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How to make a gif in 4 STEPS [basics tutorial]

December 30th, 2011 (05:34 pm)
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Hey there :) So, I tried to make this tutorial as simple and comprehensible as possible. All I learned I got from tutorials myself, so I know the difficulties in finding good ones. I hope it's helpful, but feel free to ask me any more questions!

S T E P  1  -  Making screencaptures

Make screencaps from the part of the video you want to gif. You can use several players to make screencaps, but I prefere the KMPlayer. It's the best option in my opinion. Once you downloaded and installed it, open your video with the KMPlayer. Find the section you want to screencap and pause it. Then press 'CTLR+G' so the frame extraction window will pop up. You can now select where you want your screencaptures to get extracted to by clicking the folder button. Also you need to change your format into PNG (slow). Make sure to select "Continuously" as the numbers to extract and also choose the original size as the one you'll extract.

Now you can press the 'Start' button of your frame extraction window and the 'Play' button of your video. When you're done with screencapping the section you want to gif, press 'Stop'.

S T E P  2  -   Open screencaptures in Photoshop (PS)

Now open photoshop. I use CS5, but I guess it doesn't matter that much which version you use.
Go to File>Scripts>Load Files into Stack...
The 'Load Layers' window will open now. Click 'Browse...' to select your screencaptures.

The more screencaps you'll choose, the longer your gif will be and the more kilobytes (KB) it'll have in the end. This does only matter, if you want to use your gif on tumblr, because your gifs need to have less than 1000 KB (1 MB) to move there. To make your life easier, there is a little trick you can use:
choose only every second screencap. This way you can make your gifs longer while using less screencaptures. You won't even notice that much of a difference and your gif will have less KB in the end.

Click OK so PS will open your screencaps as layers.

S T E P  3  -  Animate your screencaptures

Go to Window>Animation, so the frame animation window will appear.
Then press the little arrow on the upper right corner of that same window and select 'Make Frames From Layers'.

All the layers will be put as frames on your animation line that you can animate now. It can happen that your frames are in the opposite order. If this is the case, select the arrow again and choose 'Select All Frames' and then 'Reverse Frames'.
Technically your screencaps are animated now. If you press the 'Play' button underneath your frames, you'll see them move. Yet, it's still too fast. To change that, press the arrow again and choose 'Select All Frames'.
Then click on one of the frames, but be careful to press the section that says '0 sec.'. Press 'Other...' afterwards.
Usually a delay of 0,13-0,18 looks normal. I tent to choose 0,16 secs, but it depends on the fluidness of your gif and if you chose only every second or third screencap even. So you may need to variate it. Press 'OK' and you're done :)

S T E P  4  - Save your gif

Now you can colorize your gif or put a PSD on it, or you can just leave it the way it is. When you're happy with your gif select File>Save for Web & Devices...
and you'll find this window (look below). Usually PS will open your gif with the best quality option given. But this means that your KB are most likely to be very high. If you want to use your gif on LJ, then you can just save your gif and you'll be done. If you want to post it on tumblr, you have a little more work to do ;D

Your goal is to get under 1000 KB and there are different options for you now:

  1. Delete frames. The more frames you delete, the lower the KB will be. I deleted 5 frames to get from 1,045 KB to 737 KB.
  2. Change the coloration. The darker your gif is or the consistent the colors are, the less colors it'll need and the less KB you'll have. Bright colors are most likely to raise your KB.
  3. Reduce the colors you want to use. You can go from 256 to 2 colors. Usually you can go down to 64 and your gif will still look acceptable. If you don't want to reduce the quality of your gif that much, I wouldn't recommend going under 128 though. Sometimes you won't even notice that much of a difference between 256 and 128. If you want to save a black/white gif, you can even go down to 32 colors.
  4. Change the Lossy of your gif. To achieve this, you need to change your dither from 'Pattern' to 'Diffusion'. With getting a lossy of 17 I got my gif under 1000 KB! But this depends, sometimes a gif with 128 colors and a lossy of 5 will look better than a gif with 256 colors and a lossy of 20. So you have to try and decide which option is the best for your gif.

Press save and you're done :)


(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Elvan (tiny_pixy)
Posted at: January 2nd, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)

thank you so much, i'm so glad to hear that =)
I actually just made a tutorial for HQ pics, here you go :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Elvan (tiny_pixy)
Posted at: January 2nd, 2012 11:47 am (UTC)
Ian || sexy beast

lol you're welcome :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Elvan (tiny_pixy)
Posted at: January 9th, 2012 05:30 pm (UTC)

coloring a gif works the same as coloring an image, you just need to drag all adjustment layers above your image layers. and pay attention to keep the first frame selected (on your frame animation window).

to put a PSD on your gif you need to
a) open the PSD
b) open your layers into a gif animation as told above in the tut
c) go to select all>copy all frames
d) go back to your PSD and then go to the animation window and click the arrow, choose 'paste frames'>paste above section
e)drag your PSD on top of all layers

annd voila :) hope this was helpful, if not, feel free to ask me more questions :)

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Elvan (tiny_pixy)
Posted at: January 9th, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)

sure, no problem bb =)

Posted by: Gabriel (oragami2)
Posted at: September 19th, 2012 07:18 am (UTC)

I used this tutorial (and it actually made sense!) but my animation is kinda choppy...any suggestions?

Posted by: Elvan (tiny_pixy)
Posted at: September 19th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC)

hey there :D glad it helped you! by saying choppy, do you mean the quality or the movement? if your gif is grainy i'd suggest using a higher quality video. the higher the quality of your video is, the better your endresult will be. if you mean the movent was choppy, then maybe you should make the frames move faster. use 0,1 instead of 0,16. hope this helps :)

Posted by: Gabriel (oragami2)
Posted at: September 19th, 2012 09:59 pm (UTC)

I'll give that a try. But it could also be the frames? I don't know if the program i'm using is getting every frame (not that I plan on using every one anyway)

But I meant the movement is. Even with every frame in it.

Posted by: Elvan (tiny_pixy)
Posted at: September 20th, 2012 08:28 am (UTC)

yeah, that can be it! if you use every frame and it's still choppy then it has to be the frames. i recommend the KMplayer, it really is the best option imo. :)

Posted by: Gabriel (oragami2)
Posted at: September 20th, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)

I found out what I was doing wrong-i was doing the preview before I went to 'export it for devices'. XD

I tried making one last night, but I couldn't find the right 'frame rate'. (i use VideoPad Video Editor to get the frames. Tried KMPLayer, but it confused the hell out of me.)

Posted by: Elvan (tiny_pixy)
Posted at: September 21st, 2012 10:22 am (UTC)

oh i see :D well it's good that you know what you've done wrong :)
using the kmplayer is super easy, try this tutorial, follow it step by step and you'll see how easy it is :)
tell me if you were successful with your gif, i'm curious now ;D

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