Learn how to make an animated GIF in Photoshop! GIFs are absolutely everywhere, whether it's on social media, blogs, on your phone, or on a website. GIFs, or "Graphics Interchange Format", are extremely popular to use and a must-have skill for any creative.
What You'll Learn in This Photoshop Tutorial
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to create your own animated GIF using a short video clip or a series of images using Adobe Photoshop. At the end of this tutorial, you'll have all the skills you need to create your own memes, animated banners, and promotional materials!
Topics we cover will include:
- How to make a GIF in Photoshop using video files
- How to make an animated GIF in Photoshop using a series of images
- How to export a GIF in Photoshop so you can use it online
- How to create a GIF in Photoshop and optimize it for the web
What You'll Need
To follow this tutorial, you'll need your own version of Adobe Photoshop. You'll also need an example video clip or a series of images. Below, you'll find a link to the video example we'll use for this tutorial:
1. How to Import a Video to Photoshop
To learn how to make a GIF in Photoshop from video, we first need to import a video file. To do this in Photoshop, go to File > Import > Video Frames to Layers.
Locate and select the video file that you want to use, and click on the Open button.
This will take you to a small editor where you can choose how much of the video you would like to import. Remember, a GIF should be short and sweet, so cut the length of the video down if necessary.
If the video is too long, the file size of the GIF will become too big.
You can also limit the number of frames imported to a set interval, such as every 2 frames. This will help shorten the length and minimize the file size of the GIF, but it will also change the speed, so keep that in mind.
2. How to Import a Series of Images to Photoshop
To create a GIF in Photoshop using a series of images, go to File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack.
Click Browse and locate the images that you want to use. Hold down the Shift key on the keyboard to select multiple files, and then click the Open button and click OK to import the images.
3. How to Change the Dimensions and Resolution of Your Photoshop Document
Now that you have imported your video or images, you'll notice that they have been imported using their original size and resolution.
We need to change this to suit the purpose of the GIF. For example, if the purpose is to create a shareable GIF for your friends and family on social media, then you may want to change the file size to something smaller.
To do this, go to Image > Image Size.
Choose the dimensions and resolution you want to use. To keep the file size as low as possible, use a resolution of 72 Pixels/Inch.
Sometimes, you may need to crop your video if it doesn't fit the size determined by a particular website. For example, perhaps you need to make your GIF fit a square format.
To do this, go to Image > Canvas Size.
Change the units to Pixels, and from here you can crop the width and height of your GIF to exactly what you need it to be.
The final step here is to make sure the color mode is set to RGB color, which is most suitable for screens. To do this, go to Image > Mode > RGB Color.
4. How to Convert Layers Into Animation Frames
Go to Window > Timeline to open the Timeline panel. This is usually docked at the bottom or side of the screen.
If you have converted a video file, the Timeline panel will show you all the images as a sequence which will make up your GIF.
For a sequence of images, we need a few more steps to get our timeline ready.
Click the down arrow in the middle of the Timeline panel and select Create Frame Animation from the menu. Then click on the Create Frame Animation button that appears.
This will set up the first frame of your GIF animation. Now we need to fill in the rest of the timeline with the other images in order.
To do this, click on the menu button located in the upper-right corner of the Timeline panel and select Make Frames From Layers. This will set up the rest of your layers and place them into the timeline as frames for your GIF animation.
To loop your animation, make sure that the animation loop option (located at the bottom of the Timeline panel) is set to Forever.
Click on the play preview button to see what your GIF animation looks like! Use this to make sure that your animation is the way that you want it and to see if it needs any extra adjustments.
This is also a good time to experiment with removing frames to get the smallest possible file size, without breaking the animation.
5. How to Export the Animation as a GIF
Now we'll learn how to export a GIF in Photoshop. Once your animation is ready, go to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy).
This will open up a new window with a variety of options. We are only interested in the GIF options. Go to the top preset option and select GIF 128 Dithered from the menu.
Your main goal from here is to keep your file size as low as possible (you can see this at the bottom left of the window) without sacrificing the quality of your image. Aim for below 1MB if possible (nothing above 5MB).
If your file size is still too big, you can cut down the color information and reduce the Dither (the blending of pixels to create seamless shading).
As you decrease the value, keep an eye on the preview image to see how it is being affected.
Reducing the colors from 256 to 128 will decrease the file size even more, but it will also reduce the range of colors your GIF can use.
You can also check the Convert to sRGB box to help reduce the file size. This has a narrower range of colors than the default RGB.
Sometimes, reducing the colors can cause some banding. You can increase the Lossy value to add some noise, which can help fix this, whilst also reducing the file size.
Once you are happy with the file size and the way the GIF looks, hit the Save button to save your GIF.
Awesome! You're Finished!
Congratulations! And that's how to make a GIF in Photoshop. Feel free to replace the video footage or images with your own and post it online to share it across the web. In the meantime, I hope you've found this tutorial useful, and I'll see you next time here on Envato Tuts+!
Top 5 GIF Add-Ons From Envato Elements
Looking for some suitable GIF add-ons to enhance your animation? Then head on over to Envato Elements, where you can download many different GIF add-ons ready to use. Here are five of my favourites:
Enhance your GIF animations with this luminance glow effect. Using this action is perfect for adding a mystical or fantastical element to your images.
This glitch effect animation has been prepared as three separate PSD files for ease of use. Use these three different glitch effects to bring your GIF animations to life.
Add some excitement to your GIF animations with this shatter animation Photoshop effect. This high-quality Photoshop action is easy to use and can be used for any type of image.
Gif Animated Sparkles Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN, PAT, PNG, PSD)
Create these professional-looking sparkle and glitter effects and add them to your GIF images. Easily customisable with well-organised layers, this set is perfect for creating GIFS for celebrations and special events.
Gif Animated Liquid Paint Photoshop Action (ABR, ATN)
Use this liquid paint animation Photoshop effect to add some texture to your GIF animations. This professional add-on is easy to use and perfect for artistic images.
I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial on how to make a GIF in Photoshop. If you'd like to learn more cool Photoshop skills, we've got more tutorials for you:
- How to Create a Paper Cutout Effect in PhotoshopJonathan Lam14 Jun 2022
- Create a Simple, Elegant Textured Metal Text Effect in Adobe PhotoshopJonathan Lam15 Mar 2022
- How to Create a Super Easy Liquid Metal Text Effect in PhotoshopRose19 Jul 2022
- How to Draw an Arrow in PhotoshopAndrei Marius02 Jul 2022
- 24 Best Photo to Pencil Drawing Effect Actions for PhotoshopMelody Nieves16 Jun 2022
- How to Remove Shadows in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar13 Jun 2022