MrCheyl’s Gif Tutorial
For the past few months, quite a number of people have asked me numerous questions about my gifs and how I make them; namely how I accomplish a higher quality to look. I intended on making this about two months ago but I procrastinated and it never got done. I’ll try to make this as concise as possible and as easy to follow as I can. If you like it, please share it with others, as they’re quite a few people interested in making gifs but aren’t quite sure how to go about it.
Let me preface by saying that I’m not claiming the steps I give you will illustrate the best or only way to make gifs; this is simply the method I’ve grown to used to after months of countless trial and error. Also, the information I’ll be giving you seemed to work, as I’ve given the same tips to some friends that’ve made decent gifs of their own. This guide is aimed at illustrating the bare essentials of makings gifs. If there’s something you’re curious about, feel free to send me a message.
Frames - These will be located in the Timeline within Photoshop. They’re the images that make up the gifs.
Layers - These will be on the right side of the Photoshop window within the side panel. By using the adjustments, you’ll be able to alter the look of the frames, as a whole or individually.
FPS (Frames Per Second) - This is the amount of frames or still images in one second of video. Off the top of my head, I believe all of the videos on youtube, regardless of the fps they were recorded at, are 30 fps. This stat is important for when it comes to important gifs and trimming clips down the size.
Frame Intervals - Within Photoshop, the frames of the gifs will have individual durations for how they’re displayed. Keep in mind that the lower the number, the faster the gif. A gif with frames spaced 0.01 seconds apart with be much quicker than one with 0.08 seconds between frames. This will directly affect the fluidity and speed of the gif.
Lossy - This is can be applied in photoshop and will allow for more efficient gif compression. Note that applying a lot of Lossy will distort the gif but I’ve devised ways of countering this.
MPEG-4 - Also known as mp4, this is the format of video that I’ve known Photoshop to be most friendly with. It’ll also take .mov files.
I make my gifs in Photoshop; CS6 extended to be specific. I also use another program called Wondershare which is good for converting videos and accurately upscaling them. I have the installation files for all of these programs but I can’t host them to be downloaded on my sharing accounts as I’m certain I would reach my cap. Instead, I’ll list the links to the torrents I used to get them.
uTorrent - Used to handle torrents and download files
Photoshop CS6 - Used to animate and edit frames in preparation for exporting gifs.
Wondershare Video Converter Ultimate - Used to trim and convert video clips.
Youtube Center - This is a chrome extension that will allow you to download youtube videos in multiple formats and in a variety of resolutions.
* By downloading the files linked to above (excluding Youtube Center), you would be violating more than a few copyright laws and breach of ownership clauses, so proceed at your own risk.
*If you wish to proceed, you’ll need to proceed with the links in the order I put them. After you’ve acquired uTorrent and Photoshop, you can jump to the next step; Wondershare and YC are optional downloads.
If you’d like, you can absolutely use any video you have lying around on your hard drive as long as it’ one of the file types that Photoshop supports. If you’d like to work along with me, I’ll be using this video. Just hit download right above the video. The video is about a second long and is less than 1mb in size and contains no nudity so it’s safe to open around pretty much anyone. I trimmed the video myself so it’s free of viruses and malicious threats.
Importing Content [These steps should be identical for CS5/6]
When you have your video ready to use:
- Open up Photoshop
- Hit File > Import > Video Frames to Layers
- Locate the file you’d like to use and open it
- The import window will now open up, just go ahead and hit “Ok” as the video will be primed for importing into Photoshop
Your Photoshop workspace should now look like or resemble this.
To the right you’re see the adjustments and layers.
And on the bottom, you’ll have your Timeline.
*If your workspace is missing the adjustments, layers, and the timeline, click Window in the top bar and make sure all three of them are checked off.
Right from the jump, we’re going to go ahead and resize the frame because all computers won’t be able to handle such large dimensions. In order to do this, locate Image on the top bar and click it. Click on Image Size and make sure that that the box label “Constrain Proportions” is checked. Go ahead and change the width of the image to 400px. When you close that box the image may appear smaller than before so go ahead and select the magnification tool from the left side bar and zoom in until it’s adequately viewable again.
If you look at the timeline, there should be a play button located within the controls; go ahead and hit it and the gif should play through. If your gif plays once, make sure the duration of the is set to Forever. This option is located under the first two frames of the Timeline. Play it again and it should play until you stop it, which can be done by pressing the spacebar.
It seems like the gif plays a bit fast and could use being slowed down a bit. To do this go ahead and select the first frame in the Timeline, then hold shift and click on the last frame. this can also be accomplished by hitting the option menu in the upper right hand corner of the Timeline itself.
Click on the time interval seen on any of the gifs; doesn’t matter which one since they’re all selected. When you click it, within the pop up menu, hit Other. Change the value from 0.04 to 0.06. [Tumblr has a habit of speeding up gifs when you upload them so we’re setting it there to compensate for that.]
The gif should now look like
At this point, you’ve made it past the essential bits of making the gif so if you’ve gotten this far, good job.
Tumblr GIF Size Limits
- Gifs 400px wide or lower are limited 2mb
- Gifs 401px wide or more are limited to 1mb
Go ahead and hit File > Save for Web (Older versions of Photoshop may have this label as Save for Web and Mobile Devices)
You should see the exporting window.
Go ahead and open up the High Res I linked directly above and try to match your settings to mine.
Now that you’ve done that, go ahead and hit Save and save name the gif whatever you’d like and save it.
If you’d like to make sure it works, or just see it play, you can drag it into Chrome. Chrome can natively handle gifs so literally, open a Chrome window and drag the gif from your computer wherever you saved it right into the window.
Uploading to Tumblr
Load up to Tumblr and hit Photo option. Locate the gif and open it and it should animate. Before posting, go ahead and change the option to Save Draft and save it. Go to your drafts and make sure that the gif plays.
*This is a crucial step as sometimes, for no apparent reason, the gif will loop once upon uploading it and will fail to play ever again so instead of uploading a gif that loops once, make sure it works first. Edit the post and set the source and click through to yourself or whatever you’d like.
And that’s pretty much it.
* I will be adding more sections and information to this tutorial. If there’s something you’d like to suggest I add, feel free to message me. The next section, which I may actually add tonight will be customizing the look of the gifs and adjustments. Keep in mind, if you’d like to go ahead and tinker with those values, feel free. Once again, I’d really appreciate it no one changed the sources of the post as this is something I actually worked on and the time to do. Pass it on, share it, and I hope it helps.
Thanks for reading