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WGif is a command line tool for creating animated GIFs from YouTube videos.

Other tools can make gifs, but no other tool can make high quality gifs easily like wgif can

you can use that quote on your readme

Kevin Liddle, Software Craftsman


Usage: wgif [YouTube URL] [output file] [options]

    -f, --frames N          Number of frames in the final gif. (Default 20)
    -s, --start HH:MM:SS    Start creating gif from input video at this timestamp. (Default 00:00:00)
    -d, --duration seconds  Number of seconds of input video to capture. (Default 1)
    -w, --width pixels      Width of the gif in pixels. (Default 480px)
    -u, --upload            Upload finished gif to Imgur
    -p, --preview           Preview finished gif with Quick Look
  	-i, --info				Displays info about finished gif (currently just file size)
    -h, --help              Print help information.


    $ wgif bjork.gif -s 00:03:30 -d 2 -w 400 -i --upload

Installation (Mac OS X)

Update 2014/04/23: One of WGif's dependencies requires ImageMagick to compile. Before installing, make sure you:

$ brew install imagemagick

using Homebrew, or install it with your favorite package manager.

Then, to install from Rubygems:

$ gem install wgif

To install from source, run

$ gem build wgif.gemspec


$ gem install wgif-0.3.0.gem

to install the executable.

WGif uses FFmpeg for video transcoding and ImageMagick to optimize GIFs. To install dependencies with Homebrew, just run

$ wgif install

Making a GIF

WGif expects two arguments: a YouTube video URL and a name for the GIF it creates. So,

$ wgif bjork.gif

Is enough to create a GIF of Bjork explaining her television. Without any extra parameters, WGif starts at the beginning of the video, and creates a 20-frame, 480px GIF of the first second. Since GIFs are more art than science, you'll probably want to tweak the size, duration, and number of frames.

Start by isolating the section of the video you'd like to GIF. Bjork starts her advice about dishonest Icelandic poets around 3 minutes 30 seconds, and it lasts about two seconds. Pass the start timestamp with -s or --start and the duration with -d or --duration:

$ wgif bjork.gif --start 00:03:30 -d 2

A good start, but the GIF is way too big: around 5.6 megabytes. We can pass -f or --frames to specify the total number of frames in the finished GIF. This defaults to 20, so let's drop a few to reduce the file size:

$ wgif bjork.gif --start 00:03:30 -d 2 -f 18

To preview the output in a Quick Look window, add the --preview flag:

$ wgif bjork.gif --start 00:03:30 -d 2 -f 18 --preview

You'll see a preview pop up in a Quick Look window like this one:


Dropping frames shrunk the file to 2.2 megabytes, but it's still not small enough to post on my Sugarcubes fan-Tumblr. Let's scale it down a little with the -w or --width flag:

$ wgif bjork.gif --start 00:03:30 -d 2 -f 18 --width 350

And finally, now that everything's completed, let's add the --upload flag to automatically post it to Imgur:

$ wgif bjork.gif --start 00:03:30 -d 2 -f 18 --width 350 --upload
Finished. GIF uploaded to Imgur at

And here it is:


"You shouldn't let poets lie to you."


  • v0.5.4, 2015/7/26: Add --version flag. Upgrade viddl-rb and rmagick.
  • v0.5.3, 2015/7/26: Fix sort order of globbed frames. (Issue #19)
  • v0.5.2, 2015/1/24: Use /usr/bin/env ruby in binary.
  • v0.5.1, 2014/8/15: Lock down dependency versions.
  • v0.5.0, 2014/8/15: Add support for sub-second timestamps in --start and --duration flags (Issue #13).
  • v0.4.0, 2014/5/30: Show file size with --info flag. (Thanks, justalisteningman!)
  • v0.3.1, 2014/5/10: Fixes frame order for gifs with more than 100 frames. (Issue #14)
  • v0.3.0, 2014/4/20: Add Quick Look preview with --preview flag.
  • v0.2.0, 2014/4/11: Add automatic upload to Imgur with --upload flag.


Thanks to arlandism and ellie007 for pairing on Imgur uploads. Thanks to justalisteningman for adding file size info. Thanks to aparrish for diagnosing an Ubuntu frame ordering bug.


Are welcome via pull request.


This project is MIT licensed. See LICENSE.txt for details.


A command line tool for creating animated GIFs from YouTube.







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