How to make gifs in Photoshop CS5

I’ve gotten some requests to make a gif tutorial. So here is my attempt (hopefully not sad attempt) at making one. I use Photoshop CS5. Keep in mind that I haven’t been using Photoshop for very long and I’m still learning things myself. This may end up being long and drawn out. As I want to try and explain everything to the fullest. It includes everything I do from start to finish.

 Anyway hopefully this will help some people get started with making gifs.

1. So obviously the first thing you need to do is have the video clip you want to use ready. Photoshop can only load certain video types, .mp4, .mov, .flv being a couple of them. If your video is in a format that Photoshop won’t recognize you will have to convert it before loading it into Photoshop. There are many different video converters online that you can use. I use 4Media Video Converter Platinum. The free version of this program works perfect for me. This program also makes clips of videos which you can then convert to whatever format you want.


 So using that program I make the clip and then convert it to .MOV format. I never make the clip longer then 30 seconds because Photoshop limits the number of frames to 500 when it’s loaded into the program. Anything longer then 30 seconds usually ends up being more then 500 frames.

2. When you open Photoshop you want to make sure that the Animation window is opened. So you will be able to edit the number of frames you want in your gif.

Full version HERE


 Now load your video into Photoshop. Go to File > Import > Video into Layers. A browser window will pop up and then you can pick the video you want to use.  Another window will then pop up, this is the import video to layers window. Here you have to limit the video to a certain amount of frames. You need to limit the frames because loading all the frames would be too long and your gif will end up to large. Check the box and then change the number to your desired length. Depending on the video 3 or 4 is usually good. I used the 5 for this video because it’s a DVD rip so the file is larger then a download video.

Full version HERE
 Now your video will be loaded into Photoshop to start working on.  My video was 7 seconds long and loaded into 86 frames.

3. The next thing I do is sharpen all the frames. Notliketheothers has made an amazing action for Photoshop to sharpen your gif. Before this you would have sharpen your gif frame by frame which is a huge pain. In fact before she made this I didn’t even sharpen them because it took so much time. You can download that action HERE. Make sure you don’t delete any of the frames before you use this action.  She explains everything in her post wonderfully on how to use it so I won’t repeat it here. When the action is done click stop. You can do this however many times you want. One or two is usually enough for me.

4. Now delete the frames you don’t want. You can hold down shift key and delete multiple frames at once. Once you’ve picked the frames you want deleted hit the garbage can icon in the animation frames window and delete frames. I cut my gif down to 13 frames. The more frames you have the bigger the file will be.


 Now you should set the time delay for each frame. Select all frames and then hit the arrow and change the delay to your desired speed. I choose ‘other’ and set the delay to 0.15 for my gif.


Full version HERE


5. Now you can change the size of your image. Depending on what you want your gif to be you can crop first and then change the image size or vice versa. For mine I changed the image size first and then cropped.


 Go to Image > Image size. A window will pop up and you can change the size there. I changed the width for this gif to 500px. Tumblr photo sizes are 500px, 245px and 160px in the width. It doesn’t matter what the height is.

Full version HERE
 To crop the  image you click the crop button in the side toolbar and crop out unwanted image space. I sized my gif down to 500px wide and cropped it to 238px high.

6. This step is only used if you want to freeze a certain part of the gif if you don’t just skip this part. 
 Next to cut down the file size of the gif you can freeze parts of the image so only some of it moves. This will cut down considerably on the size in the end. Make sure you have the first frame selected and then right click on the first visible layer in the layers tab on the bottom right and then duplicate it. Then use the eraser tool in the side tool bar and erase the parts of the image you want to move. 

It will look like this when you’re done erasing.

 Then take the copy layer and drag it to the very top of all the layers. You should now see only the erased part move and everything else should be still.    

7. Next you can change the look of the gif. Keep in mind that you should have the first frame selected at all times to make sure that your changes will be applied to the whole gif.
At the bottom of the layers tab you’ll see seven icons.

 To change any of the color settings click the fourth icon in (Create new fill or adjustment layer). Pick whatever adjustment you want to change. For my gif I added all these layers to change the coloring.


 I’m not going to go into detail about my coloring. I feel like I’m not that great at it yet and I could make a whole other tutorial on coloring itself. 


 If you want to a border on your gif, click the sixth icon in (Create new layer button) then Select > All > Edit > Stroke. A window will pop up and you can change the settings of the border there.


 To add text click the text button in the side tool bar. Drag open a text box on the image and type. You can change the font, color, etc in the tool bar that pops up on the top. Adding text creates a new layer, right click on the layer then choose blending options to change the look of the text.

8. Once you are satisfied with the look of your gif it’s time to save it. Tumblr has an upload limit of 500kb. If your gif if bigger then this is will not move when uploaded. This is why we limit the frames and freeze the backgrounds of gifs. That way the file will be smaller in the end.


 To save go File > Save for Web & Devices. A window will pop up, this is where you will optimize your gif and try to get the file under 500kb with keeping as much quality as possible.

Full version HERE
 You’ll see that my gif is over the 500kb limit so I have to try and bring it down. I always use the same settings (arrows next to setting I always use) and tweak them if need be.  I find the best way to bring down the kb and keep quality is by changing the dither, lossy or colors. Changing the lossy to 1, the colors to 128 and the dither to 99% all significantly reduce the size of the gif without any major quality loss in the image.


 In this case I changed the lossy to one and that brought it down to 407.7kb. Once you’re happy will the look and the size is under 500kb click save. Then you’re done.

Full version HERE


This was my final product.

Be gentle, this is my first one of these and I’m not that great at explaining things. Hopefully, it helps some people. If it did, like and reblog.

2 years ago with 48 notes
#tutorial #Photoshop #Mine #Queue


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