Review: Create and customize animated GIFs with Free GIF Effect Application

Apply effects to animated GIFs with this Web-based freeware.

Viscomsoft's Free GIF Effect Application is the sort of descriptive name we like to see in this day and age where you can't tell your bank from your health insurer by name. This Web-based freeware applies effects to animated GIFs; everything from basic blurring, grayscale, and pixelating to special effects like Old Movies and Birthday. It also zooms, rotates, and resizes GIFs and makes it easy to post them online or share them through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. Free GIF Effect Application supports a wide range of interface languages and Windows editions, too; from 98 to 8, and it requires Silverlight. The latest release, v3.0, supports sharing photos on Viscomsoft's User Galleries.

Free GIF Effect Application's ad-supported user interface offers few amenities. The program's 35 effects are applied to the same image, a koala, in a thumbnail gallery. If you've ever visited a Tumblr page, packed with animated GIFs, you'll have a sense of Free GIF Effect Application's look. There's a field for browsing to and adding an image, plus an Output GIF section with options for image height and width and a checkbox for publishing images to Viscomsoft's gallery site, but that's it; no preview pane, no Help file, and no other options. We browsed to and selected an image, and then clicked on one of the effects to apply it. We mentioned that there's no preview pane, but we'd hoped our image would at least show up in the effects thumbnail gallery. It didn't, but we clicked the Output button anyway. That's when we learned we had to be signed in at the program's Web site just to process and save an image locally, without publishing it to the site. We saved our GIF to the desktop and then opened it in Internet Explorer. Only then could we view the results, which turned out nicely enough.

Free GIF Effect isn't difficult to use, but it's just too basic for our taste. It also needs refinements like the ability to preview effects. Standalone freeware that performs better is available, and there's no lack of places to share your finished GIFs online.

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