Dev

Recording Screencast GIFs

Mar 21, 2017

I use GIFs a lot. So much so that I wrote a blog post about the perfect GIF workflow using Alfred and Dropbox. Aside from reacting to tweets with a favorite Seinfeld clip, GIFs provide a fantastic way to capture and share new features in Cushion. I can record an interaction to really show off the little details that make it special, rather than simply sharing a screenshot.

licecap

For the past few years, I’ve relied heavily on a little-known app named LICECap. Despite the unfortunate name, this single purpose app was great for quickly and easily recording a segment of the screen as a GIF. After a while, however, I noticed that the quality of its generated GIFs wasn’t ideal. With Cushion’s subtle variation of light grey colors, LICECap had trouble distinguishing between them all and would often remove a few when optimizing. I also had to record a GIF several times to get it right because LICECap didn’t provide any way of editing a clip after the fact.

screenflow

I decided to try a different workflow, which involved multiple apps and several additional steps, but would preserve the colors and quality I was after. In this new workflow, I would record the interaction using ScreenFlow—an app for recording and editing video screencasts. After exporting the screencast, I would import the video file into Photoshop and save for web as a GIF—making sure to optimize it enough to reach the 5mb maximum filesize for Twitter uploads.

Phew.

This workflow certainly wasn’t ideal and took much longer than using LICECap, but the GIF quality it produced was worth it... until recently. Earlier this year, I stumbled upon an app created by Giphy, the internet’s beloved GIF search engine. The app is called Giphy Capture and it’s by far the best way I’ve found to record a screencast GIF.

giphy capture

The app itself is expectedly rough and quirky—even the filename, which is in all caps. When you open the app, it shows a transparent, cyan window, which is your recording area. Clicking record starts capturing the screen, then clicking the stop button ends the recording.

giphy capture edit

Once you’ve finished recording, Giphy Capture lets you trim the clip or edit its dimensions, frame rate, or looping style. Even if you maximize the settings to full size and a high frame rate, the filesize is still incredibly small, so I choose these settings every time. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t have a way of saving default settings, so each time I record a GIF, I need to adjust the settings before saving.

giphy capture save

When you’re ready to save the GIF, you can either download it as a file or upload it to Giphy. I save the GIFs to my hard drive, so I can keep local copies and easily upload them to Twitter or our website.

giphy capture result

Compared to LICECap and ScreenFlow, I’m blown away by the quality of Giphy Capture’s GIFs. The frame rate is smooth, Cushion’s light grey colors are defined, and the filesize is surprisingly small. Despite its scrappy feel, Giphy Capture is my new go-to tool for recording interactions. If you need a screen recording app for GIFs, definitely give Giphy Capture a try.

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Archive

  1. Restructuring an Evolving App: Part 1
    Design
  2. My Typical Week as a Founder
    Story
  3. Building Components in a Sandbox
    Dev
  4. Reactive Time with Vue.js
    Dev
  5. Visualizing Daylight Saving Time
    Dev
  6. Recording Screencast GIFs
    Dev
  7. Writing a Job Listing
    Story
  8. Using Feature Flags to Run Betas
    Dev
  9. Our First Company Lunch
    Story
  10. How to embed Vue.js & Vuex inside an AngularJS app... wait what?
    Dev
  11. Funding Cushion
    Story
  12. Hiring a Team of Freelancers
    Story
  13. Taking a Real Break From Work
    Story
  14. Slack as a Notification Center
    Dev
  15. Document Your Features
    Story
  16. 300
    Story
  17. Vacations
    Design
  18. Offering Discounts
    Design
  19. Waves of Traffic
    Story
  20. Less Blogging, More Journaling
    Story
  21. Retention Through Useful Features
    Design
  22. The Onboarding Checklist
    Design
  23. Spreading the Word
    Story
  24. From Beta to Launch - The Subdomain
    Dev
  25. From Beta to Launch - Sign up
    Design
  26. From Beta to Launch - Messaging
    Design
  27. Launch
    Story
  28. Authenticating with 3rd Party Services
    Dev
  29. Intro to Integrations
    Design
  30. Inspiration vs Imitation
    Story
  31. The Emotional Rollercoaster
    Story
  32. Designing Project Blocks
    Design
  33. Everything in Increments
    Story
  34. Deleting Your Account
    Design
  35. Designing the Subscription Page
    Design
  36. Rewriting the Timeline
    Dev
  37. Restructuring the Individual Project Page
    Design
  38. Project Blocks
    Story
  39. Redesigning the Homepage
    Design
  40. Multiple Timelines
    Design
  41. Archiving and Estimate Differences
    Design
  42. Multiple Financial Goals
    Design
  43. Zooming in on the Timeline
    Design
  44. Currency
    Dev
  45. Preferences, Accounts, and a Typeface Change
    Design
  46. Sending Out the First Email
    Story
  47. Currency Inputs, Notifications, and Invoice Nets
    Design
  48. Dots and Lines
    Design
  49. Calculating in the Database and Revealing Tendencies
    Dev
  50. Improved Form UX
    Design
  51. Cushion is Online
    Story
  52. Schedule Timeline Patterns
    Design
  53. A Slimmer Schedule Timeline
    Design
  54. The Schedule Timeline
    Design
  55. Plugging in Real Data for the First Time
    Design
  56. Transitions and Project Lists
    Design
  57. Death to Modals
    Design
  58. The Individual Project Page
    Design
  59. Estimated Incomes and Talks with Other Freelancers
    Story
  60. Statuses to Lists and the Paid Beta
    Story
  61. The Timeline
    Story
  62. Invoice Terminology
    Dev
  63. Modal Forms
    Dev
  64. Wiring the Backend to the Frontend
    Dev
  65. Balancing Design and Dev
    Story
  66. Timecop, Monocle, and Vagrant
    Dev
  67. Going with Ruby and Sinatra
    Dev
  68. Ditching local-first and trying out Node.js
    Dev
  69. Switching to AngularJS
    Dev
  70. Building the Table with Vue.js
    Dev
  71. Clients, Projects, and Invoices
    Dev
  72. Introduction
    Story

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