A Quick Photoshop Tutorial – How to Make Animated GIF in Photoshop

In Artwork Skills, Graphic Designing Skills
How to Create Animated GIF Image in Photoshop

A GIF image is a lossless format of an image file with or without featuring animated images. So, an animated image the combination of static image files, then they are converted and compressed to an animated image, which the objects within the image are moving. It seems like a video. If you search on the internet, you’ll find so many online image editing tools that allow you to make an animated GIF image online. But here you’ll find out how to make animated GIF in Photoshop.

The usefulness of animated GIF images could be for digital advertising, presentation, short animation movies, cartoon movies, and much more. Generally, most of the people prefer using GIF file to deliver their visual messages because they are easy to costume.  Besides that, animate GIF images are more eye-catching, which are good for marketing purposes to easily get people’s attention. Therefore, it’s absolutely important to improve your image editing skill by practicing the tutorial of how to make animated GIF in Photoshop below.

To follow the instruction below, you’ll need to have Photoshop on your PC.  The steps should be the same in any version of Photoshop. Making an animated GIF image in Photoshop takes time a few minutes only.

How to Make Animated GIF in Photoshop

Here’s a preview of the finished animated GIF for this tutorial:

How to Make Animated GIF in Photoshop
Image: The preview of the animated GIF image

Below are the steps how to make animated GIF in Photoshop. Take practice the steps below.

I. Load Image Files into Stack in Photoshop

Load Files into Stack in Photoshop
Image: Load Files into Stack in Photoshop

Firs of all, you will need more than one images that you need to combine become a GIF file of image format. Upload them all in your Photoshop, and then gather them in a split folder.

Browse Files into Stack in Photoshop
Image: After clicking Load Files into Stack, browse the image files you want to upload into Photoshop

So, before uploading your image files into the stack in Photoshop, make sure you have some images that you would combine to be an animated GIF image.

Then, click File → Scripts → Load Files into Stack. Take a look at the left side picture to follow the instruction.  After that, click Browse and find your image files from your computer’s directory, then click OK.

After clicking Load Files into Stack, you’ll see a window as shown in the right side image above, where you will browse your image files to upload. Each of the files will then separates in the form of a layer for each image files you uploaded. Then you are ready to go to the step two.

Another alternative if you have not prepared a series of images as the frames of the animated GIF, you can make them by adding new layers in Photoshop. Here you go to make a new layer; LayerNewLayer. Look the image below for the instruction preview.

Make sure to give name each of your layers so you can easily to trace them when you manage their place in the canvas. To edit the layer’s name, double-click on the layer’s name, and type in the text. Then, press Enter on your keyboard

How to Add new Layer in Photoshop
Image: adding a new layer in Photoshop

GIF Photoshop Tip 1:

Add up your Photoshop Skills for how to make animated GIF in Photoshop. If you decide two or more layers to stay static or have the same movement in your animated GIF, you can merge them. To merge the layers, turn on their visibility by clicking on every “eyeball” beside each of the layers’ name that you want to merge. Then, on your keyboards press the quick shortkey: Shift + Command + Option + E (on Mac PC) or Shift + Ctrl + Alt + E (on Windows PC). This quick function in Photoshop will merge two or more layers become a new layer and then removing the previously selected layers. This way is very useful for your productivity if you are working in making a large scale of GIF image.


II. Disclose the Timeline Window on Your Working Session

How to Open Up the Timeline Window in Photoshop

To disclose the Timeline in Photoshop, select Window Timeline. The function of the Timeline in Photoshop is allowing you to turn each of the layers on and off for a given duration of time. In other words, its function is to turn a static image into a GIF in Photoshop. Take a look at the image below for more detail how to turn on the timeline window in Photoshop.

