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11 January 2011 @ 06:00 pm
tutorial #2 - how to make gifs for tumblr  

Program: Photoshop CS4
Interchangeable: No.
Number of steps: 10

So I've got a lot of questions on tumblr as to how I make my gifs so I've decided to put together a tutorial showing you the way I do it. I learned how to make gifs on my Mac using Photoshop CS4 using this lovely tutorial by stilljane but even after directing people there, I still got questions about it.

Things to do before Step 1.
- Make sure you open the 'Animations' window by going up to the top of your screen, selecting 'Window' and then make sure the Animations option has a tick next to it.
- This is optional, but it's easiest if you already know what time you want to make a gif of before opening the video as it makes the process much quicker for you. Also, the quality of your gif will be significantly better and less grainy if you have an HD file.

Step 1
Open your video in Photoshop (File > Open - then select your video). Mine was behind the scenes of Zac Efron's Nylon photoshoot which you can find here.
See here.

Step 2
Set the time for your video. This is where you need the animation window. You could also have done this step before the cropping or after the colouring. I prefer to do this now, as when I colour the video I want it to look a particular way for the part I'm making a gif of. You want to move the little blue sliders that are at each end of the video to surround the part you want to make a gif of. I selected from about 0:19-0:22 on my video. You never want to select more than about 4 second for one gif when making them for tumblr, as we do have to comply with the upload file size restrictions.
See here.

Crop or colour your video. To colour first, go to step 4. To crop first, go straight ahead to step 3. I opted to crop mine first as it was easiest for me, but do what you feel comfortable with.

Step 3
Crop your video. To make your video tumblr-compatible, you need to have it 500 px or less. You can resize your video by going up the top to your options, clicking on Image > Image Size - make sure you make the width 500 pixels. The height will adjust according to the video's aspect ratio. I prefer to crop rather than resize, as it eliminates any borders that the video might have and it is a more customisable option for me. I cropped mine to 500x235 using the crop tool as I thought the aspect ratio of 500x280 was a little bit and had extra space that wasn't necessary and would make the file size bigger later.

Step 4
Colour your video. You just colour this like you would any regular graphic.
The more white space you have and the higher the amount of black is in the video, determines how big the file will be at the end. When you get to step ____, this will come in handy as you can have more frames in the gif. As a rule, black and white gifs allow you to have more frames, whilst having bright colours doesn't.
If you're curious about the colouring I used in this video, I was going to save a .psd but closed the file before I did because I forgot, so I can't help, sorry! You can get a general idea from the layers that you can see in the screencap though.
See here.

Step 5
File > Export > Render Video. Now you should have a window pop up on your screen that looks like THIS. You can name your video whatever you like. Then click Select Folder.. and choose the place where you want your video to go. Make sure it's somewhere where you will easily be able to find it. Make sure in 'File Options' that the last option 'Size' is set to document Size. This will ensure that the video exports in the current size of your video after you cropped/resized it. Mine tells me that it's going to be 500x235 pixels, which is what I chose earlier. Make sure to export it as a Quicktime Movie. Now click render.
See here.

Step 6
Now you want to import your video into frames. Select File > Import > Video Frames to Layers - then search for your video. Now you should have THIS. Make sure to check 'Limit to Every 2 frames'. This will keep every 2nd frame which should average out to about 12 frames per second of video instead of 24. Now you should have THIS. Mine came out to 37 frames as I had about 3-4 seconds worth of video which is way too many for a gif. I deleted frames 17-37 as I preferred the first half of the gif, leaving me with 16.
See here and here.

Step 7
Then I changed the time settings. Under each frame in your animation panel, it should say a time. It ranges from video to video but mine said 0.04 sec. I played the gif pressing the play button at the bottom of the animation panel and it was way too fast for what I wanted. The smaller the number, the faster the gif and vice-versa. I tried out a few different settings such as 0.08 and 0.1 but I thought those were still too fast, so I settled on 0.12. You need to play with the time settings for each individual gif you make to find out which looks best.

Step 8
Now I needed to delete a few frames as it's very rare that a gif with 16 frames will be able to have decent enough quality and be able to be posted on tumblr (though it has happened a few rare times). I got the gif down to 11 frames which is usually a perfect amount. Depending on the video you can get up to 20 or down to as little as 6 frames. I played with the time settings again and made the last few frames 0.13 as I wanted them a little slower.

Step 9
Once your happy with the timing, colouring, cropping and amount of frames in the gif, it's time to save it. Select File > Save for Web and Devices (if you don't Save for Web and Devices and use the regular 'Save As' option, the gif won't move). Now you need to play with the setting on the right hand side of the window. I was able to get 43 colours and 100% dither in mine to fit under 500 kb which I was happy with. If you want to have as many colours as possible but a smaller file size, try turning the dither settings to 80% and/or lossy to 1 as this can sometimes reduce file size. Keep checking HERE to make sure that it says it's under 500K. Now click save, name your gif and save it to where you want it to go (I usually save it to home so I know where it is but you can save it into a gif folder or wherever you like).
See here.

Step 10
Now you have a finished gif that can be uploaded to tumblr! Mine looks like this:

You can find it on tumblr here. Please don't upload/repost it to your tumblr. Reblog instead of upload please.

Sorry if there's any mistakes in this tutorial and let me know if you have any questions, comments or if you want to show me your final product! Also, the next tutorial will be how to handle One Tree Hill screencaps for each season as they're all filmed very different and have different colours.
Samkstewloving on January 11th, 2011 07:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for this! I love your GIF's.

Trying to figure out the coloring now. X
thesilverarrowthesilverarrow on January 12th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for this tut ! It helped me a lot ! <3
Angie Ruízalekobain_rocks on June 19th, 2012 03:47 am (UTC)
thank you!! i finally learn :D
Jose Mendozajoseonyx on December 5th, 2012 03:36 am (UTC)
how would you add text to it?