Can GIFs be Transparent? [The Definitive Answer]

Sometimes GIFs are a fun way to respond to a situation, but other times they could be a speed bump on the road to building your blog or webpage. However, there are ways to get around hard coding in pics and GIFs. So can a GIF be transparent?

GIFs can be transparent, but there are conditions. GIFS can either be opaque or transparent. No gradients can occur. The critical thing to remember is that they have an on-and-off feature, so getting them fully transparent isn’t going to happen.

Working with GIFs is a great way to create fun for your webpage or lighten the mood in a text thread. However, there are times when using them could be inappropriate, and learning how to control their transparency could right the ship. So read on and discover if GIFs can be transparent.

GIFs and Their Transparency

GIFs can be altered just like any other file type. However, when you add it to an InDesign workspace, it will not have a transparency slider. Often when you are working on a design, you can adjust this setting. With a GIF, you have the option of turning it on or off. There are ways to match the background but getting the GIF completely transparent is your only option.

Using Apps Can Blend the Background of the GIF

One of the most popular ways to create the effect of transparency on a GIF is by using an app. Several on the market work towards making the effect of transparency, but none of them can completely block the file from working.

A few ways that apps work to blend backgrounds in GIFs are:

  • Color – The most used method of blending backgrounds is to match the color and blot around the image until the color is obscured. This method can be done with one of the powerful design platforms but works easier if you find an app that specializes in blending GIF files.
  • Cut – Another way that GIF files can be blended or obscured is by using the cut option. Apps do this automatically, but there are ways to get it done inside InDesign of Photoshop, depending on which iteration you are using.
  • Masking – A combination of the Cut and Color moves is to create a mask around the GIF. This cuts out the moving piece of the file and drops away the background. You have to zoom in and do several clicks and movements before the file is ready, so be prepared to do tedious work.

The ways that the GIF can be blended or obscured only work to make the item blend into the background and not transparent. It makes the secondary colors of the file fall away while highlighting the central pieces of the GIF. The critical thing to remember is that there is only on or off when it comes to the files.

Choosing Apps for Transparency is Easy

The best way to find out which app will work for you is by researching. Each has its strengths and weaknesses that could make or break the deal for you, and by checking their capabilities, you make less work for yourself in the long run. Therefore, it’s best to start with a few options before you take a deep dive on your own.

Some apps to consider when looking for a GIF transparency tool are:

  • UnscreenUnscreen is a fantastic tool that works like a magic wand on GIF and video backgrounds. It is an advanced program that must be downloaded to your desktop or can be added as an extension of the design platform you are using. Unscreen is easy to use and does some fantastic things to backgrounds.
  • – Another great piece of software for background removal and GIF transparency is EzGIF. It is easy with no downloading or attaching. All you have to do is download the GIF and upload it to the site. Once done, it will spit out a copy sans background.
  • OnlineGifTools – When it comes to simplicity, you can’t go wrong with the ease of use at OnlineGifTools. They have a plug-and-play desktop website that allows you to add files from your computer and fiddle with the file’s transparency. Remember that GIF files cannot be shut off completely; rendering the background is the best option.
  • Online Image EditorOnline Image Editor is another web-based editing tool that can add transparency to parts of a GIF. The OIE platform doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it has one of the most accurate cutting tools on the market. OIE works excellently if you don’t have the space for a fancy design app like InDesign.
  • LunaPic – Straightforward is the name of the game at LunaPic. Like the other sites on the list, LunaPic is a web-based alternative with only a few options when uploading. Their wealth of tools is found in several different areas as the site has virtually all the tools that Adobe offers while being a web-based platform.

Using web-based tools over expensive downloadable platforms helps you get the job done and saves room on your hard drive. Keeping your computer’s functionality is imperative when working for transparency with GIFs and other files. There are more extensive options on the market, but web-based can save time and money.


GIFs can either be transparent or not at all. Coding inside the file makes the moving sections impossible to gradient to opaque or transparent. You have to choose one or the other, but there are ways around it. By working on the background, you can make the GIF pop, but it will not be see-through.

There are tons of apps on the market that can help you with the background of your GIF. They work to blend or obscure the backgrounds from the file and allow you to add colors that will fit into your design. Unfortunately, while GIFs go transparent, they cannot be shaded and are either going to be visible or not.