Any GIF Animator is a simple tool which can create animated GIFs from videos or your favourite YouTube clips, and upload them for immediate sharing with the rest of the world.
After a quick installation (no adware, but the program does ask to install Media Player Codec Pack Lite) you're able to import your first video. The program can open a wide range of formats (3GP, ASF, AVI, DAT, FLV, MKV, MOV, MP4, MPEG, RAM/RM/ RMVB, TS, VOB, WEBM, WMV), and it'll also download YouTube clips if you just provide the appropriate URL.
An embedded media player then allows you to browse through your video clip, find and mark the section you'd like to convert. This isn't difficult - you just have to choose the appropriate start and end points - but unfortunately the program doesn't allow you to step through the movie in frames (the smallest increment is 0.1 seconds), so it's not as precise as we'd like.
Once that's sorted, though, you're able to configure every other aspect of the finished GIF in great detail. So you can set its size and frame rate; crop the image; tweak saturation, brightness and contrast; add a text caption, choose the best dithering method, set the animation type (looping, direction) and more. Or, if you're in a hurry, you can just accept the default settings - they're fine for a first attempt.
And when you're happy with the clip, all you have to do is click "Convert to GIF" and Any GIF Animator will process your chosen video, create an animated GIF version, and upload it to the AnyGif server, where you'll be given the URLs you need to share the clip with others.
One very obvious issue here is that the program is only about uploading animations. You don't have the option not to share your work, which will be visible to everyone when it's online. And the program doesn't even offer to save a local copy (although you can always save a copy directly from your browser, or grab the temporary file the program creates - see C:\Users\[UserName]\AppData\Roaming\Any GIF Animator, for instance, or search your system for out.gif).
And we'd also urge caution if you're looking for a family-friendly program. Animations appear on the AnyGIF site immediately, without any apparent moderation or checking, and while that's convenient it also means there's plenty of hardcore content on offer.
There's a lot to like about Any GIF Animator, then, and you can use it right now to produce quality animations. But there's also some work to do, and options like the ability to step through a video frame-by-frame, and have more control over what happens to the finished image, really need to be added very soon.
Any GIF Animator is effective and easy to use, but has some major annoyances, including the lack of an option to save your animation locally