Photoshop Tutorial: Make Animated GIFs from Video

This is how to quickly and easily make animated GIFs from Videos using photoshop CC!

Now that facebook is allowing animated GIFs from anywhere I figure it is a good time to make a tutorial demonstrating how you can quickly and easily make them.

Video Tutorial at the Bottom of the Post

Here is the GIF we will be making.

Happy People/Instruments Dancing

Happy People/Instruments Dancing

The process

First you need to find something worth making into a GIF. I like music, so this one seemed like a good start. I also cropped it so that when looped it is stemless. To find it all I did was do a quick youtube search for “The Simpons Music” and found this video. I then used to download the file. I suggest only downloading the part you are thinking about making into a GIF, though leaving 2 or 3 seconds buffer before and after the section.

Next you want to bring the clip into Photoshop. I am using CC, but I believe most of these steps are the same for earlier versions.

Go to File – Import – Video Frames to Layers…

Then navigate to the video clip and import it.

Import frames to Layers..

Import frames to Layers..

Here you have the option to import the entire clip or select a range (section) to import. You can use this opportunity to further trim the clip, but again leave a bit of buffer in the beginning and the end as it will be easier to trim things in Photoshop’s timeline later.

Make sure the the “Make Frame Animation” option is checked and hit OK.


Select Range Only – Photoshop CC

Once photoshop crops and imports the new layers the time should come up on the bottom of the screen. If it doesn’t go to the main menu and click Window then Timeline.


Display the Timeline Window – Photoshop CC

Now set about cropping the unneeded frames from the timeline.

**Important** You need to use the little trash can in the main timeline controls. If you simply press the delete button the image will be deleted but the frame placeholder will remain.


Use the Timeline’s Trash to Fully Delete Frames – Photoshop CC

After you have cropped what you think needs to be cropped, or while in the process you can play the GIF using the play button in the Timeline controls. It might be helpful to set the loop function to Forever so that the GIF loops continuously.


Loop GIF Preview Forever – Photoshop CC

If you happen to be using the same video as I am I found that cropping to the first frame of the dancing instruments until frame 40 creates a seamless loop.

Optimizing the GIF for the Web

From what I understand you want you GIF’s file size to be under 400K.

First good thing to do beyond trimming any unnecessary layers is change the image size. Select any one of the frames in the Timeline and then go to Image – Image Size… (Alt + Ctrl + I)

My source was 1920 px x 1080 px. I have changed the width to 380, which auto updates the Height to retain the original aspect ratio. You can see that the Image Size is now 238.2K and was a whopping 5.93M!


Optimizing Image Sizes for GIFs

Next go to File – Save for Web… (Alt + Shift + Ctrl + S). Select GIF.

Now, for each GIF that you make chances are these settings are going to be different. For this style of cartoon I found the following settings worked well to reduce the file size well under the 400K mark and still be large enough and still look good.

First select GIF for the file type. To make things easy from the preset menu select GIF 128 No Dither. Then I further reduced the color number to 80, which didn’t really reduce the visual quality of the image to much. I also decide on only using 80% of the image size. So it went from 380 W to 304 W. Still big enough for facebook comments!

The last thing to do is setting the looping function to Forever and hit save.


Save for Web Optimization – Photoshop CC

Now all you need to do is upload it to a server and paste its link into Facebook or anywhere else that accepts GIFs!!

Watch the Video Tutorial

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Author: Joshua Casper

Joshua Casper is an Artist, Musician, and Blogger.

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