Screencapture to GIF: how to record desktop and save screencast as animated GIF

This is a step-by-step howto to record your desktop and then save it as animated GIF using free software. The resulting file will be very small compared to video files, e.g. a 2 minutes long screencapture of a webpage browsing can be less than 1MB.

Requirements:

  • Windows
  • CamStudio
  • VirtualDub
  • Gimp
  • Gigabytes of free space in the destination drive for the intermediate video screencapture

How to:

  1. Install CamStudio
  2. Install VirtualDub (if you have a 64bit OS install the 64 bit version)
  3. Prepare the window you have to screencapture
  4. Capture the video
    1. Open CamStudio
    2. Options > Video Options > Codec Intel IYUV (lossless) and then OK
    3. Select Region > Windows (or other as needed)
    4. Press the record button and select the Window to record
    5. Press stop to stop recording
    6. Select a destination directory and filename: make sure you’ve enough free space
  5. Convert to GIF
    1. Decompress VirtualDub and launch the Veedub64.exe (user interface) or equivalent
    2. File > Open video file and then select the previously generated file (step 4.6)
    3. Video > Frame rate > Frame rate conversion
    4. Select Convert to fps and specify a low value like 2 and then OK
    5. Video > Color Depth
    6. From Output format to compressor / display select 16 bit RGB (555) or greyscale (0-255): it will downsize the output GIF file
    7. File > Export > Animated GIF
    8. Select Play once, infinite loop or specify a loop number
    9. Save the resulting file
  6. Edit the GIF
    1. Launch GIMP
    2. Optional: Select Window > Single window mode to keep all tools in one window (useful for PhotoShop users)
    3. Open the generated GIF (step 5.9)
    4. Crop, rescale and alter the image as you like
    5. Optional: Image > Mode > Indexed to change colors reducing filesize
    6. File > Export as… > Animated GIF
    7. Check the “As animation” flag
    8. Export

The GIF can now be published on forums, WordPress.com or any image hosting provider.

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2 thoughts on “Screencapture to GIF: how to record desktop and save screencast as animated GIF

  1. bertibruyn

    Thank you for these instructions, really helpful!! I always create screencast with a free web-based software calls Acethinker Online Screen Recorder, it can export the screencast as GIF file. Share it here as an alternative method to camstudio.

    Reply

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