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How To Make an Animated Gif

I received a call today from a colleague who needs an animated gif. That sent me down the research road and I discovered that the world of animated gifs is really not very complicated.

If you don’t have Photoshop CS3 or later, you can use the following free sites:

  • www.picasion.com
  • www.gifninja.com

Picasion lets you create an animated GIF by uploading individual photos. First you will need to resize them all to be the same dimensions.

Gifninja will create an animated GIF from videos (smaller than 20 MB).

If you want to use Photoshop, follow these instructions:

  1. Using Adobe’s image editor, versions CS3 and up, to create an animated GIF is as simple as opening a new image file. A 72 pixel-per-inch resolution is all you need for display on the Web. Drag all your individual image files into Photoshop and they should stack up as layers in the same image. You may need to rearrange the order.
  2. Photoshop will also open videos in MPEG, MP4, AVI, and MOV formats. When you open it, select Range to Import to get only a few select frames—the fewer the frames, the faster the animated GIF. It will import the frames as layers, which you’ll convert back to frames for the animated GIF file. You can even resize and crop the layers to produce a smaller the animation.
  3. Go to Window menu, select Animation, and you’ll get a new palette menu to Make Frames from Layers. Set the duration for each frame and how many times it will loop. Then go to the File menu and Save for Web & Devices for the final animated file.