KickMyGraphics is a small, intuitive freeware program that can create animated GIF images from multiple images and even from videos. The program supports a wide range of formats: jpg, png, bmp, gif – for images, and mpg, avi, asf, mp4, wmv, mov and a couple of others, for videos. Aside from creating new animated GIF images, KickMyGraphics can break open videos into their individual frames, or modify existing GIF images into new ones.
To get started, click on the “Add graphics” button and load a sequence of images into the editor. The graphic will immediately start playing in an endless loop, which I found distracting. Quickly hit the Space bar to pause the animation.
Instead of a sequence of images, you can load a video file and the program will split the video into its constituent frames. There is a limit to the number of frames you can import – 350. This is the absolute limit KickMyGraphics can handle at a time. 350 frames translates to about 11.7 seconds of video playback, at 30 fps. If your video is longer, use a video editor to trim to the video to the required length.
Initially, all images/frames loaded into the program are selected. If you don’t want to include certain frames in the animation, you can deselect them by clicking on it. KickMyGraphics has an exceedingly clever tool that allows you to quickly drop frames from an animation, which is particular handy when converting videos into animated GIFs.
A typical video playbacks around 30 frames per second but this is too high for GIF images. GIF compression is not optimized for video, so the file size of a converted animated GIF image will almost always be larger than that of the original source video file. The only way to keep file size down is to have a slower frame rate (or poorer quality), and that calls for frame dropping.
KickMyGraphics lets you easily drop frames from a video file by specifying how many frames to skip between two successive frames. Grab the slider called “Step frame(s)” and slide it to the right until you feel the animation is reasonably smooth.
If the original frames or imported images were large, you can resize them by using the resize slider. You can also zoom into an image by using the zoom slider. Alternatively, you can crop the images to draw the attention to a specific area. Rotating images is also supported.
Select the delay in millisecond between two frames, and the number of times you want the animation to play. The default value of zero will playback the animation endlessly.
KickMyGraphics also offers two interesting animation looping options. “Loopback mode” will play the animation from first frame to the last frame, and when it reaches the end, it will playback in the reverse direction from the last frame to the first. The loop will then start again. Loopback results in seamless animation where you can’t tell where the animation begins and where it ends. The other looping option is “Reverse mode” which is simple reverse playback.
Once you are done editing, select the output quality and click the “Make GIF animation” button to save your finished animation. One problem is that the program doesn’t tell in advance how large the output file will be. There is no way of knowing that until you have saved the file. If the resulting animation turns out to be larger than intended, you might have to make another try.
KickMyGraphics is a very good GIF animator and editor. What it lacks currently is a raster graphics editor. Add that and we’ll have a clear winner.