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(Pocket-lint) - Do you want a better way to convey your emotions online but can't formulate the perfect response? Simply make and send an animated GIF instead. It's not at all difficult: all you need is a camera-equipped smartphone and an app.

GIFs are everywhere. On any given day, you'll see them on Tumblr, news sites, adverts, and any other site imaginable. They're like little stop-motion video clips that you can send via email, social networks, or SMS messages. Not only are they brief to watch and easy to share, but they're also simple to create.

Pocket-lint has detailed the best ways to make a GIF. You can get started today, and it probably won't cost you a thing except maybe a bit of time.

There's an app for that

Most people are probably using their smartphones to capture photos and videos. And that means they're more than likely to use the same device to make GIFs. Good news is there are plenty of mobile apps available that will let you make GIFs as well. Browse the list below to review the some notable apps (arranged in no particular order).

- iOS and Android
- Free (or $1.99 for premium on iOS)

GifBoom lets you easily compile GIFs as well as create engaging photos and videos, instantly from your smartphone. You can play with nifty features such as stop motion, time lapse, vintage filters, text overlays, music, and more. You also get unlimited uploads and options for sharing to social networks. The premium version offers more features like adjustable burst speed, aspect ratio for cropping, looping, and the ability to change speed.

And if browsing GIFs is mostly you're thing, visit GifBoom.com to discover user-uploaded animations.

GIF Camera
- Android
- Free

GIF Camera is one of the highest-rated apps for GIF creation on the Google Play Store. Just make sure you download the right one, because there are several apps with the same name from different developers. The right app lets you capture moments as they happen with the GIF camera and then immediately save those moments as GIFs. You can control the speed, share to social networks, and even create a GIF with your own local photos.

- iOS and Windows Phone (Android coming soon)
- Free

Although the app and website claim you can create animated photos using Moquu, just know that means you can create animated GIFs. We're not sure what's up with the elusive marketing language, but the service is still worth exploring. You can shoot and edit GIFs using both your cameras, apply cool effects and change the speed, share to social networks, organise GIFs into folders, use digital zoom, and so much more. This app is super feature rich.

- iOS and Android
- Free

Cinemagram is yet another ridiculously simple app to create and share GIFs. You can record short video clips, convert those clips into GIFs, and add text and colour effects. Once you're done, share to Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. The real standout difference with this app is that it's made for cinemagraphs. That means you could repeat only a minor movement in your clip and then publish to the GIF format. It's easy and free.

- iOS
- Free, includes in-app purchases

GifMill lets you take a video, import a video, or import multiple still images. Whichever method you choose, they all enable you to edit an animation after the fact. Unfortunately, there are in-app purchases for editing features. We like the extra features - just not the extra cost. If you're willing to shell out the cash, you can do things like add text captions or use image filters.

- iOS
- $2.99 (or $3.99 for premium)

Giffer won't make a GIF from your existing videos, but it will let you shoot GIFs and import stills that can be converted into animations. Editing tools include filters, cinemagraph mode, borders, text overlays, copy and pasting from Safari, and more. The premium version lets you paste directly into SMS messages or post to a blog, without requiring downloads or special plugins to view them. You can also use a loop mode and organise GIFs into folders.

- iOS and Mac
- Free

Want to make a GIF from a YouTube video? GIFGrabber is a free app for iOS that lets you to create five-second GIFs from any video uploaded on YouTube or the web. Just wait for the portion of the video you want to convert into a GIF - and then press the “record” button. Moments later you will have instantly created and saved a GIF to your smartphone, which you can then email or message to friends. There's a Mac version of the app too.

Half phone, half desktop

For those of you who use your smartphone to shoot video but want to use an actual computer to create GIFs, though we have no idea why you would be so specific, do have some options available. You can download programs on your desktop, for instance, or use free generators on the web.

All you need to do is transfer video from your mobile device to your computer either by sharing our syncing, and then follow the app or website's instructions in order to create a GIF and save to your desktop. It's not exactly like solely using a smartphone, but it's close enough.

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Some of the most popular methods on desktop are Photoshop CC ($9.99/month for Mac and Windows), GIMP (free for Mac and Windows), GIFBrewery ($5 for Mac), and Jiffy (free Chrome extension), while websites include MakeAGif, Imgflip, GifMaker.me, Gickr, and Picasion.com.

Keep in mind some of the solutions listed above - such as Photoshop CC - are a bit intense and may need tutorial research before you can start outputting animations straightaway.

A little advice

It's easy to make bad GIFs. If you want your GIFs to look stunning, review the follow tips:

Make sure the video or images you are using are high-quality. You don't want to use anything that's low-lit, grainy, blurry, or out of focus. Secondly, make sure any text or subtitles are readable. Don’t use a font that is overly large, small, or off-coloured. You want everything to look crisp, clear, and big enough.

And finally, have fun. Animated GIFs are extremely in demand right now. Once you're done making one, share it on Tumblr or Reddit. You'll be surprised how a good GIF will explode worldwide in popularity.

Who knows, maybe you'll invent the next meme or web phenomena. Just include a kitty. The internet loves kitties.

Writing by Elyse Betters.