In the last few weeks, I’ve received more than just a handful of requests to learn how I make my gifs. If you are unfamiliar with the term “gif”, I’ll simply say they are images typically arranged in sequence to create a short animation (I’m sure you’ve seen them across the web and here on the blog). I had to teach myself how to make them because the online tutorials aren’t that good. I managed to figure it out by piecing information together from various sources. But trust me, it was tough! I even came across one online forum where users said that it was “impossible” to create a gif in Photoshop CS3 or higher. But that’s total rubbish and I’ll prove it to you right now.
Below you’ll find a Step-by-Step tutorial on how to create an animated gif. Obviously, it’s hard to see what I mean in 800pixel width photos, so to see a closer look of each step, just click each picture to enlarge it.
Step One: Open the images you’d like to use to create your GIF. In Photoshop, they should stack like below. If they don’t look like this, go to Window>Arrange>Tile.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen1.jpg
Step Two: Open your Animation group tab by going to Window>Animation.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen2.jpg
Step Three: Now, using your Arrow Key tool (top button in the Tool Bar), drag and drop each photo into Photo 1. Each photo will stack in the Layers window, Photo 1 acting as the base layer and each photo stacking on top of it in the order you wish for it to play. The last photo in the sequence will be on top. Select all the Photo Layers and click the Align Horizontal Centers and Align Vertical Centers buttons at the top. If you don’t see the Alignment buttons at the top of your screen, your Arrow Key is not selected.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen3.jpg
Step Four: Time to create your Animated Gif! The first thing you need to do is click on the “Eye” next to each Layer in the Layers Tab and leave the Base Layer the only visible layer. This marks the beginning of your animation.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen4.jpg
Step Five: This is where it gets the tiniest bit tricky. After you’ve created your first slide in the Animation, we have to create the next slide. First, you need to click the “Add Layer” button inside the Animation Group Tab. Then, to make the second Photo Layer visible. click the “Eye” next to the Base Layer (to make it invisible) and then click the “Eye” next to the second Photo Layer, making it visible. Do this for all the Photo Layers in your animation.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen5.jpg
Step Six: After you’ve created a “Slide” for each photo in your Animation, select each Photo Layer in the Animation Group Tab. By selecting each layer, you can now set the duration time for each slide. Of course, you can change the duration time individually, but this saves you some clicks. You’ll see the “0 Sec” below to each slide and next to that is a drop-down menu. Click that to set your time. If the times listed aren’t want you wanted, you can select “Other” and set a custom time. I usually set mine to 0.25-0.3 seconds.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen6.jpg
Step Seven: Next, set your Loop for however many times you want your Animation to play. I always set it for “Forever” but you can do whatever you want. Forever just means Foreverly Awesome to me. 😉
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen7.jpg
Step Eight: Almost done! Now you want to Save for Web & Devices! File>Save for Web & Devices.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen8.jpg
Step Nine: Generally speaking, the settings should be dead on, but you can fool around with them and click “Preview” to see what it does to the look of your Gif. I won’t tell you what to set it to because this is one of those areas where you can decide what you want to do. After you’ve got your settings the way you want them, click “Save” and name your file.
Enlarge Image: http://carlybish.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Screen9.jpg
And there you have it! You’ve created an animated gif!
Here are just a couple of tips when you’re creating your gifs:
- The more photos you use, the bigger the file. Certain programs have limits to the size of your file upload, which is why I try to keep my gifs under six photos. Anything more than that, and you might be pushing your luck.
- When you know you’re taking a series of photos, do your best not to move your camera around too much. It feels more like an animation if the camera stays in one position.
- Have fun! And pay the knowledge forward! There aren’t too many fabulous tutorials on this out there, so if you can teach this to someone else, I encourage you to do so. Because knowledge is power, yeah?
Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy your weekend, making lots of fun photos and gifs!