Whether made from illustrations or photographs, animated .gifs can be fun little storytellers or smile makers. Even better is that it is easy to create an animated .gif. In just a few minutes and ten easy steps, you can create your very own super-spectacular animated gifs. There are several resources for creating animated gifs available online, but if you own a copy of Adobe Photoshop you don’t need to rely on any of these services. And I’m going to show you how.
Shall we animate?
- Create a new blank document in Photoshop that is a few hundred to several hundred pixels wide and high at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch. This will be the source document where you will create your gif.
- Gather all the images you want to use for your gif into a folder. If the files have several different names, preface each one with a number to help you remember in which order you want your files.
- Place your images in Photoshop by selecting all the images in the folder and dragging and dropping onto your empty source document. This will place each image on an individual layer with all the image centers aligned. You will see the first image with a large X over the top. Press Enter to place it onto the source document. Continue to hit Enter until all the files are placed on their individual layers. You can also create individual layers yourself with whatever content you would like. Just remember that each layer will equal one frame in your animation.
- Reorder your layers if necessary by dragging the layers up and down in the Layers Panel. This is where that numbering method comes in handy. The first layer of your animation should be at the top of the Layers Panel with each subsequent layer below.
- Open the Animation Panel by choosing Window > Animation
- In the Animation Panel drop-down menu (top right side of the Animation Panel) choose Make Frames From Layers. This will make each image into a frame of your animation.
- Next you will set the duration of your frames. If you do not see thumbnail icons of your layers in the Animation panel, switch your view to frame view. This can be done by clicking the icon in the lower right corner of the Animation Panel. Once you are in frame view Choose Select All Frames from the Animation Panel drop-down menu.
- Click on the drop-down button underneath of the frame image thumbnails. Set the duration from this menu (choose Other to set a custom time). Because you have all frames selected, all frames will be set to the duration you choose. You can change the duration for each individual frames as well by selecting the thumbnails one at a time and choosing a duration from the the drop-down button.
- Click on the drop-down button on the bottom left of the Animation Panel to choose how many times your animation loops (a set number or forever).
- Choose File > Save for Web & Devices—make sure the file format is set to GIF, change any dithering/color options, and hit Save.
You did it. Congratulations!
Now go forth and create animated gifs until your heart is content. Or until your family and friends tell you it is time for an intervention.
Holly teaches design at a small NW Ohio college. She spends her days off hanging out with her foxy musician husband and their gorgeous new baby and ridiculously smart pre-school aged son. Holly has a passion for food, photography, beautiful letter forms, and the possibilities that can be found in a single sheet of well made paper. You can read more from Holly on her blog, Artist Mother Teacher.
image credit Holly Whitney