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  2. Adobe Photoshop

How to Make a GIF in Photoshop

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Read Time: 8 min
Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

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.

car gifcar gifcar gif

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:

Cyber Outrun Retro Racing 4KCyber Outrun Retro Racing 4KCyber Outrun Retro Racing 4K

1. How to Import a Video to Photoshop

Step 1

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.

import video frames to layersimport video frames to layersimport video frames to layers

Step 2

Locate and select the video file that you want to use, and click on the Open button.

open the fileopen the fileopen the file

Step 3

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.

cut length of videocut length of videocut length of video

Step 4

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.

limit frameslimit frameslimit frames

2. How to Import a Series of Images to Photoshop

Step 1

To create a GIF in Photoshop using a series of images, go to File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack.

load files into stackload files into stackload files into stack

Step 2

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.

select imagesselect imagesselect images

3. How to Change the Dimensions and Resolution of Your Photoshop Document

Step 1

Now that you have imported your video or images, you'll notice that they have been imported using their original size and resolution. 

imported imageimported imageimported image

Step 2

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.

image sizeimage sizeimage size

Step 3

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.

image sizeimage sizeimage size

Step 4

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.

canvas sizecanvas sizecanvas size

Step 5

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.

change canvas sizechange canvas sizechange canvas size

Step 6

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.

choose rgb colorchoose rgb colorchoose rgb color

4. How to Convert Layers Into Animation Frames

Step 1

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.

open timelineopen timelineopen timeline

Step 2

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.

create frame animation buttoncreate frame animation buttoncreate frame animation button

Step 3

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.

make frames from layersmake frames from layersmake frames from layers

Step 4

To loop your animation, make sure that the animation loop option (located at the bottom of the Timeline panel) is set to Forever. 

set to foreverset to foreverset to forever

Step 5

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.

preview the animationpreview the animationpreview the animation

5. How to Export the Animation as a GIF

Step 1

Now we'll learn how to export a GIF in Photoshop. Once your animation is ready, go to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy).

export animationexport animationexport animation

Step 2

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.

GIF 128 ditheredGIF 128 ditheredGIF 128 dithered

Step 3

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).

GIF sizeGIF sizeGIF size

Step 4

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.

adjust ditheradjust ditheradjust dither

Step 5

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. 

reduce the colorsreduce the colorsreduce the colors

Step 6

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.

convert to sRGBconvert to sRGBconvert to sRGB

Step 7

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.


Step 8

Once you are happy with the file size and the way the GIF looks, hit the Save button to save your GIF.

save the GIFsave the GIFsave the GIF

Awesome! You're Finished!

car gifcar gifcar gif

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:

Gif Animated Luminance Photoshop Action (ATN)

Gif Animated Luminance Photoshop Action (ATN)Gif Animated Luminance Photoshop Action (ATN)Gif Animated Luminance Photoshop Action (ATN)

Enhance your GIF animations with this luminance glow effect. Using this action is perfect for adding a mystical or fantastical element to your images. 

Glitch Effect With GIF Animation 2 (PSD)

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.

Gif Animated Shatter Photoshop Action (ATN)

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, ATNPAT, 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:

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