It is popular nowadays to create short animated GIFs out of video or
movie clips for easy viewing in forums and blogs. With some of the
animation features in recent versions of Adobe Photoshop, it is quite
easy to create these yourself!
Open up your video file in Photoshop (File > Open).
Photoshop can read in a number of different video formats (MOV, AVI,
MPG, MPEG, MP4, M4V). If your video file is not one of these, you will
need to convert it using a different program.
Open the Animation palette (Window > Animation). You should see a timeline of your video in the palette.
Set the start and end points of the clip you want to convert. Drag
the blue handles above the timeline (shown circled in red in the image
below) to select the duration of your clip. In the Animation palette
menu (found at the top right corner of the palette), click Trim Document Duration to Work Area. If you want to convert the entire video into an animated GIF, then this step is not needed.
Back in the Animation palette menu, click Flatten Frames Into Layers.
A layer will be created for each frame of the video. You then need to
delete the original video layer. In the Layers palette, right click on
the original layer (which has a video clip icon in its thumbnail, and is
probably called “Layer 1″), and click Delete Layer.
Next, click Make Frames From Layers in the Animation palette menu.
Finally, go to File > Save for Web & Devices. Make
sure the format is set to GIF. On the bottom right corner of the window
there is a drop down for Looping Options, which allows you to make the
GIF loop once, forever, or a specific number of times. Click Save and you are done!
Your have successfully converted a video into an animated GIF! This has been tested in Photoshop CS4 and Photoshop CS5.
Let’s say you have a folder full of images that you want to sequence
together as frames in an animated GIF. You can find special programs
online to do this, but with some of the new features of Adobe Photoshop,
it’s quite fast and simple.
Gather the images you want to animate into one folder.
Click File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack. When the “Load Layers” window pops up, click Browse to select & open your image files, and then click OK.
This should import the files you selected as individual layers in your
document. Rearrange the layers into the correct order, if necessary.
Open the Animation palette (Window > Animation) if you have CS5. **Note! In Photoshop CS6, this is now known as the Timeline palette. So, go to (Window > Timeline) instead.**
In the Animation/Timeline palette menu (found at the top right corner of the palette), click Make Frames From Layers. You can also click Reverse Frames if needed. This will take each layer in your document and set it as an individual frame in the animation.
Now we will change the duration of each frame. Make sure you are in
frame view, not timeline view. If you do not see thumbnail icons of all
your layers in the Animation/Timeline palette, click the icon in the
lower right corner (the hover text will say “Convert to Frame
Animation”). Now, back in the Animation/Timeline palette menu, click Select All Frames.
Click the drop down button just underneath each frame image (circled
in red in the image below). This will bring up a menu where you can set
a duration. Since all frames are selected, all frames will be set to
the same time. Each frame can be changed individually, if desired.
The drop down button circled in black in the image above will change
how many times the animation will loop; either a fixed number of times,
Once the frame order and timing as been set up, it is time to save the image! Click File > Save for Web & Devices, make sure the file format is set to GIF, change any other options if needed, and save the image!
You will now have an animated GIF taken from a folder full of the
individual frames. In fact, as long as each frame exists as a separate
layer in Photoshop, the Animation/Timeline palette can be used to create
the GIF. But, with CS5 & CS6 it is easy to make separate layers
from a folder of the individual frames as described.
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