How to Make a GIF

This article is split into two main sections to show you how to make a GIF. First, I’ll share how to make your own GIFs in Photoshop. Then, I’ll share services that help make GIFs for you!

How to make an animated GIF using Photoshop

1. Open Photoshop and create a new document.

Creating a new Photoshop document

2. Click on “Create Frame Animation” and continue to set up your layers and determine what you want to animate.

Setting up how to make an animated gif in Photoshop

3. After your timeline has been established, you’ll be making your animated frames by clicking on the “Duplicate selected frames” button.

4. After you duplicate a frame, you can manipulate the objects on the layer. Think of the frame as a snapshot of your current layer or layer groups. In my case, I moved the top hat up and down throughout this timeline.

5. Test your animation! You can hit the play button in the timeline settings. You can change the playback gap between all of the frames or each frame individually.

Many images on a Photoshop timeline

6. You’re done creating your animated GIF in Photoshop! Now, File > Export > Export as (or CMD + Option + Shift + S) to get your save dialog window. Within your save dialog window, make sure that GIF is selected, check your playback looping options and playback the GIF one more time.

Save for web as an animated gif in Photoshop

7. Send your new GIF to all of your friends! Have you ever wondered how to actually say GIF or what GIF stands for? I answered that question for you!

Dan Gold animating GIF


Tools to help make GIFs

  1. GIF Maker from GIPHY. This tool does it all. It allows you to create GIFs from YouTube videos, record a part of your screen and more. If you had one GIF editor, GIF Maker from GIPHY would be it.
  2. GIMP will help you make GIFs and the process is similar to Photoshop. You can import an MP4 file and save a portion of the video into a GIF. It’s also a great alternative to Photoshop if you don’t have Photoshop.
  3. GIF Brewery 3 is an alternative to GIF Maker and it works very well. It’s only supported by Mac OSX and is it is also available in the Mac App Store.
  4. If you don’t want to make GIFs but like using them on your smartphones, most keyboards have a GIF integration. The GBoard by Google has a GIF integration and the keyboard that iPhones default with do as well!

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GIFs are a great medium for sharing reactions or expressions through a number of different applications. You can send a GIF through an email, WhatsApp, Twitter and the list goes on. With so many cool uses for GIFs, I’ve often wondered, can a GIF have sound? Let’s find out! Related