The Graphics Interchange Format (better known by its acronym GIF) is a digital image format that was introduced in 1987 by CompuServe, the first major commercial online service in the United States. It has since come into widespread usage on the Internet due to its wide support and portability. Basic animation was added to the GIF89a spec few years after the first release, called GIF87a. The animated GIF are still so popular that they have even become currency in many chat rooms and email messages.
The girl dancing here is a typical animated GIF file. I chose something appropriate for this blog. Eheheh. Suppose you want to get a static image of the girl without the dress. Well, the purpose of this post is to explain how you can extract a single frame from the whole file. There is specif software able to create/split animated GIF images but in the web 2.0 era everything is provided as web service. So all you need to do is to go to GIF Explode or GIF exploder or Picasion or another one of your choice, there are dozens, and insert the url of the animated GIF you want to explode. That’s easy.
If you feel nerdy and you want to use a program from your own PC, I can suggest GIF Splitter, easy, free and with a very spartan interface. It also create a .GSF file which can be used to create ASCII art animations.
Last note: the GIF images are based on the patent US 4558302 that expired on 20 June 2003, so the GIF format is public domain technology, free to use for everyone.