All of those cool images on the Internet makes one want to learn how to make an animated GIF. Known as "Graphics Interchange Format", an animated GIF is a format of bitmap image introduced by CompuServe in 1987. Because of the animated GIF's success, it is still used well into the 21st Century on various websites all over the Internet. Let's go over a brief overview on how to make an animated GIF, shall we?
To make an animated GIF, the following are needed:
- Internet connection
- Money to purchase software (optional)
- Start up your computer. The computer is where all the action concerning the animated GIF happens. There are various ways to go about the making of an animated GIF, so it's important to have a versatile computer (i.e. one that can connect to the World Wide Web, has high RAM, and has enough ROM).
- Install the GIF program. Websites like GIFup and Gickr will allow you to make an animated GIF online without any installation, so feel free to skip this step if you are going to use this method. Otherwise, programs like Adobe Flash and Photoshop (and the whole Master Suite, for that matter) work great for making an animated GIF. Unfortunately, these programs also cost a pretty penny.
- Initialize the GIF-creation program. If you selected an Adobe product (and almost any other), upon its installation the wizard will most likely have placed an icon on your desktop. Double click this icon and the program will initialize itself, eventually coming to a blank tablet (for Adobe Flash you'll have to specify what type of file you want to make).
- Create the first frame. An animated GIF works via its numerous frames playing in a specific sequence, starting with the first. Draw you concept (whatever that may be) on the first frame. This should be the first "scene" (e.g. if you're drawing a walking man, this frame should be the one in which he's at an initial standstill).
- Create the next few frames. As stated before, an animated GIF works by playing a select number of "frames" of images in a sequence so as to create a fluid animation. If you are drawing a walking man, make these next few frames his "steps". New frames are created in the "Edit" menu of the Adobe Master Suite and varies from online programs. Think of an animated GIF as a sketchbook being flipped so as to make an animation; this is the same concept behind the Graphic Interchange Format.
- Finalize the GIF. Feel free to "test" the GIF (under the "File" menu in the Master Suite). Assuming that the frame rate is twenty frames per second or lower, there shouldn't be a problem (Internet Explorer will slow it down if faster). You can specify the frame rate under your document's "Properties" window.
- Publish! Adobe products can produce various file types, one of which is the famous GIF. Go to "File", then "Publish", click the ".Gif" format, and then click "Publish" to create the final product. You can specify an output folder right next to the file type in the Master Suite Collection. Online programs will probably force you to create a membership (be it free or not) before publishing.
Once you know how to make an animated GIF, you won't forget. These handy little files can be placed inside of websites, programs, and even smart phones. Remember, do not use anyone else's images unless you have specific consent to do so. Have fun, and happy animating!