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How to Make an Animated GIF

In this tutorial I will be showing you how to make a basic animated gif, with some basic editing techniques in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Please note for this tutorial you do need a basic understanding of photoshop.

Open Photoshop

Launch Adobe Photoshop. For this tutorial you will need CS5 or CS6. Personally I would recommend using CS5 when creating animated gifs.

Open the Animation Window

Once photoshop is opened you want to make sure that you have your animation window opened. Go to Window> Animation.

Import Your Video File

Next we want to import our video clip into

photoshop. Photoshop supports importing .mov files, also known as quicktime videos. To import our video we want to go to File> Import> Video Frame to Layers.

Trim Your Video

Once you have located your video it will pop up in the import video frame to layers window. In this window you can preview the video you want to make into a animated gif. When working in this window you want to makre sure you have selected select range only. If you want to upload your gifs on sites like tumblr or pinterest, you want to limit your gif to every 3 frames.

You then want to use the marker to find where you want to begin your gif. Once you have found where you want to start your gif, hold down shift and drag the marker to where you want your gif to end. Please not that it does not have to be perfect; you can remove excess frames later on. Once you are done click okay.

Once you hit okay your workspace should look like the second image.

Delete Excess Frames and Layers and Resize Image

Step 5: If you have excess frames you can delete them now. To do this click on the frames you do not want and hold down delete/backspace.

Once we have all of our frames and layers in order we want to change the image size. You want to go to image> image size. For this tutorial we want our width to be 500 pixels, the height should change automatically.

Change Your Frame Delay

Next we want to change the frame rate of our layers, this makes the gif move more smoothly. To this you want to into your animation window and select all the frames while holding down shift. Once all the frames are selected you then want to click in the small area around the frame and then click other. Once the set frame delay window opens you want to change the frame rate to a number that best suits your gif, I often set my delay to 0.08 seconds. Once you are done click okay.

Sharpening Your Gif: Convert to Timeline

Please note that the following steps are basic editing techniques to make the gif look better. If you chose not to edit your gif you can skip the following steps and go to the last one, which will show you how to properly save to gif to your computer.

Now we will be sharpening our gif, this is a process the enhances the image during the animation. There are a few simple steps to this process.

First we want to convert our video to a timeline format. To do this you once again want to select all your frames while holding down shift. You then want to click the arrow in the top right corner of the animation window> convert to timeline.

Sharpening Your Gif: Convert for Smart Filters

Now we will be converting the layers for smart filters. You now want to go to your layer window and select all your layers while holding down shift. You then want go to Filters> Convert For Smart Filters

Sharpening Your Gif: Smart Sharpen

Now we are going to sharpen the gif. You want to select your layer in the layers window and then go to Filter> Sharpen> Smart Sharpen. Enter the settings shown the image for the best results.

Saving Your Gif

Now it is time to save your gif. When saving your gif you want to go to File> Save for Web & Devices. You then want to enter the settings seen in the second photo for the best results.


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