Timeline in Photoshop
Image: Timeline preview

Normally, the Timeline window will show up at under the working canvas in your Photoshop. Take a look at the image below how it looks like. How to make animated GIF in Photoshop CS6 has different way in this step to Photoshop CS5 and CC. In Photoshop CS5, the function is the Open the Animation palette. If you use Photoshop CS5, go to Window Animation. For Photoshop CC, after opening the the Timeline palette (Window Timeline ), you will see a drop-down button in the middle of the palette. In the drop-down, you will see two options, either “Create Video Timeline” or “Create Frame Animation.” Then select the Create Frame Animation option.

III. Make Frame from Layers (in Photoshop CS6)

At this step, you are going to create a frame from layers in the Timeline Window. To make it, click on the drop-down menu at the right corner of the Timeline, then select Make Frames From Layers. Look at the image preview below. If you do this step for your plain layers, every single view of layer will be blinking alternately with a given duration limit of delay time. But if you would like to keep showing some layers in every blink of your animated GIF, read the GIF Photoshop TIP 2 below.

How to Make Frame from Layers in Photoshop
Image: Make frame from layers in your timeline

GIF Photoshop Tip 2:

Here again another tip to add up your Photoshop Skills for how to make animated GIF in Photoshop. To make the background layer and some layers become static, merge them into a layer. Let’s say you would also like to view the background and some objects in every blinking object. Then, do duplicate the merge layer (background and some static objects), and then merge the duplicated layer to the blinking object (blinking layer). Repeat this way for each of blinking objects. Finally, you can enter Make Frames From Layers to show them all in the Timeline as frames.

IV. Set the Appearance Time Delay Duration for Each of Frames

Under each of the frames, you can set the duration time for the blinking or appearance. To set it, click the small down arrow as shown in the image below. Repeat this step for each of the frames in your Timeline Window.

Set the Blinking Duration for Each Frame
Image: click the small arrow button and set the time for the frame’s appearance.

V. Set Loop Count for The GIF

There are four options of the Set Loop Count for your GIF, they are, Once, 3 Times, Forever, and Other. You can set it as you want for how many times your animated GIF to Loop . Let’s say you want to keep them blinking, select Forever. Look at the Image below how to Set Loop Count.

How to Set Loop Count in Photoshop
Image: Set the Loop Count for your GIF.

VI. Preview Your GIF

To preview your GIF animation, click on the Play button. This step is the time for you to review the animation of your GIF artwork. If the preview is just what you want the animation would like to be, then you can go to the next step. But, if the animation preview is still not as you want, you can back to step II, III, or IV, to make sure the animation preview is as you expect. If so, go to the next step. Here’s how to preview your GIF on your canvas in Photoshop.

How to preview GIF animation in Photoshop.
Image: Preview your GIF animation on your canvas in Photoshop.

VII. Save Your GIF File from Photoshop

In how to make animated GIF in Photoshop, you need to make sure that you get the animation for what the GIF you want it looks like. Saving a GIF file is different for Photoshop CS5, CS6, and CC. If you use Photoshop CS 5, go to File  Save for Web & Devices. For Photoshop CS6, go to File → Save for Web. But, if you use Photoshop CC, Go to File Export Save for Web (Legacy).

After that, select one of the types of GIF file under the Preset options. For a GIF artwork with gradients, you need to select Dithered GIFs. Choosing the Dithered GIFs option at the drop-down options for a GIF with gradients is good  to avoid color banding. But if your GIF artwork makes use of solid colors, it is better for you to select No Dither. follow the instruction within the image below for how to save your GIF artwork in Photoshop with a certain type of GIF file.

How to Save GIF File in Photoshop
Image: Select the type of GIF file before saving it.

Each of the number you see at each of the GIF file types determines how precise and how large the colors of the GIF file in comparison with the genuine JPEGs or PNGs. Therefore, to make animated GIF image, you need to know that the higher dithering percentage interprets to the look of more detail and a lot of colors. However, the higher the dithering percentage, the larger its file size.

Finally you can Save you GIF file. So, to save your GIF file, click on the Save button at the bottom of the Save for Web (100%) window in your Photoshop. Now you can use the GIF file either uploading or use it to social media, website, or any presentation purpose. May this quick Photoshop tutorial helps you how to make animated GIF in Photoshop.

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