Animated gifs from the command line in MacOS

quick little command line for MP4 to GIF

Sometimes you need a gif from a video you made in Blender or heck even from an online video. Luckily, there is ffmpeg to help us out.  Here is a quick little command line that will turn your fancy HD video into a 320p gif for your meme sending ways.

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -filter_complex "scale=320:-1" output.gif

This takes an input video input.mp4 and scales it down to 320 pixels on the width while keeping the aspect ratio, then saves it as output.mp4


You can generate a palette of colors for you video with the following command:

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -filter_complex "[0:v] palettegen" palette.png

Then use that palette in your GIF

ffmpeg -i input.mp4 -i palette.png -r 12 -s 256x256 -filter_complex "[0:v][1:v] paletteuse" fancy.gif

Since the default palette in ffmpeg is 256, we are forcing it to use our colors.

Hot tip on GIF palette from:

Bonus Content

You can take a few seconds from a video to create memes with this super power.

You will need a tool like yt_dlp to get the video, but I will leave that for another post.

ffmpeg -ss 6 -t 1.2 -i RickAstley.mp4 -filter_complex "scale=320:-1" dance.gif

-ss is the start time [6 seconds in]

-t is the total number of seconds to capture [1.2 seconds to capture the dance]

This command will output the following gif:

dance like no one is watching

Now go out and shower the world with the love of Rick Astley