There are TWO gif making methods you can use when creating gifs in Photoshop:
Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages that I will divulge below. For this tutorial I will be making a gif of Dobby disapparating in Chamber of Secrets using both methods.
Advantages: Often higher quality, flexibility of design (e.g. easier to manipulate)
Disadvantages: Time consuming, more chance of human error
This is best used for HD movie files that you may have which can’t be used in the video option. Also, HD files will make for crisp, nice looking gifs. It’s my personal favourite option.
1. Open your video in a player that has screenshot/snapshot capabilities. I used VLC player - it’s free and plays almost everything. To ensure continuity of shots and to make sure there’s even spacing you only really have one shot to get all the frames you need otherwise you’ll need to try again.
2. Find the spot that you want to gif and snapshot the first frame. Now, double click the play button so you play and pause again really quickly - the aim is to only let the video skip forward a tiny bit. Snapshot again. Repeat the double-clicking until the section you want to gif is complete.
3. Open Photoshop (I have CS4). Open a new file - it doesn’t matter which size the canvas is. Now highlight and drag your snapshots into Photoshop too. You only want about 15 snapshots - any more and you’ll probably have to make the gif smaller than 500px wide.
4. Select the first snapshot in your sequence, press ‘ctrl+a’ to select all then copy and paste it into the blank file. Now select Image > Reveal All to expand the canvas to the size of the snapshot.
5. Repeat the copy and pasting of each snapshot into the main file. Exit each snapshot as you copy it to avoid confusion.
6. Select Window > Animation and you will get this window at the bottom of your screen:
In the bottom right-hand corner select the little button and you will get this:
7. Select all the frames and click the time box under one of them (where it says 0.01s) and increase it to 0.1.
8. Select File > Save For Devices Web and Devices. There are a few setting you’ll need to change here.
Select ‘gif’ as the image type and in the ‘Image Size’ type 500 into the width box (because the ratio is locked there’s no need to reduce the height). Note: do not click enter to make changes because it will save the gif; just click on the image of the gif.
You’ll will notice the file size is listed under the gif on the left-hand side. This number needs to be under 500kb to work on Tumblr. To do this you’ll need to reduce the amount of colours used. Here I’ve brought the colours down to 32. Press play at the bottom to preview your gif. If it looks bad with the reduced colours you may have to reduce the size.
I’m yet to try the following trick but it’s called reducing colour information. The idea is to go back to your snapshot sequence and edit them so they have less need for colours. Common ways to do this is to increase the contrast and/or brightness, make it black and white, tint the images with a colour - anything that limits the range of colours in your images. You’ll want to use Layer > New Adjustment Layer for this.
I’m my opinion the nicest gifs are the full 500px wide.
Now hit save and you’re done! Yay!
Advantages: Potentially faster, less chance of error/more accurate movement
Disadvantages: Often lower quality
This method is faster and probably better if you want to make several gifs from the one video. However, it relies on the quality of the clip you can find. If you download the clip from YouTube, which in itself can degrade quality, as an MP4 of FLV file it will have to be converted to an mpeg, avi or other Photoshop-compatible video which can often mean loosing quality again.
1. For this method you simply select File > Import > Video Frames to Layers. Now select you video want and isolate the section you wish to gif. Then click ‘Limit to every 2 frames’ also. Import.
2. Select Window > Animation and go through your frames and cut down any non-essential/superfluous ones until you have around 15.
3. Repeat the saving process from the previous tutorial. Done!