How To: Create GIFs Using Photoshop

Rejoice, our How To series is back! This time around we’ll help you understand the basics of creating GIFs using Photoshop.

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How To Create GIFs Using Photoshop

Before we get started, we’d like to point out this tutorial isn’t intended for a Beginner Photoshop audience.

For starter tips and guides, have look at this pair of previous posts:

While we’d love for you to jump right into creating animated banners we strongly suggest you consult our rules and regulations.

This way, you can be more at ease when creating your advertisement. Keep in mind that banners are often rejected because the spot does not allow for animation.

Another common rejection reason is animation speed. You’ll be okay as long as you keep two second intervals between frames.

If that sounded foreign to you, don’t fret we’ll be covering that shortly.

Alright, you ready?

For starters, you’ll want to make sure the Timeline menu is open.

From the top menu, hit Window then click on Timeline. 


You can move that below your canvas for the time being. As you probably already figured out, we’ll be using it animate our banner later on.

Let’s create a new document with commonly used dimensions, for the sake of this exercise we’ll use 300X250.

From there, download a free image off the web and place it in your document.

That can be achieved by hitting File, clicking on Place Embedded and selecting the photo from your computer.

We’ve decided to go with the super generic computer, coffee cup and notepad combo. We really hope you pick a photo with a littlea more pizzazz.

image 001

Time to dress this little sucker up, don’t you think?

We used the rectangle and type tools to add a contrasting shape and text to our otherwise bland image.

As you can see in the example below, we also added our logo which you can replace with a call to action i.e. ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Sign Up’.

While we’re on the subject a look at our Anatomy of a Banner Advertisement post from last year.

Make sure you create each text line as an individual layer, this will help with animation later on.

example 2

You still with us so far? Good, now it’s time to animate these bad boys.

We’ll be going with a simple–yet TrafficJunky compliant–animation for this example.

Remember the timeline menu we opened earlier on? Find it and click on Create Video Timeline.

You’ll then click on the Convert to frame animation button.

Otherwise known as the tiny little squares at the bottom of the timeline menu. See the animated image below.

example 3

You’ll now be able to create as many frames as you want in order to animate your image.

First off, you want to click the downward arrow on your first frame, hit other and set your frame delay to 2.0 (two seconds) in order to make sure your animation isn’t too fast.

Again this is for simple animation, if you were to use the Tween feature–which we’ll cover at a later date–you would divide how many frames you added with the frame delay.

Stay tuned to the TrafficJunky blog for a look at some of the wonderful things one can do with tween.

From here, you’ll want to turn off the majority of your layers–by clicking on the eye–except the rectangle and the first word from your text.

Back to your timeline menu you’ll duplicate the first layer by clicking the sheet icon–see example below–and turn on one of your text layers. Rinse and repeat until all of your layers are active.

example 4

From here, every frame should have an extra text layer–or design element–added to it.

While you’re there, you should also change your looping options to Forever in order for your GIF to play continuously.

If you’re satisfied with what you have you can click on File, Export and Save for Web (Legacy).

A window will popup, tweaking with the options will mainly allow you to modify the quality of your image.

Remember you’ll want it to be under 300kb which will enable the upload to TrafficJunky and allow you to complete the campaign creation process.

If you’re happy with everything, hit the Save button and voila! You have yourself an animated banner.

The image below has been stretched to fit your screen, here’s the original version.

example ad

We sincerely hope you enjoyed this edition of How-To.

It’s a great starting point to your career in animation, just make sure you remember us when you’re working at Pixar okay?

Questions? Comment below! 


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