multiple websites for the same thing. Here’s a Google Custom Search engine that searches the music review websites AllMusic, Scaruffi, RobertChristgau, and MarkPrindle.

All I have to do to get results for, say, The La’s from all those music review sites is to first associate that custom search engine with, say. the letter m, and then type the letter m in the address bar, followed by The La’s.

Speaking of which:

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