How To Create Animated GIFs In Photoshop

An Easy To Follow Five Step Guide On How To Create Animated GIFs In Photoshop

If you are looking to create some neat animated videos, then you have certainly come to the right place. Below is a step-by-step guide on exactly how to create your own custom GIFs in Photoshop, which is not only easy to follow, but also very informative. Though some of you may already have a background in animation, we have dulled things down so that even novice creators and Photoshop users can fully understand the process.

The Increasing Popularity Of GIFs, and The Benefits Of This Guide

Thanks to the enabling of animation through Twitter, and some 2015 updates by Facebook, GIFs are now used on a regular basis (by many people) through social media. Therefore, whether you have dabbled in the art of animation creation before, or are just getting your feet wet with this guide, you should definitely reap some long term internet benefits from learning these steps. In addition to the elementary way that they are explained, they are also broken down into five separate sections, aimed at teaching those who are new to animation, while also perfecting the skills of those with prior experience. By simply following the steps below, you will be able to create virtually any GIF you would like, at any length you would like, and with any images that you would like to use. All you need is a working internet connection, a ready to use Photoshop account, and about ten to twenty minutes of free time (depending on how fast you can read).

1. Upload Your Images To Photoshop

First things first, you are going to need to upload the images you want to use in your GIF to Photoshop. It is recommended that you store these images in a separate folder, that way everything stays organized.

For novice GIF makers – the images are used to create a short video that cycles through on repeat. Therefore, the images you use should be consistent with the type of video you want.

Once you have decided on what images you want to use and you are ready to upload them, click File > Scripts > Load Files Into Stack.


Load Files Into Stack

Click on Browse to choose which files you want to use in your GIF, and click OK once you are finished.

Once you select your images, Photoshop will create a separate layer for each of them. However, if you are having trouble creating the series of images or have yet to do so, simply create a different Photoshop layer for each frame of the GIF. This is done by clicking Layer > New > Layer.

Whether it is done manually or by Photoshop, it is always recommended to name and label your layers. That way, you can easily refer back to them, and stay organized through the entire process. This is done by going to the Layer Panel (bottom right of your screen) and typing in your desired layer name to replace the old one.

You can also turn on visibility for each layer, this will allow them to merge and appear as one single GIF frame. To do this, click on and open the eyes next to each layer that you wish to merge. Instructions on how to do this are listed below the image and depend on the device you’re using.


Layer Visibility Icon

Mac Users: Shift, Command, Option, E

Windows Users: Shift, Ctrl, Alt, E

This will allow Photoshop to merge your content and create new layers for each of them. Renaming these layers is also suggested.

NOTE: Before moving on to the second step, you should have all of your photos selected and all of your layers set with names and desired merges.

2. Use The Timeline Window To Create Your Frame Animation

Open the timeline window (Window > Timeline) and choose what you would like your image layers to do. In order to turn your images into an animated GIF, you are able to turn the different layers on and off for certain periods of time. This dictates the total length of your GIF, and how long each image is seen throughout the video.


Timeline Window

Once you have opened your Timeline window and decided on what images you want on/off, click Create Frame Animation in the dropdown menu.

You will also need to create an additional layer for each of the new frames, which is done through the navigation bar on the top of your screen. Simply click Select > All Layers, then click on the menu icon and select Create New Layer For Each New Frame.

3. Turn Each Layer Into A Frame For Your GIF

To make each layer of your GIF a frame, open the same menu icon you did for the previous step, then choose Make Frames From Layers.


Make Frames From Layers

You will also need to select the amount of time each frame should appear for before switching to the next. This can be done by clicking the time below each individual frame and manually entering the amount of seconds.

4. Choose Your Loop Amount

The bottom section of the toolbar allows you to choose your GIF’s looping pattern. This is the amount of repetitions that your GIF cycles through each time it is viewed.

The Photoshop toolbar has this option set on Once, however, if you would more repetitions, you can select Other to enter a specific number, or Forever to have it on an endless repeat.


Choose Your Loop Pattern

NOTE: Photoshop’s play icon allows you to preview your GIF before saving or uploading it to the internet. This is recommended, and will let you see which looping pattern you like best.

5. Save and Upload Your GIF To The Internet

Once you have previewed and are happy with your GIF, make sure to save it by clicking File > Export > Save For Web (Legacy).


File > Export > Save For Web (Legacy)

NOTE: You will also need to choose the file type you want your GIF to be saved as, which can be done through the Preset dropdown menu. After you chose your file type, click Save to store the file on your computer.

According to Photoshop, those with a lot of gradients who are aiming to prevent color banding should choose Dithered GIFs, and those with a lot of solid colors should go with No Dither.

Add some animation to your blog, email your creation to a co-worker, or show your friends by uploading it to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – since your GIF is now saved as a file on your computer, you can upload it to the internet, just as you would an image!

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