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GIFs are the staple of the online world. There’s rarely feed that doesn’t include educational, entertaining, or cinematic GIFs. To some, this begs the question “How do people even create these things?” If you’ve ever wanted to take your online presence from casual newbie to experienced educator or entertainer, read on!

To create our GIF, we’re going to use Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5 edition. If you don’t own Photoshop, you can always install a free trial 5 Awesome Adobe Apps That Are Completely Free 5 Awesome Adobe Apps That Are Completely Free Adobe makes industry standard design programs. But it also offers high-quality software and apps that are free. Here are the top five Adobe tools that are all free. Read More onto your PC to get started.

Pick Your Footage

You’ll need footage to create a GIF. This footage can either be original or taken from your favorite video. It can be in a wide variety of formats, as Photoshop can handle most video formats available. If Photoshop does not support your video file, consider using VLC to convert your file The Mega Guide to Media File Conversion Tools in Windows The Mega Guide to Media File Conversion Tools in Windows Wondering how to best convert that media file? This is your guide out of the media file jungle. We compiled the most relevant media file conversion tools and show you how to use them. Read More .

If you have a large clip, you can trim it using a program like Windows Movie Maker. You can also record footage using VLC’s Record function, which will allow you to record and save video footage. To use, open your video using VLC, head to View and then Advanced Controls

advanced_controls

The red button on the bottom of your window allows you to record what plays in VLC. Pause your video at a select location, press the record button, and play until your clip finishes. Then, press the record button again to stop recording. Your clip will save automatically to your Videos folder. You can also choose to save your file to a different folder. Head to Tools, Preferences, Input / Codecs, and change the Record directory of filename parameter to one of your choosing.

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Place In Photoshop

Drag and drop your clip into Photoshop. This will open Photoshop’s Video timeline, which will allow you to edit video.

photoshop_video_edit

In this window, you can edit Saturation, Curves, and Levels settings to your satisfaction. If you feel out of your depth, no worries! Use our Guide To Adobe Photoshop An Idiot's Guide to Photoshop, Part 1: Easy Photoshop An Idiot's Guide to Photoshop, Part 1: Easy Photoshop At first glance Photoshop is confusing, but you can quickly be on your way to becoming a Photoshop guru. This is our introductory guide on how to do basic functions in Photoshop. Read More to learn more.

If you’re using individual layers rather than a video clip, place your frames as layers into Photoshop. Once you’ve entered and positioned your layers, activate the Timeline window (Window, then Timeline). In the open Timeline window, click on Create Frame Animation.

frames_from_layers

Click on the Settings button and select Make Frames From Layers. This will create frames from your layers in the timeline. If you enter a GIF into Photoshop, this window should display automatically for all the frames in your GIF file.

timeline_photoshop

Now that you have the raw video or raw frames, you need to convert them into a GIF.

Editing GIF Settings

If you’ve spent some time online, you’ve seen the difference between a quality GIF and a sub-standard display of images. These settings will provide you with the best display possible, maintaining the high quality of whatever assortment of images or video clips 8 Tips For Editing Videos Like A Pro 8 Tips For Editing Videos Like A Pro If you're just getting into the editing game, you may be confused as to what to do with the many millions of clips you have... well, we're here to help. Read More you are using.

Head to File, Export, and Save for Web (Legacy). This will open up the Save for Web window, allowing you to save your images in an assortment of file formats. Your files will require some time to render. Then, select the drop down menu beside Presets  and select GIF 128 Dithered. This will provide the default settings for our GIF.

gif_settings_photoshop

You will need to make a couple of changes to this settings. Change the following:

  • Selective to Adaptive — These are reduction settings, which decide the color palette of your GIF. Adaptive tends to give your GIFs a smoother and more realistic color palette than Selective.
  • Colors: 128 to 256 — This setting will double the number of colors to your image, creating a more seamless color scheme.
  • Dither: 88% to 100% — Dithering simulates shading using small dots, similar to dithering and crosshatching in sketch work.  This will subtly fill in different corresponding colors where shadows should be.

You can save these settings by pressing the Setting icon beside your Present parameter and selecting Save Setting. Name the preset whatever you’d like.

bottom_GIF_settings

Modify Image Size to your match preferences. Ensure the chain link icon beside is engaged – it will maintain the aspect ratio of your video. Finally, change the Looping Options under your Animation settings from Once to Forever. Once you’ve made your setting changes, click Save to name and place your new GIF file.

Spread Your GIF

Here is an example of a GIF I made, using source footage from the cinematic classic 12 Angry Men.

12_angry_gifs

The higher the quality of your source footage, the better your GIF will be. If you want to create a link for your GIF, drag and drop your file to an image hosting website like Imgur to upload.

What Are You Waiting For?

Now you have a proper foundation to creating high quality and infinitely repeating GIFs. All that’s left is to find videos 4 Stock Video Websites To Catch A Glimpse Of History Captured On Film 4 Stock Video Websites To Catch A Glimpse Of History Captured On Film There are quite a few other websites out there which host stock video footage from key moments in history. They playback not only eyewitness accounts, but also give us history lessons in video…as it happened.... Read More in order to convert, or begin sketching frames yourself. If you’d like some inspiration, Reddit’s /r/highqualitygifs has a dedicated fan base which provides daily, high-quality content.

What methods do you use to create GIFs? What are some of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally written by Saikat Basu on 16th February 2012.

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