How To Make Animated Gifs
You've seen them all over your friends' profiles online, now you want to know exactly how to make animated gifs. There are a number of ways to put together animated gifs, including a number of image programs dedicated solely to this task, but for the purposes of this tutorial we'll be using Adobe Photoshop CS4. So gather a few sequential pictures together, open Photoshop, and let's start making animated gifs!
- Open Photoshop and import the photos you want to animate. The best way to get your images set up in Photoshop to make animated gifs is to paste them all as separate layers on one canvas. This way you can simply show and hide the layers you want to make a frame of. The easiest way to do this is to open a new canvas alongside the images you want in your animation, and then literally copy and paste them one over the other until all of your images can be sen as separate layers in the layer menu.
- Open the animation window. Once your images are set up as layers on one canvas, click on the "Window" drop down menu and select "Animate". To make your animated gif easier to view in the animation window, click the "Convert to frame animation" button in the bottom right-hand corner of the window. Now you can see a frame-by-frame representation of what will soon be your animated gif.
- Start animating. To begin the actual process of animating, select the layer of the image you want to appear first. Once you have that image showing in your canvas, click the "Duplicate selected frames" button at the bottom of the animation window. To continue, simply select the next image you want to appear in your animation and click the "Duplicate selected frames" button again. Continue repeating this step until all of the images you want to make into an animated gif are represented as frames in the timeline. Once this is done, set the appropriate time interval for each image to appear by clicking on the drop down menu under each frame. Congratulations, you've just made an animated gif! Yes, it was really that easy.
- Save your animation. To properly save your animated gif, you're going to have to select "Save for web & devices" under the "File" menu. Make sure you verify that it is actually being saved as a gif, otherwise all the work you put into animating it will have been for nothing!
Once you get the hang of making animated gifs, it's likely that you'll breeze through this process during future attempts. Animated gifs don't have to be limited in size, so go ahead and go wild with your creations. As a matter of fact, maybe your buddy needs a feature length animated gif made of him shot-gunning a beer? The only limit is your imagination... Or something cheesy like that.