YouTube finally lets you make GIFs without leaving YouTube

Without any fanfare, YouTube has introduced a built-in GIF creation tool for selected videos and channels.

Andy Baio, a former CTO of Kickstarter, first spotted the update on Thursday.

The rollout is limited for the time being. The option appears on videos in the PBS Digital Studios' Ideas channel, as pointed out in the tweet above, under each video's 'Share' option. The option is not available on Mashable's channel or several others that we checked.

Image: Screenshot, YouTube

If you have ever created short, looping animations, you will appreciate the simplicity of YouTube's tool. At the top is a film scrubber, which displays a series of frames from the video above. The frame tool moves along the strip as the video plays above and can be grabbed and dragged to any point in the video. It defaults to a three-second grab, but can be stretched out to six seconds or condensed to 0.3 seconds.

Right below the film scrubber is a preview window that shows you your GIF in real time; to the right sit two windows with the time stamps for the start and end of your GIF clip. Below, you can enter meme tet into fields to display at the top and bottom of your GIF. Once you click the large 'create GIF' button, YouTube generates your final GIF and presents you with a link to email, an embeddable code, and social share links.

We've reached out to PBS and YouTube for comment on how the launch channels were selected. PBS, which is a nonprofit, may have presented fewer copyright concerns, but as GIFs are sound-free and no longer than six seconds, it's unlikely they would run into trouble from media or music companies.

Various free and ad-supported GIF creation tools already allow GIF creation from YouTube videos, but YouTube's own tool would make it a much simpler option.

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