Live Motion GIF Screencasts: With a name like LICEcap, It Has to Be Good


By Sarah Rath

If you make a lot of screencasts, tutorials, or documentation, you probably keep a keen eye out for any tool that can make your documentation better. Sometimes when a picture isn’t enough but a video is too much, you can take an animated GIF recording of your screen.

Let me introduce you to LICEcap, an open source tool for taking short screen recordings and saving them as web-friendly live motion GIF screencast images.

And with a name like LICEcap, it must be good!

I know I know– I don’t know what’s going on with the name. LICE Cap? Gross. However, it’s from the makers of Reaper digital audio workstation, an excellent pro-level audio app. The same people behind the legendary WinAmp audio player. So stick with me and try not to think about creepy crawlies in your hair.


Funny GIFs are all the rage, but a quick GIF in your tutorial can show your readers where to click their mouse or just provide some visual interest to your page.

Google Translate translating text from Spanish to English.

A moving image keeps visual interest


GIFs have the added advantage of being much smaller files than videos so they’re easier and cheaper to host. All GIFs are silent too, which means your viewers will not have to worry about unwanted noise disturbing their quiet surroundings when they watch your screencast. The best thing about using GIFs in your work is that they are a native web technology that any browser can display without 3rd party plugins.

Another awesome use for GIFs is to take full-motion selfies! I used GIF Camera for Android to take my G+ avatar photo, pictured below:

Ted spinning on the beach in Santa Barbara

taken with GIF Camera for Android

Hopefully with these great little tools in your toolbox you’ll have a few more options of how you want to communicate your ideas!


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Written by

Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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