2 Ways To Make An Animated GIF File

We humans are designed to track moving images. I'm sure that has something to do with needing to eat to survive, because tracking moving images (such as a wooly mammoth) was essential to our hunting skills. Now that our hunt for food requires much less energy and time, we can spend that instinctive energy on better things, such as surfing the internet.

To summarize, our innate skill in tracking a wooly mammoth is now the very same skill that mesmerizes us into watching hours of YouTube. We like to watch things move! Now you can use that to your advantage in your creative business, by creating images that move so that your customers will be drawn into YOUR engaging content instead of watching videos of white water rafting carnage.

One very simple and fun way to make a moving image is with a GIF file. Here are some ways you can do this.

How to make an animated GIF

First, you will need 3 or more images that will make your GIF. I usually do these in Illustrator or Photoshop. The idea, like stop motion movies, is to change something in each image to create an animation.

The “Easy If You Kknow A Modicum Of Photoshop” Way

I’m not super comfortable with Photoshop but you can do animated GIF files from there with the “Timeline” palette window. I used this tutorial to help me out with the details.*

1. Create your separate images in separate layers.

2. Group those image layers into a folder.

3. Load the folder of images into the Timeline menu.

* NONE of those tutorials cover how to get your layers into the Timeline window! I thought that surely I could just select the layers and drag them into the Timeline palette (Photoshop gurus, I hope you’re reading this!) but this is not possible. What you have to do (I’m using the Photoshop CC version) is go into the “Layer” from the top menu, select “Video Layers”, then select “New Video Layer from file…” and select your files.

4. Adjust the speed for each image layer.

5. Make other adjustments as needed (this is kind of why I like the "Super Easy Way").

6. Select "Save for Web" from the File menu at the top. This is also where you can say how many loops you'd prefer.

This is the one I made with the Photoshop method. I opted to stop the loop after 4 times because nobody likes to be distracted by a hurky-jerky animation while they read, right?

The Super Easy Way to a GIF

Even easier to use are the several (free) online sites out there in the webiverse. I used Imgflip to create the snowy fawn GIF. I created 5 separate .png files from Adobe Illustrator and loaded them into the program and boom, it was done. The other good part about using this program is that you can share it directly to your social media channels like Facebook, Twitter etc. If you want high quality GIF resolution and other bells and whistles, you will need to upgrade (ie. pay) for that premium feature. NOTE! Facebook does NOT support GIFs you upload yourself at the moment.

Here is the one I made with this method. It was MUCH faster, but the quality isn't great. Oh well!

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