Gif Brewery 3 icon

Years ago, I reviewed Gifbrewery, a gif creation software, that converted video to a gif, and in my usual style lamented over the death of, GifBuilder. GifBuilder remains the gold standard of gif creation, even acing out Macromedia Fireworks for its simple and insanely effective ability to create gifs frame-by-frame. It wasn't perfect, but it did offer the most control.

When I reviewed back in 2013, it was revelatory, as it made the creation of video-to-gif easier than any solution. Creating a GIF's workflow was simplistic:

  • Open Video file
  • Crop / Add text overlays
  • Assign gif properties (frame rate or frame count, looping mode, colors, color dithering)
  • Create

GifBrewery mostly focused on quick and dirty video to gif conversion with the only editing allowing users to fade in and out text overlays (with blending modes), image crop and in and out points for the video edits. While it wasn't GifBuilder, it was something novel and certainly worth its small price.

Gifbrewery to Gif Brewery 3

One of the more unusual changes is a product name change from Gifbrewery to Gif Brewery, along with a flat icon. Outwardly Gif Brewery 3 sports a more polished UI. Out the gate, the icon bar is right-clickable allowing the user to display icons, or icons + text or simply text, along with a customizable toolbar. It's a nice and welcome improvement and keeps in line with OS X centric applications like Sketch.

Gif Brewery interface with frames displayed
Gif Brewery 3 splash screen

The splash page greets you with a few new features: screen capture, camera capture and video import, the first two being entirely new. Screen captures/camera captures allow the user to record to a movie file, that is automatically imported to Gif Brewery. It's essentially the same as importing a video except removing the step of using a 3rd party program to capture. It's surprisingly useful.

Gif Brewery screen capture
Screen Capture only captures full screen, cropping happens in post.

The gif properties operate almost exactly as GifBrewery, except with a much more useful color count that's no longer limited to factors of 2. Overlays now get a bit more TLC with the ability to add image overlays. It's a welcome addition, likely useful for anyone looking watermark images. Once it comes time to create the gif, Gif Brewery 3's seems a little zippier and has a more meaningful status bar.

View frames but to what end?

Gif Brewery interface

Gif Brewery now can to view each frame inside a gif in a frame view function which appears to be purely aesthetic. It's like peering into the potential of what GifBuilder offered in almost 20 years ago: the ability to set time delays on individual frames and add/delete individual frames. Since I'm not privy to the minds of the developers, I can only hope it allows a per-frame editing mode so that gifs can hang on individual frames and unnecessary ones removed (one of the most sorely missed features in Gif Brewery).

The other tall ask I have is the ability to create transparent gifs. At this point, I use gifsicle to create a transparent gif from the command line which looks something like:

gifsicle -U --disposal=previous --transparent="#ffffff" -O3 opaque.gif > transparent.gif

It adds another step, and the optimization seems to go out the window once I've run my compiled gif through the gifscle.

Final Thoughts

Is Gif Brewery 3 worth it? That depends, if you own GifBrewery 2.x, the differences are mostly locked up in the UX. GifBrewery 2.x had a habit of mild instability. Every now and again it'd crash, but infrequently. It's nice that Gif Brewery 3 hasn't exhibited any of this and the screen-capture-to-gif and video-capture-to-gif could be a killer feature for some users. That said, there's not a huge incentive to upgrade other than to stay current. At $10, it's really hard to come up with any good reason not to upgrade.

That said, if you don't already own Gif Brewery 3, it's the best game in town. You won't find a piece of software better suited to converting video to gifs. Even my beloved GifBuilder never had that functionality.

Developers, if you're out there reading. If Gif Brewery 3 adds my much pined for individual frame editing, it'd be worth every penny and then some. Gif Brewery 3 is now only inches from becoming one of the stars of the indie Mac scene. Even as I write this, it's already a piece of software I use professionally in my front end web development and love.

Version Reviewed: 3.0.1

Official Website: Gif Brewery

Mac App Store: Gif Brewery 3